Friday, February 29

John Batchelor on Barack Obama

Batchelor has started a blog called the John Batchelor Sunday Show, which is good news because he hasn't kept up the website for the 'old' John Batchelor Show.

For those (including Pundita) who have been otherwise occupied these past few weeks, you'll learn at the blog that Batchelor has been doing investigative reporting on the connections between Antoin Rezko and Barack Obama, and between Rezko and a cast of characters straight out of Baghdad Bob's playbook.

This has brought forth accusations from Democrat quarters that Batchelor is a right wing nut doing a hit job on Obama. This clues me that the accusers -- the sincere ones -- have not been closely following Batchelor's show for years. Else they'd know that Batchelor only deals with open source intelligence reports but that often he sits on a great deal of intel that's highly sensitive, shall we term it.

This is by way of indicating that if Batchelor is talking about Rezko and his Baghdad buddies, he is not functioning as a political operative; he's functioning as a war reporter and probably in touch with several sources working the same story.

Batchelor's close attention to the Rezko angle suggests there is more to the story than is publicly available -- at this time.(2) More may come out, if sources sitting on sensitive intel give him the green light. What's certain at this point is that he considers the story serious enough to warrant his audience's close attention.

Today Batchelor announced on the blog that this Sunday he'll be interviewing a "Baghdad guest" about:
Antoin "Tony" Rezko and his association with a Chicago resident and classmate, Aihman Alsammarae, who in 2004 and 2005 was the Minister of Electricity for the CPA in Iraq. I am focused on how the unusual and unfinished Alsammarae story relates to the Chicago and Illinois political history of recent years and also connects to Senator Obama, both as a state senator and a U.S. Senator.(1)
I need to block out time to study all the data that Batchelor's made available or linked to before I comment on the situation. I note that Greg Sargent slammed Batchelor's report for Fox news, but because the comment section at Sargent's blog is "undergoing repair," this meant Batchelor couldn't reply in the comment section to Sargent's criticism.

From Batchelor's comment on his blog, clearly he gave an exhaustive reply to Sargent in an email, which neither he nor Sargent have published on their blogs as of this moment. Batchelor only stated on his blog that:
I replied to Greg Sargent in time with a lengthy explanation of the sources and links necessary to conclude that the Ayers-Obama relationship was not casual, not insignificant, not unthoughtful.
I wrote Batchelor to request that given the importance of the situation he publish his full reply to Sargent. He wrote back that he would do this, but as of this moment the post is not up.

(9:45 PM Update: The link to his reply to Sargent is now posted.)

At first glance the Ayers angle seems a sideshow. But Obama's relationship with William C. Ayers, a confessed domestic terrorist bomber who escaped US prison on a technicality, intersects significantly with their work for the Woods Fund. The fund is a Chicago-based nonprofit on which Obama served as a paid director alongside Ayers.

According to a Feb 25 report filed by Aaron Klein, the fund provided $75,000 in grants to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, "a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a 'catastrophe' "

Klein also reports that:
Obama's 1999 fundraising for the Palestinian Deheisha camp raised the eyebrows of one senior Israeli security official who was contacted yesterday for comment on the issue.

The official, who was not aware of Obama's fundraising, noted Deheisha, which is located near the city of Bethlehem, had a "very active" Palestinian terror apparatus in 1999, carrying out scores of deadly shootings against Israeli civilians that year. [...]

Two of the most deadly suicide bombings in 2002 also were planned from Deheisha, where the suicide bombers originated, said the security official. On one such bombing, in March of that year, 11 people were killed and over 50 injured, four critically when a Deheisha bomber detonated his explosives next to a group of Jewish women waiting with their baby carriages for their husbands to leave a nearby synagogue.
Also see Klein's February 24 report titled Obama worked with terrorist: Senator helped fund organization that rejects 'racist' Israel's existence.(3)

1) I don't know which of the two Sunday night Batchelor radio shows the "Baghdad guest" will be appearing on. The show kicks off at 7:00 PM Eastern Time at New York's WABC-77 AM radio. Then the show rolls over to KFI-640 AM in Los Angeles (10:00 PM Eastern Time). Both shows are available online via the radio website. The KFI show is also available, within a day or so of the broadcast, as a podcast.

2) From Batchelor's Feb 25 report for Human Events:
[...] Antoin "Tony" Rezko is the primary history to investigate for Mr. Obama's political profile. According to Mr. Obama, Mr. Rezko contacted the young law student when he was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 and offered him employment in Chicago. Mr. Rezko, a Syrian-born U.S. citizen described by the Chicago press as a "fixer," is now in federal detention in Chicago and about to go on trial on March 3 for purloining up to $6 million from the people of Illinois with various kickback schemes while he was working for the present Democratic Governor, Rod Blagojevich. Mr. Rezko's involvement with the rapid rise of the political career of Mr. Obama long predates his work for the governor and remains largely unexamined. [...]
3) The Washington Post's Election 2008 blog reported on Feb 26 that on Feb 24, in Cleveland, OH, Barack Obama spoke with 100 members of the Jewish community, in the effort to assure them that he's fair-minded about Israel.

For the most detailed analysis to date of Obama's views on Israel, see Ed Lasky's Jan 16 Barack Obama and Israel at American Thinker.

Wednesday, February 27

Islamic Banking: $300 billion scam

"Hi Miss P:
You blogged on the RUSI [Royal United Services Institute]
report but I did not see a link to the actual report; in case you did not here is the PDF. Fascinating reading.
Mark Safranski"

Dear Mark:
Thank you for sending the RUSI link; I was terribly rushed with all the Canada Section 13 issues and so I just hurled the gist of the report findings into a post. I will find time to read the entire report but I don't need to read it to know it came years too late.

Bottom line is that Britain is going to survive this era of globalization by becoming the world's major center for Islamic banking and business deals. The price tag is the philosophical and moral linchpins of their culture. End of story.
February 17, The Mail -- A new sharia law controversy erupted last night over Government plans to issue special "Islamic bonds" to pay for Gordon Brown's public-spending programme by raising money from the Middle East. Britain is to become the first Western nation to issue bonds approved by Muslim clerics in line with sharia law, which bans conventional loans involving interest payments as "sinful". [...]
(H/T Free Mark Steyn!)

The Mail article is also fascinating. Does anyone in Britain realize how easy it is for the "Islamic authenticity" of these bonds to be challenged sometime downstream? [The challenge] won't have to make sense or even prevail -- just kicking up a theological s-storm will deal out financial pain to bondholders.

I'm going to have to find out more about this -- thank you Miss P.!"

Yes, Mark, the British government's intention to support Islamic bonds is a very serious development. I blogged on it earlier; I linked to a speech that Gordon Brown gave a couple years ago.

I dusted off the speech to explain what I believe is the true reason for the Archbishop of Canterbury's willingness to accept elements of Sharia for Britain -- and his eagerness to quash free speech. Brown's speech underscores that Britain's involvement in Islamic financial instruments did not arise overnight.

Once you read Brown's speech you can understand why I termed the archbishop's recent pronouncements "the Rise of Mordor." I invoked Mordor because it struck me as a good metaphor for the rise of a particularly venal form of neo-mercantilism that's set to overtake many national governments.

(Later it occurred to me that readers might assume I was demonizing Islam or Rowan Williams, which is why I dropped the Mordor reference until I could clarify it, but I was quickly overwhelmed again by the Section 13 situation.)

In addition to the severe downside you observe about Islamic bonds, the situation is giving a huge boost in authority to Muslim religious preceptors with terrorist connections who 'halal' banking and financial instruments -- not to mention lining their pockets.

You'll be interested in the following critique of halal banking/mortages by the Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC), which contains much information and cites highly informed critiques of the halal financial instruments/banking.

Islamic Banking -- a $300 Billion Deception is the book to read if you want to do an in-depth investigation; if a ZenPundit essay results, it would be a great help and I'll certainly link to it.

From the MCC article you can see that Muslims who are not part of the scam are its biggest victims. It's the same story for Muslims who went to the UK looking for relief from societies that had fallen to Saudification; now they're finding themselves facing the Saudification of British society.

I should add that India recognizes Sharia courts and that this predates the Saudification of Islam. So multiculturalism policy is not just a Western problem; India has paid a very high price for its way of managing the nation's highly diverse ethno-religious population.
January 29, 2008
So-called Sharia Mortgages are a Deception
MCC asks CMHC to drop $100,000 study to introduce Islamic banking in Canada

TORONTO - The Muslim Canadian Congress (MCC) has asked the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to abandon its $100,000 study to introduce so-called Islamic Banking in Canada, saying there should be no room in Canada for Saudi inspired Islamist political doctrines dressed up as innocuous religious requirements.In a letter to Karen Kinsley, Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress Farzana Hassan said, "Islamic Banking is nothing more than an attempt by Islamists, with backing from Middle Eastern Financial Institutions and their Western partners, to scare Muslim Canadians into believing that they should pay more to the banks and demand less in return as an act of religiosity. "

"Sharia Banking is an obscene attempt to fleece an already marginalized Muslim community while promising them the exact opposite. On the one hand Imams are warning Muslims of hellfire if they deal with the existing banking systems, and on the other the same clerics are being paid by banks to herd Muslims towards a system that is based on lies and deception.

