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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Western Standard sued for publishing cartoons

Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It's been ten years since I've graduated from law school, and I've never seen a more frivolous, vexatious, infantile suit than this.

But that's the point -- this complaint is not about beating us in the law. Freedom of speech is still in our constitution; we'll win in the end. It's a nuisance suit, designed to grind us down, cost us money, and serve as a warning to other, more timid media.

The hand-written scrawl and the spelling errors were what first disgusted me with the suit; but the arguments were what really got me. The complainant, Imam Syed Soharwardy, a former professor at an anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, doesn't just argue that we shouldn't have published the cartoons. He argues that we shouldn't be able to defend our right to publish the cartoons. The bulk of his complaint was that we dared to try to justify it.

He argues that advocating a free press should be a thought crime.

Here is a letter I sent out to our e-mail list, explaining our legal situation.

Here is the formal response I shall file with the human rights commission tomorrow.

And here is where you can chip in to our legal defence fund if you want to support us. Our lawyers tell me we'll likely win, but it could cost us up to $75,000 to do so -- and the case against us is being prosecuted by government employees using tax dollars.

We're a small, independent magazine and we don't have deep pockets to fight off nuisance suits, so please chip in if you can.

ADDENDUM: In response to various commenters, unfortunately, even if we are successful in the human rights commission, we will not be compensated for our legal fees. It's not like a real court, where an unsuccessful plaintiff would be ordered to pay a successful defendant's costs. So even if we win, we lose -- the process is the penalty. Worse than that, the radical imam who is suing us doesn't have to put up a dime -- the commission uses tax dollars to pay lawyers and other inquisitors to go at us directly. Human rights tribunals themselves are illiberal institutions. Read my larger brief, linked above.

UPDATE 1: Here is a scan  of the imam's complaint.

UPDATE 2: We are currently working to change our legal defence fund web page to accept donations from outside Canada. In the meantime, please e-mail Rita at [email protected] or phone us at 403-216-2270 and we can help you that way -- thanks!

Posted by Ezra Levant on March 29, 2006 | Permalink


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» Western Standard sued for publishing cartoons from Complacent Nation
A nutball is trying to financially hurt the Standard using the Western legal system Here's the opening lines: Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It's been ten years since I've gra [Read More]

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» Western Standard Sued for Publishing Cartoons from The Life of Nick
The only Canadian news source with the guts to actually print the cartoons of Mohammed (seen above), the Western Standard, has been sued by a radical Calgary imam. He argues that advocating a free press should be a thought crime. The press has been g... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-29 10:17:53 PM

» Western Standard Sued for Publishing Cartoons from The Life of Nick
The only Canadian news source with the guts to actually print the cartoons of Mohammed (seen above), the Western Standard, has been sued by a radical Calgary imam. He argues that advocating a free press should be a thought crime. The press has been g... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-29 10:21:59 PM

» More Fear of a Jihadist Planet from Kesher Talk
And you thought the Motoon kerfluffle was a) over, and b) a kerfluffle. But no. Dominos continue to fall. This week saw NYU unprecedentedly denying the public access to a previously open panel discussion. The Western Standard of Canada published... [Read More]

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» Western Standard Legal Defence Fund from Blue Blogging Soapbox
From an email sent out by Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant. If you don't want to donate to the fund, at least consider purchasing a subscription. Link to the subscription page is at the top of the blog. [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-30 1:20:52 AM

» Fear of a Jihadi Planet from Winds of Change.NET
And you thought the Motoon kerfluffle was a) over, and b) a kerfluffle. But no. Dominos continue to fall. This week saw NYU unprecedentedly denying the public access to a previously open panel discussion. The... [Read More]

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» More Fear of a Jihadist Planet from Kesher Talk
And you thought the Motoon kerfluffle was a) over, and b) a kerfluffle. But no. Dominos continue to fall. This week saw NYU unprecedentedly denying the public access to a previously open panel discussion. The Western Standard of Canada published... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-30 2:41:45 AM

» Western Standard Before Human Rights Commission from small dead animals
The complainant, Imam Syed Soharwardy, a former professor at an anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, doesn't just argue that we shouldn't have published the cartoons. He argues that we shouldn't be able to defend our right to publish the cartoons.... [Read More]

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» Islamofascist Tries To Silence The Western Standard from Riehl World View
It appears a radical islamist has figured out a new way to try and silence a free press.Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It's been ten years since I've [Read More]

