Update: A reader just emailed me with the following:
I am afraid you are somewhat premature in announcing victory for Ezra Levant. While the Calgary Imam, Soharwardy, claims he will drop the proceedings, an identical complaint, filed by an outfit calling itself the Muslim Council of Edmonton, is still going ahead. Thus Mr. Levant’s troubles with the kangaroo court are far from over.
Ezra Levant gained prominence last month in the blogosphere by videotaping and posting his close encounter with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Mr. Levant had been summoned to appear before the HRC for the sin of publishing the Danish Mohammed cartoons in his magazine, the now-defunct Western Standard.
The star chamber proceedings at the HRC bore no resemblance to any normal legal process in a modern democracy. Mr. Levant was interrogated by a “human rights officer”, and the disposition of the case would have required him to publicly apologize to Muslims if the HRC found against him. No judge, no jury, no offense against any Canadian criminal statute — the process closely resembles “justice” as it was once practiced in the Soviet Union.
Now the Muslim who filed the complaint has dropped it, and Mr. Levant is out of the woods. However, it’s important to note that the Human Rights Commission did not drop the complaint, nor have its summary powers to engage in this sort of mischief and intimidation been curtailed. The same thing could happen again at any time to some other unfortunate Canadian who chooses to exercise what he foolishly believes is his right to free speech.
Ezra Levant is going to sue to recover his legal expenses. Let’s hope he screws the imams to the wall.
According to the National Post:
Calgary Muslim leader Syed Soharwardy says he is withdrawing his Alberta Human Rights Commission complaint against former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant.
The complaint was launched in February 2006, after the Western Standard and the Jewish Free Press reprinted cartoons from a Danish newspaper that many in the Muslim world felt insulted the prophet Muhammad. The cartoons sparked violent protests in a number of countries.
“Over the two years that we have gone through the process, I understand that most Canadians see this as an issue of freedom of speech, that that principle is sacred and holy in our society,” said Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.
“I believe Canadian society is mature enough not to absorb the messages that the cartoons sent. Only a very small fraction of Canadian media decided to publish those cartoons.”
Mr. Levant said he isn’t buying Mr. Soharwardy’s promise, calling it a “temporary, tactical truce.”
Mr. Levant didn’t use the technical term, but experienced Counterjihadists know he meant a hudna. So it’s no surprise that he has little faith is his adversary’s sincerity:
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“I don’t believe him. He thought this would be easy to do, just sic the human rights commission on me and it would be done. But I decided to fight back,” said Mr. Levant.
“He’s hurting right now. . . . What he’s now saying he is going to do is not a true reflection of his feelings.”
Mr. Levant said he plans to launch a civil lawsuit against Mr. Soharwardy to recover the tens of thousands of dollars he said he has spent battling the complaint.
“I put in at least 100 hours fighting this guy. He may want to run away from this issue, but I’m not going to. His values are out of sync with Canadian society.”
The other defendant in the case was not so stalwart in the face of Islamic intimidation:
After the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada filed the complaints against the two publications in 2006, Mr. Soharwardy and Jewish Free Press publisher Richard Bronstein met with a human rights commission mediator in March 2007. They settled their dispute with a handshake and Mr. Soharwardy withdrew his complaint. Mr. Bronstein later spoke to Muslims at a meeting at the mosque where Mr. Soharwardy serves as imam.
“I think Syed got something out of this process, too,” said Mr. Bronstein. “I think this kind of complaint harmed his interests more than it helped.
“There’s a widespread belief in the public that people don’t want to hear offensive speech all the time. But to some degree, we have to permit it in our society if we’re going to have freedom of speech.”
Let’s review the weasel words in the above quote:
“To some degree, we have to permit [offensive speech] in our society if we’re going to have freedom of speech.”
To some degree… IF.
Compare the sniveling cowardly overtones of this message to the recent behavior of the Danes in the face of Muslim intimidation.
Don’t like cartoons? Threaten us over them, would you? Then… have some more cartoons!
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Canadian authorities to exhibit that kind of spine.
Hat tip: ScottSA.