What we need is a better deal from the banks for all Canadians, rather than dividing us up into religious groups and pacing obstacles in the way of better integration of all Canadians. Our banking system has developed in Canada over the last 200 years, and there is no need to adapt it to the failed economies and medieval systems modeled on Saudi Arabia and Iran," added Ms. Hassan.

In the letter, Ms Hassan said it was unfortunate that some Canadian Banks are succumbing to the lure of easy money that comes from supposed interest-free banking where customers receive zero interest on their deposits while paying more to the banks.

"While the banks and their paid Imams and sheiks will make handsome returns, Muslim Canadians will end up as losers, with promises of rewards in the afterlife," she wrote. "Religion has no place in the banking or mortgage industry and banks should desist from employing imams or sheikhs who sanctify so called Islamic bank products and mortgages. We are not living in the middle ages to get our financial cues from clerics claiming guidance from the divine," she added.

Explaining the deceptive workings of interest-free Sharia banking, as practised by Saudi and other Islamic banks, Ms Hassan said: "Muslim bankers and their hired clerics claim they indulge in interest-free banking, but in reality they hide this interest.

So-called Islamic banking institutions claim they operate on "zero interest." However, the fundamental characteristic of charging interest is never truly eliminated in Islamic banking, but rather is hidden.

The MCC president referred the CMHC president to Muhammad Saleem, a former president and CEO of Park Avenue Bank in New York, who has written a book, Islamic Banking — A $300 Billion Deception.

Mr. Saleem, who was a senior banker with Bankers Trust where, among other responsibilities, he headed the Middle East division and served as adviser to a prominent Islamic bank based in Bahrain, dismisses the founding premise of Islamic banking, saying, "Islamic banks do not practise what they preach: they all charge interest, but disguised in Islamic garb. Thus they engage in deceptive and dishonest banking practises." [...]

Even a cursory look at the names, affiliations and views of popular shari’a scholars, such as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, Sheikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Sheikh Mohamed Ali Elgari, Faysal Mawlawi, Sheikh Nizam Yaquby, Suleyman al-Maniya and others , many of whom sit on the shari’a advisory boards of dozens of Islamic banks and get paid princely sums from each, would make it clear that most are hard line Islamists and, in at least some cases, open supporters of terrorism. [...]
Read the rest of the MCC article here.

Monday, February 25

Marc Lemire and Pundita continue their discussion of Section 13 issues

Police, forensic experts and Crown prosecutors were so confident -- so smug -- that they built their case backwards, manipulating and creating evidence to prove the guilt of a suspect who could not possibly be innocent. But he was. Immediately after Morin's exoneration, the then-Deputy Attorney General of the Province of Ontario, speaking on behalf of the Attorney General, issued a statement:

"The minister is deeply committed to maintaining the public's faith in the system, and to ensuring that the ministry takes whatever steps are necessary that such a situation does not reoccur. To accomplish this ... a public airing into the justice system's handling of Mr. Morin's case is required."
There are elements to the administration of Section 13 cases that remind me of the most infamous miscarriage of justice in Canadian history, which is the criminal case against Guy Paul Morin.

Before readers familiar with the Morin case send me an outraged letter, I would ask them to study Marc Lemire's attempt to obtain evidence that would clear him of an accusation by the complainant in a Section 13 case, and the court's rejection of his request for a subpoena. Then they can reference Footnote 5 in this post and start following the links.

The Lemire request does not relate to a matter of national security or a protected witness in a criminal case. So on what grounds are Canada's courts and human rights commissions able to hide behind 'the public interest' to prevent Lemire from bringing forth evidence that suggests a human rights commission manufactured evidence against him?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the basic principle the same in the Morin and Lemire cases? In both cases, isn't there a willful miscarriage of justice? No? Then explain the difference; I'm all ears.

Now that I have that off my chest, this post continues my email discussions with Marc Lemire, which came in the wake of his criticism of comments I made in an earlier Pundita post, and which was our first contact. For background see Marc Lemire gives Pundita a tour of the Section 13 Maze.

Readers who want to learn the details of Marc's case should visit his Freedom Site website.

"Marc, Is it fair to say that probably no Canadian knows more about Section 13 than you?"

"Pundita, I am not a lawyer. I am a computer professional. I have studied the law [relating to Section 13] and read most of the decisions. Made reports on it. Understand and document how the law has been abused. But there are many others far more knowledgeable than myself. Most notably, my courageous lawyer Barbara Kulaszka."

"Marc, I recall it was your lawyer whose line of questioning prompted Dean Stacey [lead investigator for the federal Canada Human Rights Commission - "CHRC"] to state in testimony that he considered freedom of speech to be an American concept.

One of the crucial points you bring out is that it's not just Section 13 that's the problem. I noticed this first while studying the Taylor Supreme Court case. But from your discussion it's obvious that one can't understand how Section 13 works out in practice without also studying Section 40(5)(b) of the Human Rights Act. [1]

So my question is whether Section 40(5)(b) is in clear contradiction to other parts of the Human Rights Act."

"Pundita, Section 40 seems to be written for public interest-type suits. Where for instance a union goes after Bell Canada.[2] The union itself is not a vulnerable group. But they are allowed to proceed.

Section 40 is clearly open to abuse, as people with a political agenda can use that in conjunction with Section 13 to attack and silence people even when the material at issue has nothing to do with the person laying the complaint.

Second to Section 13, the worst section is 27:

The CHRC shall “…try by persuasion, publicity or any other means that it considers appropriate to discourage and reduce discriminatory practices” Section 27(h) - Canadian Human Rights Act.

The CHRC has interpreted this to mean they can do anything they choose. This includes sending threatening letters to ISPs in other countries (that didn't even involve Canadians)! At one point we hear the CHRC has written 200-300 letters to ISPs [in the effort] to have websites shut down.

Section 13 is an oddity in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The rest of the Act covers actual actions or perceived actions, such as refusal to hire or rent. A majority of such cases are mediated, and only a tiny percentage go to a tribunal. And of those most are settled prior to a hearing. Keep in mind the CHRA is only remedial legislation. It is not meant to punish or to assign "moral blame-worthiness".

Contrast that with Section 13 cases. Most such cases are sent to a [human rights] tribunal. Hardly any are mediated. Of the 100 cases I reviewed, I think that over 80% of cases were referred to a tribunal.

Section 13 is being used to punish people. Consider that in my case the material under consideration was removed PRIOR to my learning about the complaint. But five years later [the CHRC still] couldn't care less.

There are quite a few Section 13 cases relating to published material that had not been available on the Internet for years, but the writers were still hauled before a tribunal. The material was gone, thus the case should have ended. Punishment, not 'remedy,' can be the ONLY conclusion drawn about the CHRC actions in such cases."

"Marc, Do you make publicly available the testimony of all the experts you've called as witnesses?"

"Pundita, Yes; all my witnesses' expert reports are online. Dr Donald Downs gave great testimony. He is an expert in freedom of speech and widely published. [3]

I am a young father of two and not well off, so I'd like to point out that the expert witnesses I called testified for little to no money. Unlike the two experts called by the government, who each collected at least $25,000 for their testimony."

"Marc, Are you a neo-Nazi, as Wikipedia describes you? [4] Brief reply, please, that I can fit into a post."

"Pundita, I am a free speech and immigration reform activist, so I have nothing to apologize for. As for the lie of calling me a neo-Nazi, it is a smear tactic used by radical 'speech control / anti-racist' elements.

The CHRC, Richard Warman, the police (after Warman complaints) have poured over every word I have written, since at least 1995. They have not been able to come up with ANYTHING Nazi inspired, etc. Which is why magically [hate message] posts started to appear on a message board I had, which would later form the complaint against me. [5]

Once I alleged what Warman did, the CHRC dropped the Anne Cools hate post [from evidence] and fought desperately for the court not to hear anything about it and to block me from calling any evidence on it.

When I term persons a "thought control censor," I quote things they say to support my claim. For example, Dean Steacy's quote about free speech being an American concept. But notice in the Wikipedia articles that there is not a SINGLE quote to support the claim that I'm a Nazi, fascist, racist, etc.

Actually, I do mention Nazis often on my website -- not in any supportive way, but to correctly label what the CHRC has become.

I even made a spreadsheet with examples to point out where the Nazis and the CHRC are the same. A prime example: both used biased and unfair tribunals where the respondent had NO defence. And 'judges' were appointed for their loyalty for the party or doctrine. In Canada it's called "sensitivity to human rights" and it's a requirement for the tribunal judges.

I have been targeted on Wikipedia since I started bringing out my defence at the [human rights] tribunal. My defence is devastating and targets the evidence, the CHRC, the law itself and even the complainant. I allege the complainant [Richard Warman] has posted a highly inflammatory entry on my message board [in the effort to manufacture evidence] that forms part of the case against me.

I have had to get the owner of Wikipedia to intervene numerous times and wipe out what was written but those intent on using Wikipedia to anonymously defame people slither back within a few days.

Just look at the History tab. (Jimbo Wales is a founder of Wiki.)"