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» Western Standard sued over Mohammed cartoons from Magic Statistics
Syed Badauddin Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, has lodged a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) against the Western Standard magazine, and its publisher Ezra Levant, for printing the Danish Mohammed... [Read More]

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» Is Levant using frivolous lawsuit to make money? from The Sudden Sage
Ezra Levant must be loving this. His publication is being sued in human rights court for publishing those anti-Muslim cartoons the other month. Yes, hes happy! With this in hand, he gets to be the victim, and hes fundraising for lawyers&#... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-30 12:56:27 PM

» Freedom of the Press vs. the Alberta Human Rights Commission from EclectEcon
This morning I read in the Trono Globe & Mail that the Danish newspaper that published the infamous cartoons is being sued: [Read More]

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» Canadian magazine sued over cartoons from Overlawyered
Following up on earlier threats (Feb. 14, Mar. 19), Syed Soharwardy has brought a complaint against the Western Standard before the Alberta Human Rights Commission over its publication of the Mohammed cartoons. Ezra Levant, publisher... [Read More]

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» Canadian Paper Sued Over Muhammed Cartoons from The Jawa Report
For a bunch of F*cking fascists, they sure are a bunch of whiney bitches. FYI-our good friend Kate from Small Dead Animals writes for the Western Standard, so were more than just supportive on the principle of the matter.... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-03-31 9:46:05 AM

» What Craveness Begets from Just Some Poor Schmuck
What the "Danish Cartoons", to use the current euphemism, showed the world was not the superiority of Western ideals or the strength of a free press, but how easy it is to roll the Politically Correct who seem to make... [Read More]

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» You Can Help Defend Free Speech from Captain's Quarters
The excellent Canadian magazine Western Standard now faces a lawsuit from an Islamic cleric in Calgary for publishing the Prophet cartoons in its coverage of the massive riots around the world earlier this year. The suit was presented in "human... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-04-01 8:55:53 AM

» You Can Help Defend Free Speech from Captain's Quarters
The excellent Canadian magazine Western Standard now faces a lawsuit from an Islamic cleric in Calgary for publishing the Prophet cartoons in its coverage of the massive riots around the world earlier this year. The suit was presented in "human... [Read More]

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» Rally to defend freedom of the press! from Being American in T.O.
Apr. 1 - It appears that there is more than one way to supress press freedoms, and I'm finding it hard to restrain the contempt I feel as I report that a Canadian human rights commission in Alberta is complicit... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-04-01 2:28:36 PM

» Cartoon Jihad: The Canadian Front from Winds of Change.NET
In Canada, only one magazine published the Mohammed cartoons. To my knowledge, you couldnt find them anywhere else. That is, by any standard, an incredibly shameful record. That shame is compounded by Imam Soharwardys use... [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-04-04 3:40:15 AM


OT, but, ... not OT...

Harper Phones Ehud Olmert
Josh Pringle
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Israel will continue to benefit from the strong leadership of Ehud Olmert.

In a phone call, Harper sent his congratulations and support to the acting prime minister of Israel.

Olmert's Kadima party won Tuesdays elections in Israel.

Harper told Olmert that Canada wants to expand its already solid relations with Israel.

He adds Canada remains a staunch supporter of peace in the Middle East and will continue to work with Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas toward that goal. +

Posted by: maz2 | 2006-03-29 8:17:27 PM

If you win, can you counter sue to recover your legal costs?

Posted by: qwerty | 2006-03-29 8:23:03 PM

It's a very good reply, Ezra. I have a few comments.

In 6(d), where the complainant is stating his objection to the cartoons - that they violate fundamentalist Muslim prohibition against any depictions of Mohammed - well:

1) Is all Islam also fundamentalist? That is, must Islamic observance be only of one type - namely - fundamentalist?

2) It is untrue that Mohammed is not imagized; I'm sure you are aware of the rebuttals of this false assertion - with the references to the many Islamic produced images of Mohammed in paintings in museums etc.

3) This 'rule' can only apply to Muslims. If you are not a Muslim, then, the rule cannot apply to you. The Islamic community has no right to insist that its religious laws must be followed by non-Muslims.

After all, in Catholic Christianity, it is a rule that one must go to mass at certain times, e.g., Christmas eve. Now, is Canada going to insist that all Muslims obey this rule?

Again - the rule applies only to Muslims. If you are not Muslim - the rule cannot apply.

