Muslim group wants rabbi tossed from Harper's Israel trip

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and wife Laureen board the Royal Canadian Air Force...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (L) and wife Laureen board the Royal Canadian Air Force Airbus CC-150 in Ottawa on December 8, 2013. (REUTERS files/Blair Gable)

David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 12:56 AM ET

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t even started packing for his first visit to the Middle East, but the trip already has its first controversy.

A Canadian Muslim group wants Harper’s officials to boot a Toronto rabbi out of the official delegation that will travel with the prime minister.

In a letter sent to Harper on Tuesday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said it objected to the presence of Toronto Rabbi Daniel Korobkin as part of Harper’s official delegation.

Korobkin declined to comment, but Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s director of communications, slammed the NCCM — formerly known as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-CAN — for even making the suggestion.

“We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas,” MacDonald said.

“The delegation accompanying the prime minister to the Middle East includes a range of stakeholders from various business, religious and community organizations.”

Korobkin is the senior rabbi at Beth Avraham Yoseph Congregation, the largest Orthodox congregation in Canada, and is a former regional vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America.


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