1) Section 40(1) of the Human Rights Act:

"Subject to subsections (5) and (7), any individual or group of individuals having reasonable grounds for believing that a person is engaging or has engaged in a discriminatory practice may file with the Commission a complaint in a form acceptable to the Commission."

40(5)(b) "No complaint in relation to a discriminatory practice may be dealt with by the Commission under this Part unless the act or omission that constitutes the practice [...] occurred in Canada and was a discriminatory practice within the meaning of section 8, 10, 12 or 13 in respect of which no particular individual is identifiable as the victim."

2) Bell Canada is Canada's largest telephone and telecommunications company.

3) The link I provided is to Wikipedia. Because some Wikipedia articles have been edited by opponents of Marc Lemire, I'm taking the cautionary step of publishing the entire Wikipedia article on Donald Downs, as I found it on today's date:
Donald Downs is an American political science professor and known for his work on the First Amendment.Downs has political science degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of California - Berkeley. He has taught at the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame and currently teaches political science and legal studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Downs has written many scholary articles and books on the First Amendment and various legally themed books.Downs is a co-founder of the academic freedom centered group, CAFAR. The group's mission is to protect and advance academic freedom rights on campus and beyond. Key Scholarly Works:

Nazis in Skokie: Freedom, Community and the First Amendment
The New Politics of Pornography
More than Victims: Battered Women, the Syndrome Society, and the Law
Cornell `69: Liberalism and the Crisis of the American University
Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus"
4) From Wikipedia article on Matthew Lauder: "Matthew Lauder is currently the subject of a lawsuit brought by neo-Nazi leader Marc Lemire against himself and the Guelph Multicultural Center for alleged factual inaccuracies in his report."

5) See Freedom Site for documentation. Also, for a quick introduction to this part of the case see the PDF that Ezra Levant has made available concerning the Lemire transcript Vol. 4, Page 769, in which Richard Warman admits that on November 15, 2003 he logged onto the Freedom Site message board as "Lucy," which occurred while he was in the employ of the (federal) Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Lemire has also presented evidence that a hate message against Canadian Senator Anne Cools published on September 5, 2003 on his website under the screen name '90sAREover' came from the same computer as the one used by the Lucy poster.

Thursday, February 21

Marc Lemire gives Pundita a tour of the Section 13 Maze

My Jurassic Park post sparked two great responses, both from highly informed readers. The first was from Canadian journalist Deborah Gyapong, which she published on her blog under the title Keith Martin's motion not enough. Scroll past the quotes she provides to my post to arrive at her points, which contain an excellent suggestion about forming a commission to study Section 13.

The second response came from Canadian Marc Lemire, who wrote to refute the numbered points I listed in the Jurassic Park post. Lemire's rebuttal is based on the 'real-world' experience of someone who tries to fall back on the law as a defense in a Section 13 case. That's when you learn about the trap doors and dead ends in the law, and realize you've entered a maze from which there is no exit other than accepting state-inflicted punishment.

Lemire is the "... only person to constitutionally challenge the 'new' version of section 13, which came into effect in 2002 under the anti-terrorism act." A copy of his brief is posted to his Freedomsite website.

To date Lemire has gone through "25 hearing days, spanning 3 cities, and has called 3 experts and 4 fact witnesses. Spanning 5 years of litigation. And the case is far from over. Still more witnesses and then 3 days of closing arguments. A decision in 2009 or 2010."

Lemire's rebuttal was unable to budge me from the points I enumerated in the Jurassic Park post. That's because I contend that in effect I'm correct -- although I should exclude #6, which is not so much a point as Pundita being sarcastic.

For example, Lemire states that a person who is not in a protected group can file a Section 13. That's true but the complaint has to relate to an allegation of hatred directed against a protected group. In other words, everyone has legal sanction to act as a vigilante for the Human Rights Act.

I could argue on in this nit-picking fashion but it's more important at this stage to give the floor to Marc Lemire. Canadians who are contemplating a "patch" to Section 13; i.e., some way to amend it, will realize after reading Lemire's letter that there can be no compromise. The section has to be removed.

The second installment of this post (which will be published on Monday) will feature email exchanges with Lemire after I received his first letter. I ask him questions including, "Are you a neo-Nazi?" and he details more of the Section 13 maze and its devastating effect on those trapped inside.

I was reading your recent post about the Canadian Human Rights Act, where you claim Keith Martin is wrong [to assert that one can file a Section 13 on the basis of being "offended" by speech]. In fact you are wrong. [My points shown in boldface.]

I've already covered this ground in earlier posts but to review, in order for the HRC to investigate a Section 13 complaint:

1) You must be a member of a group considered vulnerable or 'protected' by the Human Rights Act.

Under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, you do NOT need to be a member of any affected group. Just look at Richard Warman, who has filed close to 50% of all Section 13 cases, and he has testified that he is a white Anglo. He is not a member of any “vulnerable” or “protected” groups. In the ruling by the CHRC [Canadian Human Rights Commission] in my own case, they ruled on April 15, 2005 the following:

[35] Marc Lemire objects to the complaint because he believes that Richard Warman filed in bad faith and that he is not a victim of the alleged discrimination. However, section 40 (5)(b) of the Canadian Human rights Act does not require that the complainant be the intended target of the alleged discrimination for section 13 complaints.

[36] … section 40(5)(b) of the Canadian Human Rights Act does not require that the complainant be the intended target of the alleged discrimination for section 13 complaints.

See the attached investigators report in PDF format to read it yourself.[*]

2) You must claim or clearly imply that you believe that a public message(s) exposes you to the likelihood of hatred and contempt.

Again the Canadian Human Rights Act does NOT require you to prove that any messages expose anyone to the “likelihood” of hatred or contempt. The mere fact it is on the internet, the CHRC has interpreted that to mean it is “repeated” and therefore NO evidence is required to prove it actually did cause any hatred or contempt. Read the Winnicki or Kouba decisions.

4) The words "hatred and contempt" have a precise and profound meaning in the HRC and Human Rights Act lexicon. The meaning, which has nothing to do with the sense of being offended, has been upheld all the way up to Canada's Supreme Court.

This was true perhaps 20 years ago. The Tribunal has now twisted that definition to be the “hallmarks of hate”. These “hallmarks” include such things as “quoting true news stories, etc.,” as Mark Steyn has commented.

See the Tribunal's ruling in Kouba and Beaumont, which talk about these new “hallmarks of hate.”

5) The words "hatred and contempt," when used in the context of Section 13, indicate that the person who meets the criteria for making a Section complaint is particularly vulnerable to psychological trauma due to fear of being exposed to hatred and contempt.

This is not true also. Read the Winnicki decision. In that ruling by the Tribunal, where they rule that Warman gets into arguments with people like Winnicki. He is the complainant, and he never once claimed to be personally vulnerable to hatred or contempt.

In my own case, I challenged the claim that hatred or contempt cause any trauma. See the transcripts of my case online at In the modern age, words on the internet do not cause any trauma, and there is no cause-effect studies that can prove this. It's all novel science that has NEVER been proven.

6) If you are not in a vulnerable group, you are expected to live with whatever mental trauma you experience, if you find yourself the object of "likely" hatred and contempt due to a particular public message.

This is perhaps your opinion, but has never been ruled in any Tribunal hearing… EVER. And it certainly cannot be claimed that Section 13 has anything to do with that.

7) If you are in a vulnerable group and find yourself such an object, then under law you are a special case, and so you have a right to file a Section 13 complaint. Moreover, if you can present reasonable grounds for your fear, you are virtually guaranteed of a HRC Section 13 tribunal finding in your favor.

You need not prove you are in a “vulnerable group” to get a finding in your favour. Every single case has been favorable in the complainant's favour -- EVERY SINGLE ONE, since the 1970s. See the spreadsheet I have on my website, which shows that no case on its merits has EVER been ruled in the respondent's favor.

You go on to mention the Cohen [Commission] report. During my CHRC hearing I directly challenged the Cohen report [by providing] a serious expert witness. (Unlike the one Cohen relied on, who was a junior professor with little to no actual experiments to make the claims he did.)

See the attached CV and report by expert Dr. Michael Persinger, a neuroscientist from Laurentian University. This should open your eyes to the alleged claims in the Cohen report.

Marc Lemire "

* The files Lemire mentions are at his site; they are available there in PDF.

Tuesday, February 19

Pundita leads The Honorable Keith Martin on a tour of Jurassic Park to illustrate where he's wrong about Section 13

The Honorable Keith Martin: Say, this is a beautiful room! Odd; it looks familiar. It reminds me of the dining hall in Jurassic Park. Look! There's even the banquet table, just like in the movie. There's even the bowl of green Jell-O! As I was saying, it's great than an American has taken such an interest but I think your concerns are overblown. All right; I might have misstated a bit about the meaning of Section 13 but I really think the issue is about freedom of speech. And look at the tremendous support we're receiving for M-446, and it's across party -- [grabbing Pundita's arm] Look at the Jell-0! Why is it shaking? [THOOM] What the -- [THOOM] Pundita, what is that sound?