4) The fundamental role of free speech, and the freedom to question, debate, dissent and criticize is a basic component of western society. It has to be retained. See Karl Popper's examination of this in 'The Open Society and Its Enemies'..where he talks about the dangers of the Closed (tribal) society..e.g., as found in the Islamic world.

And, there's Natan Sharansky's book on the vital role of dissent (The Case for Democracy'.

5) The cartoons were asking necessary and legitimate political questions - namely, IF Islam is a religion of peace, then, why are you, in the name of that religion, advocating terrorism and carrying out terrorist actions?
These questions MUST be asked of the religion, and must be answered.

6) There is also something else important. A political ideology, such as is found in fundamentalist Islam, which has an open, public and fully stated agenda, to conquer all peoples and force them to submit to their Sharia Law, CANNOT be hidden from debate under the cover of a 'religious ideology' and thereby, moved beyond the openness of questions, debate and dissent.

To move a political ideology out of the realm of questions, by saying that it is a religious ideology and cannot be discussed - puts us, the west, into the situation of 'slavery'. We cannot argue about what these people wish to do to us.
That is extremely dangerous.

Posted by: ET | 2006-03-29 8:43:14 PM

This should not even receive the dignity of a response except to demand the Commission dismiss the case forthwith. All who care about freedom of speech should send a copy or link to the cartoons in question to the Commission and ask to be added as co-respondents with The Western Standard. Cheers. Eric

Posted by: Eric MacLeod | 2006-03-29 8:50:14 PM

Canadian Courts are going to entertain this guy?

Fundamentalist Islamic savages should crawl back into their caves. Canadian taxpayers shouldn't get stuck with the bill for their insane insecurities.

Posted by: infidel | 2006-03-29 8:55:21 PM

Can someone enlighten me... Why can't Levant just tell these people to F-Off? Does this court have any real jurisdiction? What happens if he's tried in abstentia?

Posted by: Johannes | 2006-03-29 9:19:34 PM


Why aren't your lawyers recommending to the WS to counter sue for compensation of all legal fees and other costs bourne by members of the Western Standard. That is standard practice. If they are so sure that you will win they should be recommending this to you.

Good luck, I am sure you will win also, with your eyes closed.

Posted by: wasp | 2006-03-29 9:21:51 PM

Levant is being slightly dishonest in his representation of the facts here. First of all, one is not "sued" before the Human Rights Commission. A complaint is filed with the Commission, with the HRC is then obligated to investigate. If there is no cause for further action, then the complaint is dismissed. Cases are not "prosecuted" as Levant suggests. The HRC is an administrative tribunal, not a court.

In terms of a civil suit, the plaintiffs in this case have as much right as anyone else to lay a claim. They have the burden of proving their claim. Levant and crew could counter-sue, but more likely they will just seek costs in the event that they win. Don't be duped into providing funds to defend the poor little Western Standard. Law suits are a part of being in the public eye... media organizations sue and are sued all the time. That's just part of the game.

Posted by: someone | 2006-03-29 9:26:39 PM

1. Ofcourse, being a lawyer, you would know that the mens rea of the Criminal Code offence is higher than the provincial legislation-(intentional vs. likely). Just becasue the police didn't lay charges doesn't prove that you have not crossed the threshold of the Human Rights Act.

2. “during the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech” sez Borovoy.

Then why did he and his colleagues include s. 3 of the act - which begins with a very explicit NO PERSON SHALL PUBLISH ...
seems like a clear limitation on free speech to me - where's the ambiguity there ?

3. If you have counsel why not let them respond. You know what they say about having a fool for a client. Your response strikes me as more PR than legal argument.

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-03-29 9:31:07 PM

Well thank god the Conservatives are in power! They'll put a stop to this, right?

Posted by: Thanks For Nothing | 2006-03-29 9:49:38 PM

If this is about "freedom of speech" why is there no mention on this blog about the *Canadian* journalist imprisoned in Belarus during a pro-democracy rally?

It is hypocritical (to say the least) to bleat about "freedom of the press" to print cartoons published in Europe, meanwhile ignoring the plight of a fellow Canadian, and a colleague for heaven's sake, who is thrown in a foreign jail under who knows what kind of conditions.

Not very consistent coverage. How disappointing.

Posted by: PM | 2006-03-29 10:06:55 PM

Thanks 4 nothing -

You can thank the Conservatives for introducing The Alberta Human Rights, etc. Act .

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-03-29 10:10:36 PM

If I'm reading the Alberta Human Rights & Citizenship Commission web site correctly:

If a complainant chooses to use the services of a lawyer to present his/her case - the complainant will bear the cost of this. Implied seems to be that one can also choose to argue their own case.

