The Cartoon Jihad never ends. Canadian publisher Ezra Levant, who staved off an attempt by a Muslim critic to haul him up on “human rights” violations for printing the Mohammed Cartoons, faces another new lawsuit.
In 2006, I was hit with two identical human rights complaints because I published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in the Western Standard magazine. We were simply doing what news magazines do – publishing the news. But an anti-Semitic Calgary imam named Syed Soharwardy and the intolerant Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission that I “discriminated” against them, and demanded cash and an apology from me. Since then, their fatwa has been prosecuted by the Government of Alberta, using taxpayers’ dollars and government bureaucrats.
Instead of bowing my head in submission, I decided to fight back, publicizing the Alberta government’s January, 2008 interrogation of me in videos that have now been seen well over 500,000 times on YouTube.
Over the past month, the public’s reaction to seeing their government interrogate a journalist has snowballed into a national discussion about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the separation of mosque and state. What started out as an issue reserved to the blogosphere and talk radio has jumped into the mainstream media, and even into Parliament. To my delight, the Canadian public – across the political spectrum – has been overwhelmingly supportive of free speech and critical of these Orwellian commissions, and groups like the Canadian Association of Journalists and PEN Canada have recently weighed in, too, and very vigorously.
We’re winning in the court of public opinion – and I say “we”, because it was the blogosphere that moved this story from the “undernews” to where it is today.
Well, now I’m being threatened with a lawsuit because of our campaign for freedom.
Just before the weekend, I received an e-mail from Richard Warman, the former investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, who quit the commission in 2004 to become the commission’s biggest customer. Approximately half of all complaints filed under the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s section 13 “idea crimes” provision have been filed by Warman. The CHRC has a 100% conviction rate under that section, and besides ordering the poor shleps Warman complains about to pay fines to the government, they’re often ordered to pay thousands of dollars to Warman himself, too, for his “hurt feelings”. Unlike the paycheque he got when he used to work there, the cash he gets from commission fines is tax free.
Warman and his friends at the CHRC aren’t hitting me with a human rights complaint – not yet, anyways. But he is threatening me with the most bizarre defamation lawsuit I think I’ve ever encountered.
Levant vows to “fight like Hell” and he could use help. Donate here (scroll to the bottom for PayPal button or direct contribution info). His battle is our battle.
Hat tip – Stephen Taylor, who writes: “This is going to become an election issue in Canada and should rally everyone who believes in the inalienable right to freedom of expression.”