Pundita: The Cohen Commission. We'd better hide in the kitchen and hope it hasn't figured out yet how to turn a door handle.
* * * * * * *

On Saturday I experienced something close to physical shock when I clicked on a link at Steyn Online that took me to a Feb 8 statement by Keith Martin:
"... a poorly crafted section, 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, has enabled the commissions to move into an entirely different area – investigating, prosecuting and fining people who communicate anything that someone else takes offence to. In other words, if an individual feels offended by what somebody has written, they can go to the commission, lodge a complaint and the commission's lawyers will investigate ..."
Mr Martin is wrong. And unless he rights his understanding of the meaning of Section 13, his Private Member's Motion M-446 is like a lamb to the slaughter.

No, you cannot prompt a human rights commission investigation under Section 13 by claiming or implying that you are offended by a particular public message(s). Of course you can file such a claim but it'll be rejected by the HRC.

I've already covered this ground in earlier posts but to review, in order for the HRC to investigate a Section 13 complaint:

1) You must be a member of a group considered vulnerable or 'protected' by the Human Rights Act.

2) You must claim or clearly imply that you believe that a public message(s) exposes you to the likelihood of hatred and contempt.

3) You must claim or clearly imply that you have reasonable grounds for the belief expressed in (2) above.

4) The words "hatred and contempt" have a precise and profound meaning in the HRC and Human Rights Act lexicon. The meaning, which has nothing to do with the sense of being offended, has been upheld all the way up to Canada's Supreme Court.

5) The words "hatred and contempt," when used in the context of Section 13, indicate that the person who meets the criteria for making a Section complaint is particularly vulnerable to psychological trauma due to fear of being exposed to hatred and contempt.

If readers who have followed my earlier discussions of Section 13 exclaim, 'You never told us that last part!' -- recall that I asked you to study the Supreme Court decision on John Ross Taylor and the Western Guard Party v. the CHRC et al. I stressed that everything one needs to know about Section 13 was written in the opinions of the Supreme Court justices in that case. Now where was I?

6) If you are not in a vulnerable group, you are expected to live with whatever mental trauma you experience, if you find yourself the object of "likely" hatred and contempt due to a particular public message.

7) If you are in a vulnerable group and find yourself such an object, then under law you are a special case, and so you have a right to file a Section 13 complaint. Moreover, if you can present reasonable grounds for your fear, you are virtually guaranteed of a HRC Section 13 tribunal finding in your favor.

If you tell me that's crazy -- well, it's just old. The thinking behind Section 13 is a product of an earlier era in which the research findings of psychologists were deified in government circles, both in Canada and the United States. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, if a psychologist was commissioned for a government study and announced a finding that the moon was made of green cheese, officials agreed it must be so.

To understand the connection between that era and the reasoning behind Section 13, here is a passage in the Supreme Court discussion of the Taylor case:
Parliament's concern that the dissemination of hate propaganda is antithetical to the general aim of the Canadian Human Rights Act is not misplaced. The serious harm caused by messages of hatred was identified by the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada, commonly known as the Cohen Committee, in 1966.

The Cohen Committee noted that individuals subjected to racial or religious hatred may suffer substantial psychological distress, the damaging consequences including a loss of self-esteem, feelings of anger and outrage and strong pressure to renounce cultural differences that mark them as distinct.

This intensely painful reaction undoubtedly detracts from an individual's ability to, in the words of s. 2 of the Act, "make for himself or herself the life that he or she is able and wishes to have".
Now do you see that the inclusion of phrases such as 'The respondent's speech robs me of my feelings of dignity and self worth' in Section 13 cases is not incidental, and has nothing to do with a person being merely offended?

Such phrases have particular and profound meaning in the context of the Cohen Commission findings, and lawyers for the complainants know this when they prepare the wording for a Section 13 complaint.

Forty years out from the findings of the Cohen Commission, psychology research has progressed. Today, it's commonly known that anyone, in any kind of position where he feels very vulnerable, may experience debilitating and even life-threatening psychological trauma due to fear of being exposed to hatred and contempt.

Consider the female teenager who becomes anorexic at the fear she will be singled out for hatred and contempt because she's overweight. Consider boys into Gothic lifestyle who bring guns to school because they fear classmates are laughing at them behind their back.

And consider people who have been subjected to physical or emotional abuse during childhood, and who need to be medicated in adulthood to deal with their paranoia that they're singled out for hatred and contempt by their coworkers.

The list of mental trauma victims in this era goes on and on.

So in light of what we know today, the move to apply the Cohen Commission findings about psychological trauma to Section 13 sounds bigoted. It comes close to implying that certain religious affiliations or racial makeup are a genetic handicap. This is because Section 13 only applies to certain persons.

Of course visible minorities, and people who belong to a certain religion, do not possess a gene that makes them more vulnerable to fear of hatred and contempt than any other person who feels discriminated against by the mere fact of his appearance, manner, habits, or existence.

It's been argued that modern psychology is simply tracking a pandemic of insecurity that has arisen during the past half century because of the way children are schooled in the public education system. If I recall, the argument is that the very low ratio of adult authority to children in public schools, when coupled with little adult influence on the child outside school, has created great insecurity in children, which translates into widespread instances of psychological trauma in a broad range of adults.

I'm not qualified to present informed opinion on the argument; I mention it to underscore that there is widespread insecurity today, or at least the phenomenon is better tracked today than it was more than 40 years ago.

In any event, the issue of a history of violence against certain races or religions must not be taken out of context to the larger issue of psychological trauma, which can affect people no matter their race, gender, religion or ethnic makeup.

Violence against particular groups is not enough of a rationale to justify applying the Cohen Commission findings to a law that strips the accused in Section 13 cases of several rights under the Constitution and greatly threatens democracy.

I believe that is a key argument that must be made by Keith Martin and all other Canadians who support M-446. Don't assume that those who will practically die to defend keeping Section 13 will instantly nod their heads in agreement with the argument. It's going to be a tough slog. The Cohen Commission findings on psychological trauma were given so much weight because they supported Canada's official policy of multiculturalism.

Clearly, multiculturalism policy expanded beyond a defensible mandate when Section 13 gave government sweeping power to suspend laws crucial to democracy -- laws such as the presumption of innocence.

The task is to demonstrate that you cannot hold onto democracy if you base your concept of social harmony on averting psychological trauma.

I suspect that the recent flood of articles in Canada about the need to defend free speech has lulled some supporters of M-446 into believing that getting rid of Section 13 will be a walk in the park. It's a walk in the park, all right -- Jurassic Park.

There are parallels between the Section 13 issue and Jurassic Park. One is an experiment in social engineering devised by shortsighted people; the other is an experiment in DNA engineering devised by shortsighted people. Both experiments met with awful consequences; it's just that it's taking longer for the implications of Section 13 to play out.

There is indeed a push to criminalize "offensive" speech, which is not big in Canada at this time although it's wafting to North America via Europe. It's the product of this era's version of social engineers run amok. But set aside that issue for now because it's red herring if you want to understand Section 13.

There is dissenting judicial opinion in the Taylor Supreme Court case, and the only hope of getting rid of Section 13 -- as against applying a patch to the wording that removes the very worst affronts to liberty -- rests on legislators understanding the opinion and expanding on it.

There a good arguments against Section 13 but "Canadians have a right to free speech" ain't one of them, not unless you first tackle the issues that originally justified Section 13.

This is not to say that public outrage over the free speech issue has no use. But I have observed before that the Section 13 issue has many parts. If you think you can defeat Section 13 simply by getting a majority to agree that free speech is a good thing, you're overlooking an old angle that underpins that section of the Human Rights Act.

I will close with the immortal words of Alan Grant: "Mr Hammond, I've decided not to endorse your park."

Saturday, February 16

What is this, "We've Noticed Our Western Civilization is in Grave Danger" week?

This writing is in memory of Peter Melin.

Crikey; what's going on? Did Binky spend last weekend airlifting copies of America Alone into Europe? News related to freedom of speech and defense of Western values has snowballed across Europe this past week. This on top of encouraging news out of Canada on the free speech front, which I addressed in my last post. We'll start with the most astonishing news:
February 14 - Britain has become a “soft touch” for home grown terrorists because ministers have failed to tackle immigrant communities that refuse to integrate, warns a report released today.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a body of the country’s leading military and diplomatic figures, says the loss of British values and national identity caused by “flabby and bogus” Government thinking has made the country vulnerable to attack from Islamic extremists. [...] MI5 estimates that there are currently about 2,000 active terror supporters in Britain.

“Misplaced” policies on multiculturalism have failed to “lay down the line” to immigrants, leading to a fragmented society opposed by “implacable” terrorist enemies, the report says.

The stark warning - which comes just days after the Archbishop of Canterbury was plunged into a row over the adoption of sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain - will embarrass the Government.

RUSI, whose patron is the Queen, is one of the most respected and long-established defence research organisations in the world. BEEP BEEP BEEP
What is that sound? BEEP BEEP BEEP. Excuse me while I investigate.... That's odd; it's the Serpentine Jabber Decoder. There's nothing serpentine about the language of the RUSI report so I can't imagine what set it off. I changed the batteries just the other BEEP BEEP BEEP day. Let me go put it in the closet.... Now where were we?
Gordon Brown, who is due to unveil his national security policy next week, has described the [RUSI] think-tank as “leading the debate about homeland security and global terrorism”. [...]