I don't see where it says that government employees will "prosecute the case". There is no prosecution of a case - it is initially only the presentation of a complaint and the requirement of a response. The complaint will be investigated as to merit to see if the tribunal will hear the case or not.

Perhaps there is also a civil suit happening as well as a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal??

One of the 6 commissioners on the Human Rights Commission is Diane Colley-Urquhart - who is also an alderman in the City of Calgary. In the event that she is eventually sitting on the tribunal to adjudicate this case - my question would be as to how her situation is not a conflict of interest. This would be a high profile case and how could she not be cognizant of her political constituency in coming to a decision.

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2006-03-29 10:11:56 PM

Your form to donate doesn't have an area for Americans to enter their state, it only has provinces in the drop-down box. Will that foul up donating money if the name and card number are okay?

Posted by: Doss | 2006-03-29 10:14:01 PM

I once heard a Muslim say, "The two things I have not seen are the face of God and the compassion of a mullah". It would seem perhaps that a third item, and IQ larger than his foot size, is missing from the intellect of the particular Muslim who feels that the entire world should follow in his radical steps and who is seeing fit to abuse our laws and customs.

Posted by: R.G. Smith | 2006-03-29 10:18:54 PM

Originally, I thought the cartoons were essentially tasteless, condescending and irrelevant. Thanks to people like Imam Syed Soharwardy, I now see how foolishly naive and idealistic I have been. If we're going to keep score, then why not start with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Constitution? I am appalled to think that my country would give the time of day to anyone who, as a way of life, is unfailingly contemptuous of the following:


Article 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 21. ..... (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 26. (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall
promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups...

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.


Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:


1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Fundamental Freedoms
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

I'll call tomorrow to donate money and also to inquire about your advertising rates.

Posted by: edncda | 2006-03-29 10:22:13 PM

Maclean's cover shot today was suggesting that Jesus did not really die on the cross.Now I am in a quandry,shall I burn a falafel stand or shall I donate to free speech? Actually ,Ezra,don't show up. Take a fall and appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. Arguing against them only legitamizes thier complaints and allows the commision a bit more pomposity.Excuse the language,but fuck the idiots over.

Posted by: wallyj | 2006-03-29 11:08:25 PM

1. A human rights panel has jurisdiction to order costs (s.32(2)). If you get costs will you give back the money or use the legal defense fund to pay off some of the magz debt ?

2. What if you incur no costs or take in more than you spend will you give back the money or use the legal defense fund to pay off some of the magz debt ?

3. The director can dismiss the complaint outright , attempt to effect a settlement ( and note that if the complainant refuses to accept a fair and reasonable settlement the director can dismiss) .If a settlement can't be reached the complaint can be investigated. If the investigation reveals the complaint is without merit it will be dismissed. There should be very little, if any legal costs associated with the above. If any of those occur will you give back the money or use the legal defense fund to pay off some of the magz debt ?

4. You're bound to get much more than $ 75, 000 in PR out of this so it's a little hard to feel sorry for you.

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-03-29 11:12:15 PM

There really are a lot of idiots out here !!!

Posted by: wallyj | 2006-03-29 11:16:28 PM

More than one person here has already called out Mr Levant's latest attempt at headline grabbbing and twisting of the facts, so I will not labor any more the obvious.

What disturbs me is the callous lack of accountability on behalf of the Western Standard and Mr Levant. He knowingly and willingly publishes a high risk article, and lo and behold the crap hits the fan. Any basic risk analysis as would be conducted by an intelligent person such as Mr Levant would have revealed this outcome as highly probable. He then asks his readership to bail him out. Get real! Mr Levant, you took the risk, now assume the responsibility for that risk. And please don't hide behind the "poor Western Standard" schtick. Any credible news media has contingencies (read: insurance) in place for the inevitable litigation that follows such journalistic ventures. If not, like the guy above said, its part of the game.

Posted by: NotFooled | 2006-03-29 11:19:02 PM

We're behind you in the east!

Posted by: The Progress for New Brunswick Project | 2006-03-29 11:21:54 PM

I'm still waiting for the same people that were screaming what an injustice it was to print the cartoons in the first place, to come on here, post a site, and begin collecting a legal fund for the Muslim.

Only in Canada.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-29 11:26:56 PM

I always thought the HRC was a quasi-judicial kangaroo court from its inception.
Was it actually intended to have anything to do with civil liberties? Or was it set up as an unjust way to punish political incorrectness by bypassing our actual rights?

