A Bangladeshi immigrant who called for "the slaughter of Jews" in online postings has become the first person to be charged with promoting genocide in Canada, police said Friday.
Salman Hossain, 25, who apparently left the country in May, was charged with five counts of promoting hatred and advocating or promoting genocide over postings on his website and blog, as well as on a third-party website, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said.
He "willfully promoted hatred and advocated genocide of the Jewish community," said a statement.
Until now, Canada has only prosecuted suspects accused of mass atrocities abroad, in countries such as Rwanda. The Canadian government has also deported war crimes suspects to be tried in foreign courts.
Hossain, who immigrated to Canada as a child, openly called for "violent regime change in Western nations in order to remove the presence of Jews" and "the slaughter of Jews," according to reports.
'Yes, I am a fanatic'
He also advocated terrorist attacks in Canada, cheered the killing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and urged fellow Muslims to overthrow the "Jewish-run Canadian government."
"Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly," said OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.
"But we must not stand idly by when these rights are used as a shield to promote hatred against any community."
In recent online postings, Hossain said he left Canada in May, and is now reportedly in South Asia where he continues to advocate racist violence on his website and blog.
"We know that he's out of the country," OPP spokesman Sergeant Pierre Chamberland told AFP. "We're working with various government departments to have him brought before justice."
"It's a tough crime to prosecute because the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, but this case goes over the line," he said, adding: "We have an idea of where he is."
After police visited Hossain at his suburban home in Mississauga, Ontario in 2007, he wrote: "You can't charge me for possessing a thought." "Yes, I am a fanatic," he would later comment.
"A genocide should be perpetrated against the Jewish populations of North America and Europe," he also wrote. "Our prime targets will be any major cities with Jews residing in them."
Hossain faces up to 10 years in prison, if convicted of the charges.
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