“The UK presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society,” the report says, and is “increasingly divided” on its history, national aims, values and political identity.

“That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate.”

The report places most of the blame for this on a “lack of leadership from the majority, which, in misplaced deference to ‘multiculturalism’, failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism”.

“The country’s lack of self-confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy, within and without.

“We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without.”

The report also accuses ministers of “flabby and bogus strategic thinking” which has led to public money being spent in “perverse ways”.

“All this has contributed to a more severe erosion of the links of confidence and support between the British people, their government and Britain’s security and defence forces, than for many years," it says.
Read more of the report here. (H/T Bookworm Room.)

The amount of unvarnished truth-telling in the RUSI report is astound -- BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. Oh for crying out loud. Let me pass the gizmo over the report; maybe that'll shut it up. Give me a minute to fiddle with the dials and get a readout....

BEEP! Plain English Translation of Royal United Services Institute Report:


Well well well. Come to think of it, Britain's government has been aware for more than a decade that Britain is the terrorist haven capital of the world. And they've known for just as long that British culture has been going down the drain. So why indeed would they choose this moment to wring their hands over well-established facts?

Well, people have been warning Nick Griffin that he needed to make the BNP platform more inclusive and ditch his equivocation about the Holocaust. He dragged his feet. So now the party is not ready for the flood of Britons wanting to join the BNP since news broke a few weeks ago that the British government was paying out welfare to Muslim polygamists, and since the Archbishop of Canterbury's discussion of Sharia

Nick should have gotten the message last year when people of many different ethnic heritages began demanding to join the British Heritage ONLY party. Actually, I think he did expand the platform to allow Jews of European heritage to join.

But there are a lot of people not of British heritage residing in Britain who want to live with British values and don't want to be overrun by immigrants who have no liking for those values.

If the decoder is right, the Queen was just quicker than Nick to see the implications of the news during the past month. To be more precise, maybe she was quicker to realize that unless the Tories, Labor, and Liberals defend British values, it was only a matter of short time before the BNP, or a slightly more moderate spinoff, swept the government from power.

Whatever the motive for the RUSI report, it's now up to government to deliver on the findings. If they drag their feet or only apply a fig leaf, they should realize that sooner or later Griffin is going to expand the BNP platform or get someone in the party to make that step for him.

Once that happens it's bye-bye business as usual in Parliament. Bye-bye British membership in the EU. Curtains for the government's dream of making Britain the world capital of Islamic banking. And all attempts, fair and foul, to quash the BNP will be swept aside by the rising tide of history and a whole lot of furious and very desperate Britons.

We're all adults here, so I shouldn't need to spell out what the rising tide means. However, just to make sure we're on the same page: the BNP is the soul of liberalism next to what's waiting in the wings.

I feel sure that every member of Britain's Parliament, with the possible exception of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has read the May 2007 (London) Times Online report
The British National Party Gains Strength. However, that report was written before a Briton who is not a fascist, not a White Supremacist, not a neo-Nazi, had to flee his ancestral homeland because he dared speak up to defend British values.

I am talking about the blogger known as Lionheart, who had criminal charges leveled against him -- and for what? Because he's just an ordinary bloke who cried that his nation was being methodically destroyed by his government? Because he's not a good writer and rattles on about the situation in Luton?

All right then; perhaps the esteemed Members of Parliament would prefer a more literary rendering of Lionheart's claims about Luton. They can read Kashmir United: A Peek Into a Luton Ghetto. The piece is written by Zarrar Said, who is in serious danger of being labeled Pakistan's Tom Wolfe. Luckily he was only a brief visitor to Britain, so he could describe what he experienced in Luton without fear of landing in a British prison.

Or perhaps the Members would prefer a more abstract summary of the situation, which was eloquently delivered by Mark Steyn, the author of America Alone, and who also resides outside the reach of British criminal law:
... I said a while back that I thought Britain was in danger of turning into Somalia with chip shops, that it’s a country that I think has been hollowed out by Islamism in many ways.

What is particularly tragic about Britain is it’s a country that didn’t fall for any of the other great evils of the 20th Century, for fascism or communism. It’s a country that has probably contributed more in terms of its ideas to civilization in the world. That’s why there are over fifty English speaking countries; that is why English common law can be found all over the world; English ideas, Westminster parliamentary system. The dominant powers in every corner of the world, the United States, South Africa, Australia, India, descended from Britain. And the death of Britain, the sort of suicide of Britain, is a tragedy to watch.
With Mr Steyn's observations in mind, Members of Parliament should re-read the 2007 Times report on the BNP -- and this time plow through the 360+ letters the Times Online received in response. The Members will note that the first letter simply states:
Im a sikh and I'm voting BNP!
David Singh, Slough, England
And note the letter from Priya:
i am a british sikh who was born here and my uncle fought 4 this country..if nick griffin were to be mp would he send home sikhs..or what about asians who are christians? we havnt done anything wrong!
priya, london, middlesex
Next, study the BNP mission statement and ask yourselves how easy it would be to revise it to address the concerns of Priya and many Brits like her.

To return to astounding developments -- I know that for some time the Danes have been putting up quite a fight to defend their culture but they really came out swinging this past week. Three Danish newspapers republished the famous Mohammed Bomb-in-Turban cartoon, as their answer to the terrorist murder plot by some Muslims against the Dane who created the cartoon.

And Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen launched a volley:
"... the government takes an attack on freedom of expression very seriously. In Denmark there is freedom not only to think and say what you what you want, but also to draw whatever you want. The government will stand guard around the liberty of free speech, which is the very foundation of a free democracy.”
But this is the Danes; the jaw dropper is that a Swedish newspaper published one of the Mohammed cartoons in solidarity with Danish stand on free speech. True, the editor-in-chief, Peter Melin, died the next day at work -- and let's not have any tasteless jokes about black magic being deployed by multicultural officials. Considering this is Sweden we're talking about -- the bastion of bastions of multiculturalism -- it's a miracle the editor was able to publish the cartoons.

To add shock upon shock, in Norway -- another multiculti bastion -- journalists on NRK (the national state-sponsored
television network) have been given official permission to show the Danish Mohammed cartoons as their way of supporting freedom of expression against the forces of terrorism.

Then yesterday -- after The New York Times wasted much copy by treating the Archbishop of Canterbury with kid gloves -- the International Herald Tribune, wholly owned by the NYT but headquartered in Paris, blew the lid off. An op-ed, written Mona Eltahawy, a female Egyptian Muslim journalist raised Saudi Arabia, is the most damning indictment to date of the archbishop's comments about Sharia. Spray fire retardant around your computer before clicking on the IHT link because Eltahawy flames Rowan Williams.

What a week, eh? Say, maybe Feb 11-15 should be internationally celebrated every year as Mark Steyn Week or Peter Melin Week.

Speaking of Steyn, I hope the attorneys for Maclean's magazine are clipping all these articles to produce at the BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing in June. The respondents should arrive at the hearing with a caravan of trucks in tow -- trucks loaded with cartons of news clippings that support statements in Steyn's The Future Belongs to Islam.

They should make a media event out of the unloading of the trucks. That would pound home Kenneth Whyte's point that by publishing Steyn's article, Maclean's was simply bringing the Canadian public up to speed on matters of global import.

Friday, February 15

Canada's finest hour

Free Mark Steyn! and Steyn Online are making a heroic effort to act as a relay station for the flood of news and opinion related to Section 13 but events are outpacing the capacity of the media to keep up.

On Feb 13 Syed Soharwardy announced that he was withdrawing his Section 13 complaint against Ezra Levant. Soharwardy's words present an unequivocal defense of free speech made all the more stirring by his previous stand and continued opposition to Levant's decision to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed:
I believe the decision he took was irresponsible and was intended to stir up strife, but I now appreciate that it may not fall outside the limits of freedom of expression. ... I have come to the view that the filing I made is outside of what I now believe a human rights commission's mandate should be. I now am of the view that this matter should have been handled in the "court of public opinion."
So from the viewpoint of history it makes no matter whether the announcement was merely a strategy, as Levant believes, or meant in all sincerity. On that day, at that hour, Syed Soharwardy struck a blow for freedom that will gather force and resound in the darkest quarters of oppression.

Then, on Feb 14, Deborah Gyapong's stunning news underscored John Batchelor's dictum that in war the first three reports are wrong. Gyapong reported that with few words the Hon. Keith Martin, a Liberal Member of Parliament, dispelled earlier news reports suggesting that his motion to delete Section 13(1) from the Human Rights Act was dead in the water:

"There is enormous support within caucus and across party lines."

On that day, at that hour, Keith Martin revealed the soul of Canada: a great nation dedicated to the principles of democratic freedom.

There is no question that the political struggle to remove Section 13 will be hard. The most determined opposition is extremely powerful because it arises from psychological trauma, not from any political or ethical philosophy.

