13 February 2008

Canadian vs Islamist Values

"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."

That was the thought that Richard Bronstein publisher of the Jewish Free Press after he came to an agreement with Syed Soharwardy to withdraw his complaint at the Alberta Human Rights Commission. That perfectly summarizes the whole point that Ezra Levant has been making in his very public dispute with the same commission. The whole point of Levant's defense is that Canadians have a foundational right to free speech within some very limited criminal restrictions.

Levant and Bronstein did not try to incite violence and they said nothing slanderous. They did offend some people who think that no-one should criticize Muhammad because Muslims are not supposed to criticize Muhammad. There seems to be a belief, not just in Canada, that ethnic minorities - most often lately this means Muslims - have a right to not be offended. No-one has a right to not be offended. Multiculturalism doesn't mean that Canadians who have been in Canada are required to accommodate everyone else's sensibilities while new arrivals are not required to adjust their expectations to our society.

While Soharwardy has now dropped the complaints his comments to the CTV in 2006 show how little he understands the paradigm he lives in here in the free West:

Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada said publishers of the cartoons should apologize and added that they are abusing freedom of the press.
"They have to apologize in the newspaper, and they have to condemn their action, and they have to come to our centre and apologize to our congregation, too," he said.

It is Soharwardy who should apologize to Levant, Bronstein, and everyone in Canada who believes in the importance of a constitutional democracy and to whom a Sharia based society would be intolerably offensive existence.

Levant's oddessy and his brilliant responses to the AHRC can be seen here.