For those of you who visit vladtepesblog you may be familiar with the ongoing issue concerning freedom of expression confronting Canada today. For those of you who are not familiar, I have tried to provide some details. Sites worth a visit for in depth coverage are those of Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine. The National Post has also committed itself to this issue, reasonably, fairly and consistently. Also, please listen to today’s interview by Ottawa’s CFRA veteran broadcaster Steve Maidley in conversation with Mark Steyn, found on this vladtepesblog. Thanks to Eeyore.
The Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) under the direction of it’s president Dr. Mohammed Elmasry has spear headed proceedings with both the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Commission in reference to an article written by author/journalist Mark Steyn entitled ” The future belongs to Islam” which appeared in the October 23, 2006 issue of Maclean’s magazine.
The CIC charges the article ” subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt”. Following was a press release by the CIC labelling Steyn’s article as “flagrantly Islamophobic”. The matter will be argued before the B.C Human Rights tribunal in early June.
Contained in Mr. Steyn’s piece ( an excerpt from his best-selling book “America Alone: The end of the world as we know it), was a quote made by a prominent Norweigan Imam, Mullah Krekar. The quote is as follows:
” We’re the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in these same countries is producing 3.5 children”
Norweigan Imam Mullah Krekar, Oslo newspaper Dagbladet, 2006.
This specific quote proved to be the brass ring for the zoo keeper at the CIC and fodder for some of Canada’s human rights commissions. They seem to enamoured by nuisance cases that otherwise legitimate, respectable Queen’s courts would otherwise reject as nonsense. This case is eerily similar to the struggle that Ezra Levant has found himself mired in over his decision to re-print the infamous Danish cartoons in the Western Standard. While Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Maclean’s must carry the financial burden of their own defense at enormous cost, the complaintants tab is fully paid for by the Canadian taxpayer. It is also worthy to mention that Canada’s Human Rights commissions have a 100% conviction rate. Hmmm.
Many are outraged, with some viewing this as an attempt by Saudi inspired Islamic radicals to cripple Canada’s free press. I cannot think of a more important issue facing Canadians. Without a free press, or with a systematically maimed one, Canada is no longer truly free. I urge anyone concerned to support Mr. Levant, Mr. Steyn, Maclean’s magazine and all who promote and defend press freedom. Respectfully pressure governments to maintain Canada’s most cherished freedom and openly challenge those who would diminish and devalue it. Not one to be silent, I have written an open letter to Dr. Elmasry expressing my concerns with a few questions.
May 5, 2008
Dr. Mohammed Elmasry,
I am to understand that your organisation, the Canadian Islamic Congress has registered complaints with various Canadian human rights commissions regarding an article entitled ” The future belongs to Islam” an excerpt from the book ” America Alone: The end of the world as we know it” written by author Mark Steyn which appeared in the October 23, 2006 issue of Maclean’s magazine.
The complaints filed were based on the grounds that the article subjected Canada’s Muslims to ” hatred and contempt”. In addition, a CIC press release labelled Mr. Steyn’s piece as “flagrantly Islamophobic”. By contrast many including myself, believe that this article and the book from which it came, is a necessary commentary on important global and political issues regardless of perceived offense or intellectual disagreement. Attempting to criminalize free thought through the use of quasi legal chambers reveals not only an intolerance for this freedom but a desire to re-structure Canada’s long established legal inheritance.
A democratic Canadian government has a duty to ensure this fundamental right for the benefit of a progressive and open society. In turn the Canadian people are obligated to remind all levels of government to respect and maintain this principle, regardless of periodic nuisance. Contained within the Criminal Code of Canada are laws to protect it’s citizenry against hate crime. I expect that you are also familiar with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where freedom of expression is enshrined.
It would seem that among the most offensive is the passage within ” The future belongs to Islam” whereby Mr. Steyn quotes prominent Norweigan Imam Mullah Krekar. The quote reads as follows: ” We’re the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in these same countries is producing 3.5 children”. Unless I am mistaken, these are not the words of Mr. Steyn, but of the Imam.
I am curious to know then, has the CIC denounced this statement with the same enthusiasm and vigor as it has done in it’s pursuit of Mr. Steyn and the publisher of Maclean’s magazine? Would it not seem reasonable that a swift condemnation appear where Mr. Krekar is held accountable by the same criteria that the CIC holds to the Canadian media? I have seen nothing on the CIC’s web site to indicate any denouncement has been made; Mr. Krekar’s name is no where to be seen. In addition, if Canadian Muslims have been “subjected to hatred and contempt” by Mr. Steyn and Maclean’s one could assume that Norweigan Muslims have been exposed to the same by the comments of Imam Krekar. Does the CIC only concern itself with Canada’s Muslim population?
There are numerous avenues to settle a dispute or put forward an opposing view. It is concerning that Canada’s Human Rights Commissions are being manipulated out of their initial purpose which was primarily to hear and settle unfair employment and housing grievances. The deeper concern is the realization that they would now employ themselves to castrate and police free thought and opinion at the behest of organizations such as your own.
Finally, I do not support either your (CIC) efforts nor the efforts made by the various Human Rights Commissions to stifle free expression in Canada. I would hope that your organization respect the fundamental freedoms that benefit all Canadians.