Some who have suffered trauma after being subjected to dehumanizing acts view Section 13 as the Maginot Line against persecution -- persecution launched for no reason other than a person's membership in a particular group. When one considers that the Maginot Line was useless against Hitler's blitzkrieg the counterargument is painfully clear. Trauma is a weak defense of freedom and a useless bulwark against oppression.

Yet one cannot argue with trauma, for it resides in a fortress of sorrow impervious to the arrows of reason. The best the larger society can do is gather the traumatized in the arms of compassion and understanding and carry them to the shore of greater safety.

For the rest of Canadians, serious debate centers on reconciling the need to protect a nation's most vulnerable groups with the unyielding laws that protect democracy.

Just a few weeks before the Section 13 issue entered public debate a Canadian woman asserted:
Multiculturalism is Canada's gift to the world.
I hope that today the woman would agree that Canada's debate about freedom of speech is the nation's greatest gift to the world.

Wednesday, February 13

More on Archbishop of Canterbury's voter registration drive for the British National Party

(Note to attorneys for Mark Steyn and Maclean's: you can file this one under Mohamed Elmasry's #25 point in BCHRT complaint.)

"Pundita! I've tried three times to read the archbishop's speech but he talks in 100 word sentences. By the time I get to the end of one sentence I'm so confused I have to start reading from the beginning. At this rate I'll never understand the speech, let alone the speech he gave to explain the speech. Please can you provide a CLEAR translation of what he was saying??
Sleepless in St. Louis"

Dear Sleepless:
It's a snap to understand what Rowan Williams was saying once you have my handy Serpentine Jabber Decoder, which I sell for $29.98 plus shipping and handling. If you're too cheap to spring for the decoder you can go to Wikipedia and read up on Britain's Parliament. There is no separation of church and state in Britain. The Archbishop of Canterbury sits in the House of Lords. With that in mind here is a clear translation of the archbishop's Sharia speeches:
13 June 2006
Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, at the Islamic Finance and Trade Conference, London

Assalamu alaykum. Let me start by saying what a pleasure it is to be here this morning at this important and groundbreaking conference, a conference that not only brings together so many distinguished leaders in commerce, business and community life, but sets the important long term ambition - and an ambition that I share with you - to make Britain the gateway to Islamic finance and trade. [...]

[T]he foundation for making Britain the gateway to Islamic trade, is to make Britain the global centre for Islamic finance. [,,,] Today British banks are pioneering Islamic banking - London now has more banks supplying services under Islamic principles than any other Western financial centre.

British professional services firms are leading the way in Islamic business services - with English commercial law now the law of choice. And I want to thank all of you for your innovation and enterprise. And I want to thank also the Muslim Council of Britain and the many of you here who have worked with the Government through our tax and regulatory reform to support the development of Shari’a compliant finance:

> first, three years ago, for mortgages, enabling the expansion of the Islamic mortgage market to over half a billion pounds - growing by almost 50 per cent in the last year alone;

> then last year, for savings and borrowing and providing proper consumer protection for Ijara products;

> this year, for business finance, with last week Parliament approving measures in the Finance Bill for diminishing musharaka and wakala;

> and now, working with us, to look at international finance, Islamic securitisation and sukuk - and I am pleased that London was the financial centre chosen recently to advise on one of the largest sukuk deals ever done. ...
Clear enough? Any more questions on the archbishop's Sharia speeches you can forward them to Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Lloyd's TSB, HSBC, or Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi.

Readers looking for a good deconstruction of Williams's Sharia speech can turn to Melanie Phillips, who attended the speech and asked Williams a key question. Phillips also analyzed the archbishop's attempt to 'clarify' his speech, which he posted on his website under the title What did the Archbishop actually say? Here are central passages from Phillips's analysis:
[...] A statement on [the archbishop's] website attempting to defend himself is disingenuous to the point of being downright misleading in trying to pretend he didn’t say what he actually had said.

It insists, for example, that he did not call for the introduction of Sharia as a parallel jurisdiction to the civil law. But in his lecture, he said in terms that the state should recognise Sharia as a ‘supplementary jurisdiction’, and that individuals should be able to choose which system they wanted. That means two parallel systems with equal status.

Worse still, he actually advocated that English and Islamic law would thus ‘be forced to compete for the loyalty’ of British Muslims -- who were faced with the ‘stark alternatives’ of allegiance to their culture or their country.

Alas, it is indeed the case that, according to Lord Carey, up to fully 60 per cent of British Muslims want to live under Sharia. But is it not astonishing that the head of the Anglican church should effectively suggest as a remedy that, if such Muslims refuse to live under Britain’s own laws, Britain will have to become partly Muslim?

Furthermore, there are many British Muslims who are entirely loyal to Britain and who most certainly do not want the state to recognise Sharia. Just where does the Archbishop’s suggestion leave them?

Puzzlingly, the Archbishop’s ‘clarification’ on his website statement also compounds a significant error by him. To bolster his claim that there was nothing novel about his proposals, Dr Williams said the state already delegated aspects of law to Jewish religious courts.

The statement repeated that there were ‘overlapping jurisdictions’ between English and Jewish law and that British Jews could choose between two systems of justice. But this is totally untrue. Jewish law has no legal authority in Britain, and British Jews have never asked for it.

Jewish religious courts can arbitrate in disputes only on a voluntary basis, and Jews must be married and divorced according to the same law of the land as everyone else. The distinction is crucial.
And here's today's news from Britain about the controversy:
The Archbishop of Canterbury faces renewed pressure today after the Queen was reported to be concerned about his comments on the use of Islamic law in Britain. The Queen was said to be worried about the continuing controversy surrounding Dr Rowan Williams’ belief that it was “unavoidable” that aspects of Sharia would be incorporated into the English legal system.

The Times has learnt that the Prince of Wales has already distanced himself from the Archbishop’s speech last week, fearing that his comments have damaged multi-faith relations. According to The Daily Telegraph today, the Queen is also distressed over the controversy which she fears threatens to undermine the authority of the Archbishop and damage the Church of England, which already faces schism over homosexual clergy. [...]

A royal source told the newspaper: “I have no idea what her view is on what the Archbishop said about Sharia. But the Queen is worried, coming at such a difficult time in the Church’s history, that the fallout may sap the authority of the Church.”

Buckingham Palace refused last night to confirm or deny that the Queen had expressed concerns about the Archbishop’s views. A spokeswoman said: “I have never heard a view expressed by the Queen at all. We are not confirming or making any comment on this story.” Lambeth Palace and the Church of England also declined to comment.

The Queen, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is the only person with the power to dismiss the Archbishop of Canterbury, but she would not act unless instructed to by the Prime Minister.

However, Dr Williams’ position would become untenable if it became known that he had lost the monarch’s confidence.

Monday, February 11

In Defense of Mark Steyn

A correspondent pointed to one passage in Mark Steyn's The Future Belongs to Islam to argue that the essay actually does reflect discrimination against Muslims:
In the new technological age, manpower will be optional -- and indeed, if most of the available manpower's Muslim, it's actually a disadvantage.
This same passage is alluded to in two of Mohamed Elmasry's human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine et al., which charge that the Maclean's publication of the Steyn piece is "anti-Muslim." Number 38 on the list of Elmasry's list of complaints interprets the passage as meaning, "From Western society's viewpoint, Muslim 'manpower' is a disadvantage."

As you can see from the exact wording of Steyn's passage, he doesn't state or imply that this view of Muslim manpower is "Western." Now study the passage within the context of Steyn's observations at that point in his essay:
After all, what's easier for the governing class? Weaning a pampered population off the good life and re-teaching them the lost biological impulse or giving the Sony Corporation a licence to become the Cloney Corporation? If you need to justify it to yourself, you'd grab the graphs and say, well, demographic decline is universal. It's like industrialization a couple of centuries back; everyone will get to it eventually, but the first to do so will have huge advantages: the relevant comparison is not with England's early 19th century population surge but with England's Industrial Revolution. In the industrial age, manpower was critical. In the new technological age, manpower will be optional -- and indeed, if most of the available manpower's Muslim, it's actually a disadvantage. As the most advanced society with the most advanced demographic crisis, Japan seems likely to be the first jurisdiction to embrace robots and cloning and embark on the slippery slope to transhumanism.
So the passage in question clearly refers to job skills and education relating to cutting-edge technologies and science that are increasingly vital to advanced societies in the post-industrial age.

Steyn is saying that the aggregate pool of Muslim workers, and (from other passages in his essay) in particular the pool of immigrant Muslim labor in advanced countries, does not and will not (at least, as things stand now) make a contribution worth mentioning to a society's ability to cope with steep population decline. And indeed, it can be a disadvantage for an advanced society to have to support a large population segment that cannot fill jobs that are high priority for an advanced society, and which labors at jobs that are slated to disappear due to technological advances.

Of course all advanced societies carry large numbers of non-Muslim workers whose job skills will become obsolete within their lifetime, and who may not be able to retool their skills to fill the most demanding work. So isn't it discriminatory to single out people of a particular religious faith when discussing this situation?