Posted by: Javahead | 2006-03-29 11:52:11 PM

I think it is wrong to use a "Human Rights Commission" to sue for any violation of rights. In fact I think if any rights have been violated, i.e. any laws broken, then the courts should be used for that. If no law was broken (in this case it was lawful to publish the cartoons), then no legal action of any kind should be taken.

I say that the HRC should be abolished and the regular courts used for any law breaking. It seems to me that the HRC is a parallel legal system with its own rules and this is dangerous to a society governed by rule of law. The idea of a Human Rights Commission implies that there are certain rights that cannot be protected by law. If there are any rights not currently protected in our constitution then this should be remedied, but not in a "Human Rights Commission"

Posted by: Cyprian Libera | 2006-03-30 12:16:49 AM

I wonder if people would react the same way if the comments published affected jewish or christian sensibilities. while i agree that freedom of speech is a right, we really must wonder what would happen if a muslim paper published comments that jews found anti semitic. surely the outcry would have been overwhelming. I often wonder whether, in our wonderfully 'open' society, our freedoms are only there for us when convenient but when others criticize us they become racist or 'the other'.

Posted by: Ronald Wood | 2006-03-30 12:32:25 AM

I'll pass on saying I told you this was going to happen, but only because it was obvious to anyone with a brain. now that it has, a few questions and some free advice
1) if this complaint is indeed entirely without merit - and while I presume it is, it's hard to tell, since the only evidence offered is Levant's overheated description of the complaint, which is long on bluster and short on detail -- then why do you have to bring in the big legal guns? Seems to me that anyone with a little legal training - like, oh, Ezra -- should be able to knock this baby out of the park, especially since human rights commissions are used to hearing from self-represented litigants.
2) How the hell did you not see this one coming? Or perhaps you did and recognized the potential for fundraising offered by just such as complaint?
3) Maybe a good place to start is being honest with your readers about the process,? On second thought, naaaah, that would be out of character. It's so much better to blubber, play the martyr and pass the hat.
5) A word of advice: if ET thinks your legal briefs are "very good", consider tearing them up and starting again.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-03-30 12:38:31 AM

Too funny. Levant runs the controversial cartoons as a stunt and now can't handle the heat in the kitchen and wants people to bail him out. Too bad buddy. When you have crap on your heel you draw flies.

Posted by: evan | 2006-03-30 12:46:55 AM

Java Head is right. The CEO of the NB Human Rights Commission refuses to accept the authority of the NB Government which created the HRC, to define or amend regulations and to answer
for decisions. In Nova Scotia the HRC is strictly a political vehicle, focused on racial
complaints. I have long felt that HRC's in Canada should be terminated since they in fact are driven by bias and profound ignorance; they serve no useful purpose.

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2006-03-30 1:08:44 AM

Hey guys at the WS.....good job upholding the
standards and responsibilities of the press.....all alone. Hopefully the "Human Rights Commission" will immediately rule for the fundamental rights you exercised, rather than lending any credence to someone who seeks to impose his feverish views on others.

Any entertainment of this type of complainant in any positive manner reflects a belief that the rights we have in Canada are subjective rather than fundamental.

That is the issue, and so you can be assured of any support I can give should the case move anywhere other than the wastebasket it belongs in.

I would nevertheless thank the imam for raising into the light the debate (or glaring lack of)regarding Canada's immigration policies.

Political correctness is just a poor excuse for not asking uncomfortable, but very valid, questions.

Are muslim beliefs compatible with Canada?

Does the imam's wish to subjegate our freedoms represent what all muslims want? Do all muslims in Canada want to see us bow to their religious whims?

I'm not hearing any denials of this man's actions from other "Canadian" muslims.....are they Canadians or just soldiers of infiltration?

There is no greater importance to an advanced education system than the teachings of history. It is there that we are supposed to learn from the many mistakes and failures of past eras and avoid the same results.

We tread now on a well worn path.

If our society is not going to stand and defend it's freedoms hard won over many years, our society will vanish.

Rights and freedoms are either absolute, for all citizens, and not open to interpretation, equivocation and grey areas.....or they mean less than nothing. They become words used to suppress the rights and freedoms they claim to quantify.

After all....you're just two islamophobic jews from a western hick town.....isn't that how it goes?

Posted by: Phil | 2006-03-30 1:41:11 AM

"He knowingly and willingly publishes a high risk article, and lo and behold the crap hits the fan."

