Saturday, February 21, 2009

Free Speech for Me, But Not for Thee

Our Canadian neighbors are somewhat more restrictive of political speech than we are here in the USA.

Up there in the Frozen North, it’s not permitted to speak out against Islam. In fact, if you’re not a Muslim, quoting the Koran is considered hate speech.

And you’d better not say anything negative about homosexuals. Unless, of course, you’re a Muslim, and then you can say pretty much anything you like about them — and also about the Jews, for that matter.

The issue of free speech in Canada has just been raised in an unusual context. An alleged terrorist named Said Namouh is on trial in Quebec, and the case against him is based entirely on his internet activities. The Crown maintains that what Mr. Namouh did — distributing jihad snuff videos, offering bomb-making instructions, and helping networks of mujahideen communicate — aided and abetted terrorism. The defendant’s lawyer doesn’t dispute these facts, but maintains that what his client did was protected by — wait for it — Canada’s hallowed traditions of free speech and freedom of religion.

Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn must surely be startled to hear such an assertion. And, coming from Canadian Muslims, this is a butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-their-mouths moment.

Here’s the story from The National Post:

‘Where Do You Draw the Line’

Quebec man accused of terror activities was expressing religious freedom: defence

MONTREAL — The videos found on Said Namouh’s computer when police raided his Quebec apartment in 2007 are brutal: point-blank executions of Westerners, suicide bombings, a charred soldier’s body dragged through the street in celebration. Others offered tips on bomb-making or threatened Western governments over the presence of troops in Afghanistan.

Over the past three weeks, a Quebec court has heard that Mr. Namouh worked tirelessly to ensure these images were widely available on the Internet to the global jihadi community, in some cases doing the editing and adding subtitles himself. Mr. Namouh’s work showed that he had “devoted his life to spreading the ideology of al-Qaeda and encouraging others to join the jihadist movement,” said Rita Katz, a Crown expert at the terrorism trial. What Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond will have to establish is whether those actions contravened Canada’s Criminal Code.

His defence lawyer, René Duval, is not contesting that Mr. Namouh was the user named Ashraf, who was so active on online jihadi forums that he earned praise for his “good work in the service of the [Global Islamic Media] Front, jihad and the mujahedeen.” But Mr. Duval argues that what his client did, while perhaps repugnant to some, was simply an exercise of his freedoms of expression and religion. “Where do you draw the line?” he asked outside the court.

And here’s the crucial point:
- - - - - - - - -
Evidence before the court shows that Mr. Namouh was driven by a fervent faith, one that saw as enemies Christians, Jews and even Muslims who did not share a desire for the creation of pan-Islamic rule.

“Fervent faith” is the necessary characteristic. Those who possess it enjoy true freedom.

It is for this reason that the hateful speech of atheists enjoys no protection under the law. And Christians and Jews could never be fervent enough to qualify.

It seems that only Islam induces the pure flame of absolute zeal that entitles believers to do abominable things.

The court has also heard that in August, 2007, Mr. Namouh’s Internet chats were intercepted, revealing what police believe were plans to explode a truck bomb at an undisclosed location outside Canada.

“I have the information and experience for acquisition of explosives in a country and the way to have them easily,” he said on Aug. 8. Later he was overheard discussing plans to travel to North Africa and saying, “Terrorism is in our blood, and with it we will drown the unjust.”

Mr. Namouh faces charges of conspiracy, participating in the activities of a terrorist group, facilitating terrorist activity and extortion.

Mr. Namouh’s lawyer maintains that his client’s religious belief is the main reason why these activities are protected:

Mr. Duval said the trial is a crucial test of Canadian anti-terrorism law. “I question whether the fact of providing [Internet] links, especially when one is motivated by religious belief, is a violation of the Criminal Code,” he said in an interview. He said that even though the beliefs of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden are “repugnant to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, still, are they not religious beliefs? A lot turns on that.”

Needless to say, the Crown does not agree:

Ms. Katz maintains that Internet jihadi propaganda is not just a matter of expressing one’s beliefs but an active effort to “indoctrinate, recruit and train followers.” In a report submitted to the court, another Crown expert, Reuven Paz, stated that the Global Islamic Media Front is at the forefront of these activities.