For the answer I'll turn to a few observations by Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani Muslim who is a leading educator, scientist, mathematician and humanist, and who teaches nuclear physics at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam University.
Progress [for Muslims] will require behavioral changes. If Muslim societies are to develop technology instead of just using it, the ruthlessly competitive global marketplace will insist on not only high skill levels but also intense social work habits. The latter are not easily reconcilable with religious demands made on a fully observant Muslim’s time, energy, and mental concentration: The faithful must participate in five daily congregational prayers, endure a month of fasting that taxes the body, recite daily from the Qur’an, and more. Although such duties orient believers admirably well toward success in the life hereafter, they make worldly success less likely. A more balanced approach will be needed. [...]

Most universities in Islamic countries have a starkly inferior quality of teaching and learning, a tenuous connection to job skills, and research that is low in both quality and quantity. Poor teaching owes more to inappropriate attitudes than to material resources. Generally, obedience and rote learning are stressed, and the authority of the teacher is rarely challenged. Debate, analysis, and class discussions are infrequent. [...]

As intolerance and militancy sweep across the Muslim world, personal and academic freedoms diminish with the rising pressure to conform. In Pakistani universities, the veil is now ubiquitous, and the last few unveiled women students are under intense pressure to cover up.

The head of the government-funded mosque-cum-seminary ... in the heart of Islamabad, [Pakistan's] capital, issued the following chilling warning to my university’s female students and faculty on his FM radio channel on 12 April 2007:

"The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. ... Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the hereafter for such women. ..."

The imposition of the veil makes a difference. My colleagues and I share a common observation that over time most students -- particularly veiled females -- have largely lapsed into becoming silent note-takers, are increasingly timid, and are less inclined to ask questions or take part in discussions. This lack of self-expression and confidence leads to most Pakistani university students, including those in their mid- or late-twenties, referring to themselves as boys and girls rather than as men and women.
If you are new to this story you cannot grasp at this point the full import of Hoodbhoy's words. This is because Muslim governments and academic establishments have been misrepresenting the state of science education and research in their countries, even though they have lavished billions on educational and research facilities. In the precise language of a scientist Professor Hoodbhoy reveals the true story in three papers: Science and the Islamic world -- The quest for rapprochement, Pakistan's Universities - Problems and Solutions , and Assessing Pakistani Science (which also discusses science in other Islamic countries; e.g., Iran).

I hope the correspondent understands now why Mark Steyn was not discriminating against the Islamic religion when he wrote that Muslim manpower is a disadvantage in the most technologically advanced societies.

With Muslims such as Pervez Hoodbhoy in mind, could Steyn have qualified his statement? If he was writing a dissertation on the topic, yes; in that event he could also have qualified his observation that Westerners were selling out their own culture. Of course not all Muslims are a disadvantage, just as not all Westerners are suffering from civilizational ennui.

But Steyn was not writing a dissertation. It's said that you should never shake a sleepwalker so as not to traumatize him. That advice goes out the window if you see the sleepwalker headed for a high ledge. Mark Steyn was making an Eleventh Hour attempt to shake entire societies into wakefulness. His words spared no one. Don't fault him for that.

Thursday, February 7

Rise of Mordor, Part 2: Archbishop of Canterbury sanctions polygamy

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of the Anglican church, announced on the BBC World at One program that Muslim Sharia law should be introduced in the United Kingdom as a legal alternative to British laws on a range of civil matters including marriage and divorce. Yes, this would be the same Archbishop of Canterbury who's called for the criminalizing of cruel and thoughtless speech even if it's unintentional.

I didn't see the BBC program. Yet somehow I doubt the interviewer was swift enough to ask Williams whether this meant that the leader of a major Protestant Christian religion sanctioned polygamy. But that is exactly what Williams did. Why? Maybe it's the archbishop's attempt at horse trading with Muslim counterparts in Africa: The British government will legally allow Muslims multiple wives, if you agree not to blow up Anglican missionaries.

Williams engaged a variety of odious debating tactics to defend his position. There was the ever-popular Moral Equivalency Argument. He pointed to the existence of some Orthodox Jewish courts in Britain and the British government's tolerance for anti-abortion views of Catholics and other Christians. From there he argued that British laws should also make accommodation for Muslim ones.

When last I checked Jews and Christians -- now with the clear exception of the Anglican sect -- do not sanction polygamy.

And I am not aware that the decisions of the Jewish courts are legally binding, any more than the decisions of Britain's existing Islamic courts. Why would the archbishop want to put Islamic justice on par with British justice? Here he falls back on the Argument for Inevitability as a substitute for rational discourse:
“It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system,” he said.
British law --and indeed all law -- is based on the concept of justice. If you try to base justice on inevitability, this rationalizes all manner of crime and moral outrages.

As for the "certain conditions" of Sharia, they're not recognized by British law, they are studiously overlooked by the authorities. This has led to just the kind of situation that encourages the leader of the Anglican church to think he can fall back on apostasy as a justification for quid pro quo.

In addition to deploying arguments for moral equivalency and inevitability, the Archbishop engaged in the time-honored debating tactic of lying in one's teeth:
Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states: the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women. But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them.
Williams knows full well that a justice system cannot study martial disputes without taking into account the attitudes of law toward women, including the concept of equality.

As for Williams's argument that people need look at Islamic law “with a clear eye and not imagine, either, that we know exactly what we mean by Sharia and just associate it with . . . Saudi Arabia, or whatever” -- with citizens such as Williams, Britain does not need enemies.

Williams may not know exactly what Sharia means but the Saudis are very clear on the meaning, and it is the Saudi interpretation of matters Islamic that has been widely disseminated in Britain and around the world. As Neil Docherty has pointed out:
[T]his business of the Saudis promoting extremism is not to be taken lightly. They have spent billions in oil money, and how does that manifest itself?

It manifests itself in that if you want to become an Islamic scholar, the great universities are in Saudi Arabia and they are Wahhabi-influenced. And out of those universities come imams who are literally spread throughout the world. Saudi money builds the mosques -- it built the Finsbury Park mosque in London; it has built other radical mosques throughout the world.

The Saudis send out millions of translated Korans, and they have on the back of them 28 pages or so of essays on jihad. This is not a translation of the Koran; this is an interpretation of the Koran. Young Muslims read books, and these are the ones that are widely available. That influence is pernicious and very pervasive.
Because the gist of Docherty's observations are well known, it seems that the archbishop also fell back on the debating tactic of Fuzzing the Facts.

Several quarters in Britain, including the Muslim Council of Britain, are disputing Rowan Williams's call for legalizing aspects of Sharia. But I take little comfort in the vague response from Gordon Brown, who argued that British law must be based on British values. What values would those be? The proper way to cook fish and chips?

The British government and educational system need to clearly articulate British values; if that is too challenging they can start with defining and teaching the concept of "values" and work up slowly from there.

For more on the discussion see my 2005 essay United Kingdom and Sharia: British confusion about a fundamental aspect of democracy and nationhood, which includes helpful insights from a British reader on British law and Sharia in Britain.

Wednesday, February 6

Louder, Mr Whyte, I can't hear you. Section 13, M-446, Maclean's, Ezra Levant

Re opinions in the Taylor Section 13 appeal to Canada's Supreme Court. Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Taylor, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 892:

John Ross Taylor and the Western Guard Party lost their appeal to the Supreme Court but this is the landmark case to study. There is enough material there to keep bloggers, journalists, and Constitutional attorneys occupied for months. Here is the link to the Supreme Court web page on the case; for readers who don't like clicking on links here is the URL:

It's all in this one case: all the arguments for and against Section 13, its constitutionality, the deep issues giving rise to it -- everything. The Taylor case is so important that one really can't argue in any depth for M-446 without first studying the Supreme Court's arguments and dissenting opinions.

But here I want to focus on the issue of bias raised by the Taylor appellants and how the judges viewed it. The bias complaint relates to the CHRC -- or any human rights commission -- handing down their investigation to a tribunal, thereby prejudicing the case, or so the argument goes.

This argument could certainly be used by Levant, and by Rogers Communications and Maclean's in two of the Section 13 complaints. And from a study of how the Supreme Court treated the bias issue in the Taylor case, it seems the respondents should have already brought the issue to the courts. In other words, they should have raised the issue as soon as they were notified by the various commissions that they were named respondents. Yet I don't think it's too late provided the respondents move like lightning.

I know of only one firm Section 13 hearing for Maclean's, which is to take place in British Columbia in June. If I recall the human rights commission in that province was disbanded, so the Section 13 cases would go directly to a tribunal. In that event Maclean's could not use the bias argument in the BC case. Yet registering the issue of bias regarding the other two complaints, which are being investigated by human rights commissions and which will go to a tribunal if the case moves forward, would send a strong message to the BC tribunal. It would convey that the respondents dispute the legality of the entire proceedings and intend to appeal.

Of course it's getting into considerable legal fees to bring up the bias issue, but I recall the words of Kenneth Whyte, the Maclean's Editor-in-Chief, in response to the unreasonable demands of the Osgoode 4:
"I told them I would rather go bankrupt than let somebody from outside of our operations dictate the content of the magazine. I still feel that way."
Of course it's one thing to utter the words and another to have to act on them. I doubt that Kenneth Whyte said as a child, 'I want to grow up to go bankrupt.' But when life hands you a role on which many fates turn, the best you can do is play the role to the hilt.

