Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on Monday July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Multiculturalism council member who resigned over antisemitic posts apologizes

A Calgary real estate agent who resigned from Alberta’s new multiculturalism council this week has apologized for sharing an antisemitic image on social media a decade ago.

Tariq Khan offered his resignation to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith after the Opposition NDP resurrected the posts and asked Smith on Monday to remove him from the Premier’s Council on Multiculturalism.

Khan apologized to the Jewish community, saying that he understands his actions were insensitive, inappropriate and caused deep hurt.

“At the time, I was new to social media and did not fully understand the consequences of my actions,” Khan said in an emailed statement late Tuesday.

“I shared many posts that came across my social media feed without considering the impact it could have on others.”

Earlier this week, the Alberta NDP provided The Canadian Press with screen grabs of what seem to be posts shared on Khan’s Facebook account. One such post was an edited image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Star of David on his forehead, appearing to feast on a bloodied child with “can’t get enough” written above.

Calling it “a grave mistake,” Khan said that he regrets not taking the time to educate himself on the importance of social media responsibility. Another post showed Khan seeming to praise Afzal Guru, who was convicted for his role in the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.

Khan was appointed to the new 30-member Council of Multiculturalism announced by Smith last Friday at a news conference in Calgary. The council was established to promote cultural diversity and inclusiveness in Alberta.

The Opposition NDP also shared a screen-grab of a 2018 letter rejecting Khan’s United Conservative Party candidacy for the constituency of Calgary-North East. In it, then-executive director Janice Harrington refers to a video he allegedly shared that labelled the Holocaust a hoax.

Khan said he doesn’t recall sharing such a video.

“I do want to state very clearly that I have always viewed the Holocaust as a real and terrible tragedy that took the lives of six million-plus Jewish people,” he said.

Khan said the posts that resurfaced from a decade ago have affected him and his family, adding that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and would reach out to the community to renew the relationship.