Ezra Levant: "What a strange place Canada is"

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If you don't know about the case of Ezra Levant, you should. Here is his account of when he was called before the Alberta Human Rights Commission to respond to complaints from radical Muslim leaders that he had published the controversial Danish cartoons of Mohammed in his magazine two years ago.

I told [human rights officer Shirlene McGovern] that the complaint process itself was a punishment. Even if I was eventually acquitted, I would still lose -- hundreds of hours, and tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills. That's not an accident, that's one of the tools of these commissions. Every journalist in the country has been taught a lesson: Censor yourself now, or be put through a costly wringer. I said all this and then Officer McGovern replied, "You're entitled to your opinions, that's for sure."

But that's not for sure, is it? We're only entitled to our opinions now if they don't offend some very easily offended people.

One of the complainants against me is someone I would describe as a radical Muslim imam, Syed Soharwardy. He grew up in the madrassas of Pakistan and he lectures on the Saudi circuit. He advocates sharia law for all countries, including Canada. His website is rife with Islamic supremacism -- offensive to many Canadian Jews, gentiles, women and gays. But his sensitivities -- his Saudi-Pakistani values -- have been offended by me.

And so now the secular government of Alberta is enforcing his fatwa against the cartoons.

It's the same for Mohamed Elmasry, the complainant against Maclean's magazine for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, America Alone. Egyptian-born Elmasry has publicly said that any adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack, a grossly offensive statement.

Both the Canadian and B.C. Human Rights Commissions are now hearing his complaints against Maclean's.

Here's the ironic part: The laws that the Muslim extremists are exploiting to suppress criticism of Islam by a publisher who is Jewish were put in place at the urging of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who intended the laws to target people Levine describes as "invariably poor, unorganized, harmless neo-Nazi cranks and conspiracy theorists."

Levine says that Soharwardy tried to have him arrested three times; the police refused, but the human rights commission was happy to take up the case.

What a strange place Canada is in 2008, where the police care more about human rights than the human rights commissions do, where fundamentalist Muslims use hate-speech laws drafted by secular Jews, and where a government bureaucrat can interrogate a publisher for 90 minutes, and be shocked when he won't shake her hand in greeting.

You can see clips of Levant's appearance before the human rights interrogator and more information about the situation on his website, ezralevant.com.

UPDATE: iowahawk has captured the situation with this spoof of Thought Crime Commissar McGovern's report of the interrogation of Levine.

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Leaf-roller said:

Ezra should be pleased he's not in Afghanistan.

See: Don't print stuff from the Internet at

That fellow is facing a death sentence for inapropriate Internet use.

Perhaps enthusiastic supporters of s3.18 like Richard Warman and Warren Kinsella would find the regulation of Internet use more to their liking in Afghanistan.

How is violating the tenets of Islam substantially different than violating the tenets of multiculturalism? How is the clerics council substantially different than a CHRT ?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 21, 2008 5:15 PM.

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