Muslim group sues PM, spokesman for defamation

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on...

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:40 PM ET

OTTAWA — A national Muslim group has filed a defamation lawsuit against the prime minister.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said Monday it launched the suit after Prime Minister Stephen Harper failed to apologize for linking the organization with the terrorist group Hamas.

Also named in the suit is Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald.

On Jan. 16, the NCCM asked Harper to reconsider allowing Rabbi Daniel Korobkin of Toronto to be part of an official delegation to Israel. The group claimed Korobkin had defended and praised anti-Muslim campaigners.

MacDonald responded by saying: "We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas."

NCCM executive director Ihsaan Gardee called MacDonald's statement a "false accusation."

"In order to uphold its good name, the NCCM has no choice but to issue a statement of claim for defamation against Mr. MacDonald and the prime minister," Gardee said in a press release Monday.

The PMO has 30 days to respond to the statement of claim.

"In defamation suits, everything is complicated," Jeff Saikaley, lawyer for NCCM, said. "The PMO could try to prove ties to Hamas, in which case they'd have to bring evidence."

The PMO declined to comment on the suit.

The allegations haven't been proven in court.

- with files from Jessica Hume


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