Vlad Tepes notes that Said Namouh’s lawyer has provided a clarifying moment for Canadian jurisprudence, regardless of the disposition of the case:

First of all, I would like to thank the defense lawyer for suspected terrorist Said Namouh. He unwittingly, or perhaps with full knowledge and likely so, is doing the western world a massive service. He is doing something that urgently needs doing. His defense argument, that this accused terrorist is merely observing his religious rights, is forcing the western world to examine its legal and cultural axioms. To be clear…

I believe that this may well be the most important civil trial on the matter of terrorism; multiculturalism; immigration and western law that has ever taken place.

The defense is not saying this man has not done what he is accused of. On the contrary, he is quite plainly admitting it and is challenging the notion of religious freedom. This lawyer and his defendant is in fact admitting plainly that terrorism, hatred of the west and freedom, killing of innocents and the advocating and planning of same is intrinsic to Islam and therefore is covered under his right to religious freedom.

The implications of this are staggering. If the judge finds in his favour, it means anyone can dream up as vile an ethos imaginable (although it would tax my imagination beyond its limits to think of a more vile one than Islam) create a basis for it in a holy book and claim a right to behave according to that ethos on the basis of Canadian guarantees of freedom of religion.


The very idea that this kind of defence could be used is startling. It can only be brought in to a serious criminal trial because liberal democracies have become inured with the notion that all ideologies have equal rights so long as they have an irrational basis.


The case also illustrates how deeply irrational the Western judicial system has become. Not only do matters hinge on how fervently these destructive religious impulses are felt, but only Muslims are accorded the right to act on such impulses.

The cat’s out of the bag. The hitherto unstated premise — that Islam assigns irresistibly violent imperatives to its adherents — has now been stated openly.

No other religion has been granted such a privilege. It’s obvious that none ever will.

Are Canadians going to sit still for this?

We’ll soon find out.


Homophobic Horse said...

Let's see if they can do it. Let's see if they can break the edge of reason. Like a car-crash, or 9/11, it has a morbid "wow!" factor.

Unknown said...

Nothing Canadian or European longer surprises me in this respect. Nothing.

Czechmade said...

What about starting "Psychiatres sans frontiers", approach them boldly:

"You suffer of a major mental disorder, loss of basic self-preservation instincts.
It is now no more about politics, it is about your extinction, about how and when."

Anonymous said...

"Are Canadians going to sit still for this?"

A polite and optimistic comment.

But the answer is yes. They'll sit still for it.

Kim Hartveld said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this Harper guy supposed to turn things around?
What did I miss? said...

Harper I believe is turning things around. Remember, we have a government which actually does understand the problem in Canada. However, they are a minority government and they have an entrenched civil service left over from the Trudeau era that are extremely difficult to get to change policies. This typically is why you see cabinet shuffles. The inability by a minister to get that branch of the civil service to actually act on new policy. The Harper government has made several statements showing it is more than aware of these problems. I suspect that in 2009 we will see the elimination of the aspects of the CHRC's which are so repugnant to readers of GOV although sadly not the elimination of them altogether

Anonymous said...

Hey, don't blame us. Americans believe in freedom of religion, too. Insisting against all contrary evidence that Islam is a religion of peace is a way of avoiding re-evaluating this deeply held American (and Canadian) value.

Giving out a blanket approval of all religions keeps us from having to decide which religions are in and which are out. Things could get messy otherwise.

heroyalwhyness said...

B.C. man who filed human rights complaint after reading Koran has case dismissed

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A B.C. man who filed a human rights complaint after buying a copy of the Koran at a Chapters bookstore has had that complaint dismissed.

John Simpson alleged certain verses of the Koran discriminate against people of Christian and Jewish faith and filed his complaint against Indigo Books & Music Inc. (TSX:IDG), the store's parent company.

Simpson's complaint came under Section 7 of the Human Rights Code.

The section states that a person must not publish any statement that is likely to expose a person or group to hatred or contempt because of their religion.

But B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Barbara Humphreys says Simpson didn't explain how the Koran, the central religious text of Islam that has existed for more than 1,300 years, had a negative impact on him.

Humphreys dismissed the case after ruling that Simpson's complaint would not further the purposes of the Human Rights Code.

Czechmade said...

"But B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Barbara Humphreys says Simpson didn't explain how the Koran, the central religious text of Islam that has existed for more than 1,300 years, had a negative impact on him.

Humphreys dismissed the case after ruling that Simpson's complaint would not further the purposes of the Human Rights Code."

Beautiful orwelian structure:

1) Simpson accused (!) -"he did not explain", why should he explain anything, read the text for yourself!