Yeah! Publishers shouldn't take risks or make a stand for freedom of speech, because something bad might happen! How DARE he ask for support! Everyone knows the Canadian way is to lobby the government to support the mag with taxpayer funds to maintain "Canadian identity" in media!

Geez, the guy's looking at a substantial cost to his mag because some nutbar's feelings were hurt and Canada's legal system can't find its arse with both hands. All he's doing is asking. He's not demanding anybody pay him anything.

Posted by: Tozetre | 2006-03-30 2:48:00 AM

Right on Phil, Jack and Cyprian Libera.

Do we really need the thought police to be called to rule on a case of toonophobia?

If the HRC does not recognize this complaint as an attack on our freedom of thought, speech, and press, ultimately they facilitate and enable religious terrorism. No author, publisher, or bookstore will be exempt from threats or attack. If the HRC is complicent in this they must be disbanded (and should be anyway).

There have recently been peaceful demonstrations in London and New York reaffirming freedom of speech and solidarity with Denmark - complete with placards depicting the Mohammed cartoons and Danish flags. People are waking up.

From a speech by Leonard Peikoff entitled "Religious Terrorism vs. Free Speech", he writes:
"But two California bookstores have already been bombed, a New York weekly newspaper has been demolished by firebombing, at least 178 threats of death or destruction have been received by booksellers nationwide, major American publishers (primarily Viking) are barricaded at ruinous cost behind an army of private security guards--and every American author, speaker, and reader must wonder if and when he will become a target of armed Islamic fundamentalists with orders to kill heretics."

Posted by: Javahead | 2006-03-30 3:15:47 AM

"PM" above is being unfair.

PM claims that the Shotgun should have necessarily covered the Belarussian detention of a Canadian in order to be not-inconsistent vis-a-vis this stupid stunt by some Islamic fundamentalnut claiming to be related to the Prophet Who Must Not Be Depicted.

PM doesn't want to remember that the Shotgun has limited resources and all. The Shotgun cannot cover and comment on everything that happens any more than can I or PM.

I suspect PM is a leftist.

And I believe that "human rights" courts already are in great disrepute, having demonstrated a pigheaded agenda of aggressive social reengineering in line with the overall leftist state apparatus forced upon us by Liberals.

Posted by: Canadian Sentinel | 2006-03-30 3:39:34 AM

Mr. Levant:

As a lawyer myself, I commend the strength and eloquence of your brief to the AHRCC. Who says those wretched three years of law school were for naught?

In the event that the AHRCC hears this farcical complaint (as a secular Canadian, I hope that the hearing does proceed and the the WS succeeds absolutely), may I suggest calling Mr. Borovoy as a supporting witness for the WS? That is, use Mr. Borovoy's considerable intelligence and lengthy human rights cv to refute absolutely the bases of the Islamist's complaint.

Take heart- CAIR was recently soundly trounced in a US court by Anti-CAIR- you might want to speak to Andrew Whitehead about his experience in that matter.

Good luck, cheque to follow.


Posted by: Bruce McMinn | 2006-03-30 5:01:59 AM

Now the Muslims are suing in Denmark for defamation, after failing to get a criminal prosecution.


COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- A group of 27 Danish Muslim organizations have filed a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the carricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, their lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday, two weeks after Denmark's top prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, saying the drawings that sparked a firestorm in the Muslim world did not violate laws against racism or blasphemy.

Posted by: TimR | 2006-03-30 5:41:37 AM

Predicted outcome: a fine of several thousand dollars to the WS for the mistake of thinking Canadian freedoms were to be taken seriously.

"While legal, the tribunal finds that unnecessary hurt was caused bla bla bla." Perfectly legal, but subject to punishment. You know the routine. This is Canada.

Posted by: asdf | 2006-03-30 5:55:14 AM

You should really convert those Word documents to a fixed format like Adobe Acrobat (pdf). Otherwise, before you know it these documents will be manipulated ever so slightly and circulated to make you look as loony as Soharwardy.

Posted by: Rob L. | 2006-03-30 5:56:42 AM

I've just tried to make a donation on your special page (http://www.westernstandard.ca/freedom) but because I don't have a Canadian address and phone number, I was rejected.

Maybe you don't realise that your readership extends beyond Canadian borders, but I suggest you internationalise your donations page FAST.

The longer you wait the more would-be donors like me are going to walk away.

