Ottawa, ON – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is urging Canada’s Minister of National Revenue, the Hon. Diane Lebouthillier, to call for a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audit of Family of Radio Maria-Canada and Radio Maryja Torun Corporation. This request follows CIJA’s uncovering of records showing that Polish station Radio Maryja consistently airs programming promoting hate speech, including antisemitism and homophobia.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO of CIJA, issued the following:
“Over the last three decades, Poland’s Radio Maryja has been widely and repeatedly denounced by many Jewish and Polish civil society groups, and by the Catholic Church itself, for wilfully broadcasting antisemitism. Family of Radio Maria-Canada’s promotion of Radio Maryja’s broadcasts is both shocking and indefensible because it uses Canadian charitable dollars to promote antisemitism, homophobia, and other forms of hate and intolerance. For this reason, CIJA is adding its voice to those within the Canadian Polish community who are urging the Federal government to launch an immediate and thorough CRA audit of Radio Maryja’s fundraising infrastructure in Canada.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada.
- The Vatican has repeatedly denounced Radio Maryja. In 2006, following public outcries in Poland over antisemitic views broadcast by Radio Maryja, the Vatican called on the Polish Episcopal Conference to rein in the station. In 2016, the Vatican condemned the station after it aired comments from a priest blaming devastating earthquakes in Italy on gay civil unions.
- The government of Poland itself has condemned Radio Maryja. In 2011, Poland’s Foreign Ministry sent a diplomatic note to the Vatican accusing the radio’s director and founder of “harming the image of Poland abroad” after he suggested that Poland was not governed by Poles, a veiled reference to the alleged domination of Poland by Jews.
- In its 2015 report on Poland, the Council of Europe noted that Radio Maryja “continues to draw attention to itself with its rhetoric of intolerance.” According to a Freedom House report in 2017, Radio Maryja also engages in homophobic and Islamophobic speech.
- In 2019, some 144 000 Poles signed a petition denouncing Radio Maryja’s director and founder, calling on Pope Francis “to curtail the political activity of Redemptorist Tadeusz Rydzyk and restore the religious character of his radio and television.” In Canada, the petition was presented to the Archbishop of Edmonton by Thomas Lukaszuk, the Polish–born ex-Deputy Premier of Alberta, for delivery to Pope Francis.