2) "the central religious text of Islam that has existed for more than 1,300 years" - irrelevant redundant sponge to fortify/cover the empty formula "negative impact"
by contrast.

3) "complaint would not further the purposes of the Human Rights Code."

Again he is accused - of not promoting "the purpose" of it.

It seems to be an esoteric science to be practiced in some void behind some drapeau rouge.

"Purposes" - anybody´s guess.

Franz Kafka would love it too.
He should get few years in a nice Canadian gulag for his attack against "central" and "1300 years".

Afonso Henriques said...

"Western" people, that is, Western Europeans (including Germany, Austria and Italy and to the West of it) think they are so superior they will never perish... that the laws of Nature do not aply to them.

Non Western think "Western" people are inferior and desarve to perish due to the same reason.
Let's see how far to the East does that extands... Greece comes to mind.

Islam is a non issue. Like Racism. Younger generations live in a whole different world where *THEY* *ARE* the encarnation of the devil; they think they ought to perish as a culture and a people: That's the cool thing to do.

Gramsci did it well. We focus more in Martin Luther King and Ghandi then in any of our great leaders, our great founders and the great ones of our cultures.

We consider the African Guerrilla Marxists as liberators and the ones who fought for us as blood thirty savages; Only Churchill does not fall in this category, why?

Because it is painted Churchill fought Hitler, not because it was in the best interest of the British, but because Churchill did the right thing in fighting *ideologically* (read, with no wins for him, his people and his culture/Civilisation) a man who represented a sort of "white power" movement, Adolf Hitler.

That's it, Churchill is only acceptable because it is portraid that he was less European than Adolf Hitler.

All I wanted to say is that we ought to define what "Europe" is first if we want to achieve something.

Profitsbeard said...

So as long as a deity tells you to kill people, promtoing it is "religious freedom"?

All murderers need do is convert to Islam.

The religion for killers.

heroyalwhyness said...

"Purposes" - anybody´s guess. - Czechmade

Turn the CHRT decision on itself by encouraging further charges being filed with the various Canadian Human Rights Tribunals by simply attempting to meet the "negative impact" criteria of Barbara Humphrey's convenient dismissal.

For instance, a surviving Canadian family member of a 9/11, 7/7, Madrid or Mumbai victim could file a claim similar to Simpsons - this time, including a personal impact statement. Any Canadian passenger involved in the flying imam case - or a Canadian similarly delayed at a border crossing witnessing any number of overblown disputes like these:

Jihad Watch: Muslims resent FBI's release of ferry passenger photos

Jihad Watch: Muslims claim unfair treatment at Canadian border

or perhaps a Jewish Canadian citizen who felt threatened by muslim protestors shouting
"Jewish child, you're gonna f****n die. Hamas is coming for you"

Based on Barbara Humphrey's own dismissal . . .Personal impact statements would be far more difficult for the "Canadian Human Rights Tribunals" to outright dismiss for lack of merit.

History Snark said...

"Turn the CHRT decision on itself by encouraging further charges being filed with the various Canadian Human Rights Tribunal"

They'd ignore it. Remember, Steyn got into trouble simply for quoting an imam. But the 'slammies can't even be criticized, because that's "islamophobia".

Babs Humphrey has shown nothing but a desire to prosecute anyone that isn't a die-hard leftie. Anything that allows these miscreants to be harassed by her and her stooges is good, anything that prevents it is bad.

Bottom line, Humphrey prosecuted Steyn for his crimes, and now is gladly turning a blind eye to those doing it from the other side of the fence.

Unknown said...

An incredible story. I couldn't help thinking of what Melanie Phillips wrote in her book:

The fervent embrace of "victim culture" means instead that this minority (Muslims) has to be treated on its own assessment as a victim of the majority and its grievances attended to on the grounds that it is these grievances that are the cause of terrorism. At the same time, however, this minority disavows any connection with terrorism and vilifies anyone who dares suggest the contrary. Thus Britain is being forced to act on the basis that if it does not do so it will be attacked - by people who claim that terrorism runs totally counter to the values of their religion, but then demand that the grievances of members of that religion are addressed as the price of averting further attacks. This deeply manipulative and mind-twisting behaviour is the equivalent of holding a gun to Britain's head while denying that this is being done, and threatening to run out of town anyone who points it out." (Phillips, Londonistan, Gibson Square, p. 274.)

The Frozen North

Czechmade said...

The required "empact" might be felt, if we gather eating steaks in front of a mosque.

Banning the word kufaar and the war-cry allahuakbar would be nice.