Posted by: Tony Allwright | 2006-03-30 6:41:25 AM

Thank you for this - I'm sure that some of your readers would really like to see a copy of "Soharwardy's rambling, hand-scrawled complaint" so that they can form an opinion of their own about it - can you either put a copy of it up on your website or otherwise direct us to it? Thanks - RMS

Posted by: RMS | 2006-03-30 7:05:19 AM

Take care Ezra and don't scrimp on security, these creeps may be trying to mess you up by stumbling through the proper channels, but you and your business are almost certainly on a target or death list in many a Canadian Islamist's files. This is never going to go away. What do they call it? A religious obligation? A holy "fatwah"?

Posted by: calgarian | 2006-03-30 7:05:56 AM

Ezra , I would suggest you hire your own contributor David Warren for your defense.

This post is your defense ..


A quote .. “like the organized Danish cartoon apoplexy (still continuing in some parts of the world, where Muslim demagogues are still using it to whoop up anti-Western hysteria), brings us face to face with Islamic doctrines inimical to the survival of our civilization. ….
….We cannot pretend for long, the way President Bush has been doing (albeit from humane and sound tactical motives to begin with), that the Shariah is compatible with freedom and democracy. The systems of government we advocate, or by necessity impose, must explicitly provide civil protection to non-Muslims and Muslims alike, against Shariah courts and their rulings. I have come to realize there is no alternative to this.”

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-03-30 7:08:21 AM

Freedom of expression is being tested in Canada and I fear we are may not be up to the test.
Ezra, I tend to agree with WallyJ, don't respond to the Human rights suit. .
My understanding is that Human rights commissions can accept secondhand or hearsay evidence as truth.
I have no legal knowledge but common sense tells one that such a commisson with massive powers needs correcting itself.
While I cannot contribute now, I will certainly do so if you ignore the Human rights fight and take this into courts where heresy evidence is not accepted into the decision making.
Its time to put Human rights tribunal's validity on trial and what better entity than Western Standard?
You may even get the opportunity to show the cartoons again
in a public courtroom.

Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2006-03-30 7:30:25 AM

The sooner people realize that we are in a war the better off we will be. Objectively, it is clear that Mohammed was a psychopathic nut. The world is in an absurd state where millions of people believe in the preachings of a lunatic.If this was not so scary it would be tremendously funny.

Posted by: Southern Man | 2006-03-30 7:45:15 AM

Southern Man,

Couldn't agree with you more, the even bigger absurdity is the bastardizing of the only man, and country willing to confront the evil, by the millions in the western world.

At least the muslims have an excuse, they are raised to believe in their absurd beliefs. The people here, and south of the border simply choose to be absurd. Astounding, and definitely not funny.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-03-30 8:15:55 AM

nomdenet - thanks for the link. It's a good outline of the incompatibility of Sharia Law and western laws. But, this brings up the question - is this case about Sharia law vs western law?

Sharia is not legal in Canada. Or- Is it?

Consider our deeply flawed Canadian Charter of Rights, which gives a few cursory brief nods to basic human rights - four fundamental freedoms; the right to vote and the length of time without a vote; the right to enter/leave Canada, rights of trial, equality..All of this takes up a mere two and 1/2 pages. The major part of the document and I maintain the real reason for its development - is the 'Official Languages of Canada', sections 16 through 23, with many subsections, which takes up more than the rest of the rights (3 pages).

Now, in this flawed charter, with most of its specifics focused on bilingualism, we find:

2 fundamental Freedoms
-freedom of conscience and religion
-freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication
-freedom of peaceful assembly; and
-freedom of association.

OK. Now, a US definition of 'fundamental' is that 'fundamental liberty interests must be so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental'. So, the question then moves to 'what/whose traditions and conscience"? How are Canada's traditions defined? For that - you have to move to our Charter's Section 15, 26, 27. And that's a problem.

We find in our Charter, that flawed clause 15 - Equality Rights - in which 'subsection a' assserts our equality and 'b' denies that equality. All in one clause.
15(1)..Every individual is equal ...the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination...based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability'.
15 (2) 'Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability'.

So- in ONE clause, you have both an affirmation of equality and an open denial of equality.

Any group could latch onto subsection 2, and claim that printing the cartoons was an act of discrimination that did not 'ameliorate the conditions'..of 'disadvantaged Muslims in Canada' who are disadvantaged and discriminated against in Canada because they are blamed for terrorism...when everyone knows that it was Bush and the CIA and whoever..who blew up the towers and etc...

