Imam Zijad Delic says Defence Minister Peter MacKay went "too far" in cancelling the cleric's speech because a member of his group made extremist remarks six years ago.

Delic, executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was invited to speak at the National Defence headquarters Monday to mark Islamic Heritage Month.

But a spokesperson for MacKay said the speech was cancelled because the group held extremist views. In 2004, Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, a member of the group, said Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets of suicide bombers.

Elmasry later retracted that statement and issued an apology.

Delic, who joined the Congress in 2006, said suicide bombings are a "totally un-Islamic act" and his group does not condone murderous acts against anyone.

"We speak about everybody, and when I say everybody, I mean Jews, I mean Christians, Muslims, Hindus, or any other group of people," he told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

"In Islam there is nothing of such nature that would say Muslims are allowed to target anybody and take their life."

"There is no such thing in the Qur'an that would tell Muslims to go and kill a Jew, for indeed that is against our basic concepts," he added.

The 2004 statement by Elmasry was circulated by two Evangelical Christian-based organizations after Delic's invitation to the National Defence headquarters.

Charles McVety, president of the conservative Institute of Canadian Values, said the invitation was an insult to the families of fallen soldiers.

"This will shock the conscience of Canadians of good faith, dismay military families whose children have made the supreme sacrifice, and undermine the credibility and morale of our armed services in the eyes of allies and enemies alike," he said in a statement.

Delic said his group had been unfairly targeted because of Elmasry's statement.

"I think the honourable minister has gone too far in terms of associating by guilt some very hard working Canadian individuals who have given all their free time to better relations between Canadian Muslims and the general Canadian population," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press