The human rights commission jihad
By John Thompson
At the time of writing, Ezra Levant, a conservative journalist and until recently publisher of the Western Standard, has been summoned before the Alberta Human Rights Commission to answer a complaint from a Calgary Imam, Syed Soharwardy. Two years ago
In addition to this, the BC Human Rights Commission has begun a similar case against
Actually, one first rational reaction to this complaint might well be to wonder how ‘Islamophobia’ can possibly exist – phobias are irrational fears; not concerns based on experience, observation and history. In any event, Steyn and
NOT JUST AN I
The son and grandson of Pakistani clerics, Syed Soharwardy is not just an Imam at the al-
Soharwardy has also been identified in the Canadian media as the founder of the
There are several answers.
Firstly, human rights commissions don’t just have a bias against the accused – they’re stacked against them. As Steyn observed in a January 2008 column in
Secondly, human rights commissions are cheap – very often, the plaintiff needs no legal counsel (unlike the defendant), and might very well have his expenses refunded if he does have a lawyer in his corner. The defendant cannot expect any such beneficence, and will probably expect to ring up the same degree of expenses ($50,000 plus) that they might in a general civil action.
Thirdly, in a regular civil action in a real court, there is the process of discovery or disclosure; whereby the plaintiff and the defendant can demand to see each other’s records. Normally, in the courtroom Jihad in the
Again in a general court, there is the quaint but ancient tradition of being able to cross-examine witnesses and let the defendant see what evidence is arrayed against him, so that he or she has a chance to refute it. This, like the process of discovery, can lead to all sorts of embarrassment for the plaintiff…but in a human rights commission hearing this need not happen. Instead, to protect the plaintiff from such indignities, he can testify without having to face crossexamination, or indeed, need not actually face his victim, er, the defendant at all.
There are clear signs that supporters and sympathizers of militant Islam are deeply interested in using Canada’s human rights commissions as the new vehicle for the ‘courtroom Jihad’. One indicator came from the Toronto Star on June 26, 2006, in an article by Faisal Kutty; then vice-chair of the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Canada) and general counsel for the Canadian
As an aside; CAIR-Canada’s American parent, CAIR, is an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism funding case in the
A PROFOUND ERROR
There is a message that
Unfortunately, while the likes of Ernst Zundel and the neo-Nazis were as welcome as skunks at a garden party, using human rights commissions to limit them back in the 1990s was a profound error, and it may be time to undo it. Not because of any sympathy for Zundel, but rather because we have created a monster.
George Orwell in 1984 observes that “freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.” Indeed, freedom of inquiry and the ability to engage in rational discussions about anything are at the heart of all our other freedoms. Even a single-party dictator for life is conceding a remarkable degree of freedom (with everything that flows from it) if he truly permits a free and open press to operate in his country. It isn’t too difficult to argue that the singlemost important human right is the right to argue and debate about everything. Any attempt to limit this right is to place every other freedom in serious jeopardy.
If our human rights commissions are serious about human rights at all; their only logical reaction to the complaints against Ezra Levant or against
John Thompson is an international expert on
terrorism. Reprinted with permission of The