And, there's Section 26
"The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada".

Now- what's that supposed to mean? In this flawed Charter, the only real crisp detailed articulations deal with Bilingualism. The rest is amorphous, contradictory and so open to interpretation as to be meaningless.

And then, Section 27
'This Charter shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians'?

Again- what's that supposed to mean? Does that mean that if my immigrant group has a heritage of murdering a woman who is raped, that I ought to have this right preserved, because it's part of our 'multicultural heritage'? Remember, the SCC has already ruled that I can wear a 'knife' to school, because it's part of my ancient religion.

My point is that our deeply flawed Charter provides us with very few rights - because the 'fundamental four' of Section 2- which didn't need a Charter for their affirmation, are readily denied by THREE other Sections (15, 26, 27)..whose meaning is so ambiguous that any EverReady Multiculturalist can make them mean whatever he wants.

And what he might want, would be to deny freedom of expression. That's the agenda of the Muslim attempt to install 'blasphemy laws' in Canada.

The serious problem with Islam is that it is not merely a religious ideology, which ought to deal only with metaphysical issues; it is also a social ideology - which deals with personal human interactions, BUT, BUT, it is a political ideology - which deals with state and legal issues. And, by defining this political/legal ideology as 'religious', Islam asserts that any discussion and debate about this agenda - is not permitted.
That's totalitarianism.

Posted by: ET | 2006-03-30 8:17:23 AM

So if the cartoons are blasphemous in some way, then so is the entire muslim religion which says Christ is not the son of god!

Bet no human rights comission will run with my complaint. They should shut down the entire religion and turn the mosques into public housing.

Should Syed give up his blasphemous religion? Film at 11:00

All human rightst comissions should be banned they are a waste of taxpayer money and since I'm a white male they could care less about me.

Do we need racist organizations like that running around paid for by taxpayers while people are dying hoping to get off medical waiting lists.

Posted by: ghollingshead | 2006-03-30 8:18:02 AM


Please keep us informed as to your fundraising success. Although being sued will discourage others from expressing freedom of the press, your success at raising funds, will encourage others, to be brave.

The Dutch have produced a video that shows would-be immigrants what kind of nation they are, and what would-be immigrants should expect, once they hit the soil running. As Canadians, we should produce one ourselves.

And you don't have to look at it, if you don't like it!

I move we produce one with all the scantilizing benefits of being a Canadian (beer, peanuts AND rednecks)along with the entire spectrum of the Canadian population, without gloss.

First they came after Western Standard, then they came after middle of the road standard. The next thing you know, they will be running around beating us ladies, and demanding we cover oursleves, and stay at home, because it is a violation of their interpretation of their religion. Then they will insist they have the right, according to their beliefs, to beat women and cut off women's genitalia, like they do in other countries!

And we never see them fanatical extremist types getting offended at the genocide in Sudan. Now why is that? Is it because those who are perpetrating those crimes, are in agreement with those who object to the publishing of the Danish cartoons?

Or perhaps it is because they are interested in Jihad more than being good people in the world?

Enoughs enough Ezra.

Nil carborundum bastardii!

"If they don't like what they see here, (expletive deletive)", then perhaps they should re-evaluate whether they made the right choice to come here in the first place?


Posted by: Lady | 2006-03-30 8:22:11 AM

You know, it seems to me we should be replying to the imams in the currency of their choice: intimidation and fear. So why don't you just tell us where he lives? Come on Ezra, tell us where the focker lives, do it man, you know you want to....OOoops, sorry everyone, the constant stress of having to tolerate these a**holes is really getting to me now.

Posted by: bcf | 2006-03-30 8:27:32 AM

Too true bcf and they have quite the legacy,

behold the religion of bombs and beheadings on TV....

Posted by: ghollingshead | 2006-03-30 8:32:14 AM

This iman is specifically the type of person that the Australians DO NOT want in their country. They have made this very clear in a news release the other day. Perhaps its time Canada had the guts to do the same. If not more of these types of suits can be expecting going forward.

Posted by: Conservative Crusader | 2006-03-30 8:44:44 AM

"while i agree that freedom of speech is a right, we really must wonder what would happen if a muslim paper published comments that jews found anti semitic. surely the outcry would have been overwhelming."

Umm, I'm Jewish and I can tell you that they Muslim papers publish extremely anti-Semitic cartoons and editorials every single day.

Posted by: Rich | 2006-03-30 8:51:57 AM

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