"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Price of freedom is high: Ezra wages new battle for free speech


By Ezra Levant on October 14, 2013 4:34 PM | Permalink 

Help Ezra In His Fight For Free Speech Visit STANDWITHEZRA.CA To Learn How

Syed Soharwardy, a radical Pakistan-born Muslim imam in Calgary, says a lot of offensive things.

He says Canada treats Muslims the way Nazi Germany treated Jews. Funny he mentioned Nazis. Because for many years his own website said “the nation of Jews will be exterminated.” He attended a protest that flew the flag of the terrorist group Hezbollah, right across the street from Calgary’s Jewish community centre.

Yet this bigot had the audacity to file a human rights complaint against me for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, in a news story in the Western Standard magazine. And 15 government lawyers and bureaucrats prosecuted me for 900 days, for “hate speech.”

Mohamed Elmasry is a radical Egypt-born Muslim in Waterloo. He says offensive things, too. On national TV he said “Everyone in Israel, irrespective of gender, over the age of 18 is a valid target” for terrorism. He says the Jewish Torah is the inspiration for Israel’s campaign of “death, destruction and misery” against Arabs. He calls Hezbollah “legitimate.” And this bigot had the audacity to file three human rights complaints against Maclean’s magazine for publishing an essay by Mark Steyn warning about radical Islam. That led to a five-day trial in B.C.

This is called lawfare. Muslim extremists who enjoy Canada’s free speech for themselves, seek to take it away from their Canadian critics. Using our own laws.

By one measure, Soharwardy and Elmasry failed: Their cases were dismissed. But they actually won. Because for Maclean’s and me, the process was the punishment. I spent about $100,000 in legal bills. Maclean’s spent many times that. And every other media company was sent the message: Don’t you dare talk about radical Islam, or you’ll face a nuisance suit, too.

Khurrum Awan, Elmasry’s “youth president,” later boasted: “We attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.”

This is outrageous. And for years I campaigned to reform our laws. In 2009, I wrote Shakedown, selected by the Writers’ Trust as the best political book of the last 25 years. Because Canadians were truly shocked to learn about our eroding freedoms.

I led a grassroots campaign to have censorship laws repealed and kangaroo courts reined in. In 2011, Saskatchewan eliminated its human rights tribunal. Alberta’s premier promised she would repeal her province’s “hate speech” law. This summer, Ottawa repealed theirs.

But it’s not over. Today in a Toronto court, Khurrum Awan is suing me for critical comments I wrote at the Maclean’s hearing in 2008. I said nothing that hadn’t been said by many critics across the political spectrum, who universally condemned the nuisance suit. But the rest of the media soon dropped the free speech cause. I turned it into an ongoing campaign. So time to apply the “strategic objective” to me.

Awan’s lawyer is Brian Shiller. Along with his partner, Clayton Ruby, the two are famous in Toronto for filing lawsuits against Mayor Rob Ford. Those suits have all been thrown out. Shiller is the lawyer for four other lawsuits pending against me, too.

I’ll save my comments on the specifics of the lawsuits for the court. But it’s not about specifics. It’s about silencing political opponents.

The lawsuit was filed before I joined QMI Agency. I don’t have a financial benefactor like Awan does. So please visit my website StandWithEzra.ca to learn how you can help me fight for freedom.

This columm was written for Sun News October 14 2013.

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