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Sunday, April 27

Is the Muslim Brotherhood behind the Section 13 complaints against Maclean's and Rogers Publishing?

Is the Section 13 complaint filed with the CHRC by Mohamed Elmasry against Rogers Publishing Ltd. et al. an operation designed and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood?

Did the Brotherhood use four students at Osgoode Hall, York University as 'frontmen' to approach Maclean's with demands and prepare Section 13 complaints against Maclean's and its parent company, Rogers Publishing, Ltd.?

The students -- Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan, Muneeza Sheikh and Daniel Simard -- were probably members of the Muslim Students Association at York. All the Muslim Students Associations in North America are set up and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you want an idea of the way things work at the York University MSA, this 2003 article will get you in the ballpark.

Is every member of the MSA a member of the Brotherhood? I'd assume the answer is no, but in the case of the 'Osgoode 4' university students, they are also members of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), which Elmasry heads, and which has been accused of ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. The accuser is Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi. Here is an excerpt from his 2004 retort to charges by Mohammed Elmasry:
Interestingly enough, Elmasry's organization [CIC] is resorting to defamation against me in the same exact way it is resorting to defamation against Irshad Manji. [...] Our condemnation of Wahhabi extremism, our condemnation of terrorism and our friendly attitude toward Israel is enough for Dr. Elmasry and for other similar extremists to slander us and to forge against us the most absurd claims:

"In response to Palazzi's continuing allegations, CIC national president Dr. Mohamed Elmasry stated categorically that 'the CIC absolutely has never been, and never will be, affiliated with or controlled by any group or organization outside Canada.'"

If so, let Dr. Elmasry try to prove -- if he can -- that the CIC has absolutely no relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, with CAIR-Canada, with CAIR-U.S., or with ISNA. Let him also show -- if he can -- that in the United States, no member of CAIR or of ISNA is under investigation for its involvement in terrorism. Moreover, if there exist a document in which CIC has peradventure condemned Hamas and its strategy of suicide bombing, Dr. Elmasry is kindly requested to show it. [...]
Sheikh Palazzi's name pops up again -- in a paper titled Maclean's Magazine: A Case Study of Media Propagated Islamophobia, written by the Osgoode 4.

I'm unable to ascertain when the paper became publicly available, but my guess is that it was published to coincide with the CIC press release on December 4, 2007 to announce the Section 13 complaints filed against Maclean's et al.

Page 50 of the paper (in the appendix) carries an edited excerpt from a June 2006 interview with a terrorism expert, David Harris, which Maclean's published. Watch carefully, don't blink:
[...] [Q] "In your opinion, how radicalized is the Canadian Muslim population? What kind of numbers are we up against?

[A] Well, of course, it's impossible to assess -- there is no poll measuring the support for Wahhabism amongst our communities. But one can look at some of the statements by genuinely moderate clerics concerning the situation in North America. Imam Palazzi has claimed that 80 per cent of mosques in Canada are under the influence of radicals, though he does not by any means appear to suggest that 80 per cent of Canadian Muslims are themselves radical.

[Q] Who is Imam Palazzi?

[A] He's an Italian imam and he comes to Canada every now and then...

[Q] So do you trust Palazzi's assessment? Why would he have a sense of things in Canada?

[A] ... But it's a genuine question. And I guess a larger, related question is on what are they basing that assessment. [...]"
The ellipses in brackets are mine. But notice the ellipses that are not bracketed. The Osgoode 4 omitted a key piece of information from the interview. Here is what David Harris actually said in response to the following question:
"[Q] So do you trust Palazzi's assessment? Why would he have a sense of things in Canada?

[A] Well, he seems to take quite an interest in the country and has played a leading role in trying to bring about substantive reconciliation rather than the cosmetic variety the Wahhabist-oriented national Islamic organizations propagate. But it's a genuine question. And I guess a larger, related question is on what are they basing that assessment. [...]
Mohamed Elmasry tried to discredit Palazzi's qualifications to speak as an authority on Islam -- an attempt that Palazzi shredded in his 2004 reply to Elmasry.

Palazzi is a well-qualified cleric. Yet when you hear him talk about Islam, it's easy to suffer cognitive dissonance if you're steeped in Wahhabist interpretations of the religion. Is he really talking about Islam? Yes he is, and he'd also say that he's not a "moderate" Muslim, that he's simply the real deal, and that the Muslim Brotherhood and their fellow travelers are spewing dangerous nonsense about Islam.

Palazzi's view of Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood's worst nightmare. See his Directory of Death to understand why the Brotherhood would never ever invite him to one of their backyard barbeques.

But it is the terrorism expert's quote of Palazzi's claim that "80 per cent of mosques in Canada are under the influence of radicals" that would have set off alarms among Brotherhood strategists.

So I think it's a safe assumption that Rogers Publishing, Ltd. went onto the Muslim Brotherhood's list the day that Maclean's published the interview with Harris.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the Brotherhood organized the attack on Rogers via Section 13 complaints, but it raises a flag. The Section 13 law would provide the Brotherhood with the perfect backdoor approach to getting control of Canadian news reporting on Muslim terrorism.

What is crystal clear from a reading of the Osgoode 4's paper is that is intended to be used as 'evidence' in any Section 13 hearings on Elmasry's Section complaint against Maclean's et al. And Maclean's is not the only target publication, which is why Elmasry's CHRC filing named Rogers Publishing as a respondent and not the magazine. The target is also the French language version of Maclean's published by Rogers, as well as any other Rogers publication that delivers hard news, and all the companion websites.

Can M-446 save Rogers Publishing from a ruling in Elmasry's favor? I don't see how. The bill that would need to evolve from M-446, and its enactment, would be coming too late. The first Section 13 tribunal to hear Elmasry's complaint convenes on June 2, in British Columbia.

Even if the bill passes and even if it completely strikes down Section 13 -- the latter very unlikely at this stage -- there could be years of legal wrangling to get all the Section 13 decisions overturned.

And even if Rogers fights a tribunal(s) decision all the way to the Supreme Court and wins, there would be years that all Rogers publications and webites would be forced to 'go dark' on reporting about Muslim terrorism.

With great understatement, a human rights tribunal ruling against Maclean's and/or Rogers would have a chilling effect on all other Canadian news outlets.
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