Levant to Congress: put Canada on the watch list of human rights abusers
By Ezra Levant on July 11, 2008 8:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (77) | Trackback (1)
I had the pleasure of making a presentation as an expert witness to the U.S. Congress’s bi-partisan human rights caucus today.
I didn’t count, but I’d estimate that there were over 100 people there. I met quite a few readers of my blog, and even a donor to my legal defence fund — what a warm welcome in a far away city! There were a surprising number of journalists, including Luiza Savage, Maclean’s magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief. And there were a lot of religious liberty NGOs, including those from the Bahai, Hindu and Buddhist communities — including several in bright orange monk’s robes.
As a Canadian, I had forgotten that, in the U.S., every Congressman (and certainly every Senator) has their own foreign policy staff. Many such advisors were present, as well as lawyers from the U.S. Department of Justice, the House Justice Committee, and the State Department.
My fellow panellists were impressive, especially the Turkish scholar whose specialty was documenting the treatment of apostates in Muslim countries, and the State Department lawyer who is the point-person in response to the international diplomatic campaign to have criticism of Islam criminalized. And — very usefully — the second secretary of the Pakistani Embassy was there. It was very striking to hear, directly from the source, the plans that Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world have when it comes to censoring their critics through the twisting of Western legal apparatuses. It was like getting a glimpse at the other team’s playbook — and having our worst fears confirmed. Frankly, I was surprised that she showed up.
I’ll get into more details in a later post; it was a fascinating discussion, and the question-and-answer session was particularly clarifying. But for now, allow me to post my prepared comments. I’ve put in bold a few of my favourite comments. If I had to think of my most important suggestion, it would be for the U.S. Congress to add Canada to its watch list of countries that abuse human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of religion. What do you think?