It comes down to one question: In a time of war, do you think it's a life-and-death matter that the Canadian public be well informed on issues relating to their society's survival? If the answer is yes, then fight with all you've got and when you can fight no more cross that bridge when you come to it.

Here is the discussion in the Taylor Supreme Court case regarding the bias issue; as you can see the Court looked favorably on Taylor's argument but not on the timing of it. (Emphasis throughout is mine):
V. Bias

The appellants, relying on the Federal Court of Appeal decision in MacBain v. Lederman, [1985] 1 F.C. 856, argue that the findings of the Human Rights Tribunal were flawed because of an apprehension of bias. Pursuant to the scheme of the [Human Rights] Act the Commission investigated, found that there was sufficient basis for proceeding, and prosecuted the complaint. The same Commission appointed the members of the Tribunal, which heard and decided the case. The appellants argue that this gives rise to an apprehension of bias, and as such they were not afforded a fair hearing in accordance with principles of fundamental justice.

In MacBain the same appointment procedure as that in question in the present case was challenged. The Federal Court of Appeal found that there was a reasonable apprehension of bias because there was a direct connection between the prosecutor of the case, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the decision-maker. That connection gave rise to a suspicion of influence or dependency. The court thus concluded that the applicant was not afforded a fair hearing in accordance with principles of fundamental justice, as guaranteed by s. 2(e) of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission argues that MacBain was wrongly decided. They also argue that if the validity of the Tribunal's order is questionable due to an apprehension of bias, such defect merely makes the Federal Court order voidable and does not affect the contempt proceedings. The appropriate course would be for the appellants to move to have the order set aside.

Because the facts in the present case render the MacBain decision clearly distinguishable, it is not necessary for me to decide the validity of the principles set forth in MacBain. In MacBain, the issue of bias was raised at the outset of the process, as MacBain alleged bias even before the first meeting of the tribunal. Conversely, the appellants in this case raised the issue of bias several years after the initial hearing.

By not raising the issue at the outset and by proceeding with the Tribunal hearings and contempt hearings without raising the issue, the appellants must be deemed to have waived any right to raise an issue of bias now.

I would adopt the reasons of MacGuigan J. in Re Human Rights Tribunal and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., [1986] 1 F.C. 103 (C.A.). There, as here, the applicant failed to raise the allegation of bias at the commencement of the proceedings. MacGuigan J., distinguishing MacBain, held, at p. 113, that the principle in MacBain was limited to situations where the applicants raise allegations of bias at the outset of the proceedings:

". . . AECL's whole course of conduct before the Tribunal constituted an implied waiver of any assertion of a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of the Tribunal. The only reasonable course of conduct for a party reasonably apprehensive of bias would be to allege a violation of natural justice at the earliest practicable opportunity. Here, AECL called witnesses, cross-examined the witnesses called by the Commission, made many submissions to the Tribunal, and took proceedings before both the Trial Division and this Court, all without challenge to the independence of the Commission. In short, it ... impliedly ... waived its right to object."

In the case at bar, no evidence was presented to prove that the bias issue was raised at any time prior to argument before the Federal Court of Appeal. There may be circumstances in which failure to raise bias from the outset does not amount to implied waiver (for example, where, as here, the party was unrepresented at the initial hearing). However, it is not necessary for the purpose of this case to delineate a precise time at which bias must be raised because I am satisfied on the facts of this case that the appellants did not raise the allegation at the "earliest practicable opportunity". I conclude that, like the applicant in Re Human Rights Tribunal, the appellants must be deemed to have impliedly waived any right to allege bias.
Gentlemen, much of the hard work has already been done for your attorneys. So get them moving.

Tuesday, February 5


No time to explain except to note that the situation is very, very serious; Loftus Report starts in one hour and I am hoping John Batchelor will be there to elaborate on discussions on his Sunday show and on LR show on Monday. LR website is shut down which means no podcast available but you can still listen show tonight via Talkline:

tune in 11 pm eastern time

(show only airs mon-wed nights)

Sunday, February 3

Dispelling manufactured confusion about Section 13 complaints against Maclean's Magazine

On Friday I participated in a discussion in the comment section at Jason Cherniak's website; this was in response to his post There is no freedom to message hate, which relates to the Section 13 matter.

In this post I address comments posted today at Cherniak's site by Andrea Neat and "For Tolerance" in response to his Friday essay. My original intention was to again post to his comment section but my reply, which presents a mass of detail, is very long and I decided I didn't want to chop it down.

Readers who are new to the Section 13 issue can reference my January 8 post to get into the ballpark. For readers who have kept up with the unfolding story, this post represents a departure for me. All the earlier Section 13 posts dealt with fundamental issues. This one deals with a specific Section 13 case, the Maclean's one, and turns a microscope on the manufactured confusion surrounding it.

The substance of Andrea Neat's arguments are taken almost verbatim from statements made by four members of the Canadian Islamic Congress who are involved with the Section 13 complaints against Maclean's magazine, et al.

Various statements made by those individuals are deliberately misleading. However, because the comments have been widely disseminated by various Canadian media outlets, it's entirely possible that Neat is unaware that's she's passing on false information.

In any event, given the importance of the issue, the confusion created by the misleading statements needs to be ended. And because Jason Cherniak mentioned in his post that he'd not studied the Maclean's case I'll go into some detail in my explanations.

The second paragraph of Neat's comments states in part that the "complainants in the Maclean's matter have made it quite public that they do not want censorship. They believe that Macleans [sic] and Steyn (who isn't even NAMED in the complaint) can continue to publish the garbage that they wish, but that on some occasion they owe a duty to their readership to allow the targeted group some chance to respond to allegations that are ridiculous and hate-filled."

Neat is correct in observing that Mark Steyn is not named as a respondent in any of the three Section 13 filings under discussion. (He has been called to give testimony in a June Section 13 hearing.)

However, Neat is wrong to assert that there is more than one complainant. There is only one complainant in the Maclean's filings -- Mohamed Elmasry, who president of the Canadian Islamic Congress.

The persons Neat refers to are four members of the CIC, as I noted above, and who were students at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University at the time they approached Maclean's on the matter of the Steyn article. The persons are Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan , Muneeza Sheikh and Daniel Simard; I'll term them collectively the 'Osgoode 4.'

In writings published in Canadian newspapers starting in December 2007, the Osgoode 4 have represented themselves as the complainants in the three Section 13 filings made by Elmasry. Because of the Osgoode 4's intimate association with the filings, there is no question that they knew that they were not the complainants. So they have lied on the record and done so repeatedly.

See All we want is a chance to respond December 20, 2007 National Post
Muslim students file rights complaints over Maclean's article, CBC, December 5, 2007

Why have the Osgoode 4 represented themselves as the complainants? I don't know but I have read speculation that it's because Mohamed Elmasry is a controversial figure, a discussion of which is outside the scope of this writing.

In addition, the Osgoode 4, by their published admission in a newspaper, were involved in helping Elmasry prepare the three Section 13 filings. Thus, they are also aware that in the key filing, which is with the federal HRC (the CHRC), Maclean's magazine wasn't named as a respondent. Yet the Osgoode 4 do not mention this in their published statements; instead, they focus on Maclean's.

Why did they do this? Watch carefully; don't blink:

The respondents are "Rogers Publishing, Brian Segal, Kenneth Whyte, and Mark Stevenson." Whyte and Stevens are Maclean's editors; I don't know about Segal's function. Rogers Publishing -- actually Rogers Communications, Inc. -- is the parent company, and more to the point the owner of the Maclean's website.

See PDF Copies of Mohamed Elmasry's Section 13 complaints with three human rights commissions via Steyn Online.

The wording of Elmasry's filing makes it clear that his complaint is directed at the website, which still carries the Steyn article in question. The filing also makes clear that Elmasry, his attorney Faisal Joseph, and the Osgoode 4 are familiar with the CHRC mandate to review cases of hate speech published on the Internet.

A copy of the CHRC filing and the wording of the CHRC queries sent to Rogers (which can be found at Mark Steyn's website) very definitely indicates that the CHRC is investigating the complaint with regard to the Internet.

Even a cursory review of Internet hate speech decisions with regard to Section 13 reveals that one of the 'remedies' applied to the respondent is removal of the writing from the internet. In addition, the respondent is enjoined from publishing anything else that might relate to the speech in question. I repeat, anything else. And by "enjoined," I also mean the respondent can face prison if he does not carry out the remedy.

So while Elmasry's complaint did not specify a remedy, it didn't need to, given the CHRC mandate. The complaint was clearly filed with the intention of having the Steyn article removed from the Maclean's website. And with preventing Maclean's from later publishing anything that could be considered exposing Muslims to the likelihood of hatred and contempt.

Of course that would include even a discussion by a Muslim scholar or terrorism expert about the threat of Islamist terrorism and issues relating to Islam. It could even preclude Maclean's from publishing news reports on Islamist terror plots and attacks.

And of course, if the tribunal associated with the CHRC found against the respondents, this would send a message to every media organization in Canada that they self-censor, or face what happened to Maclean's.

So the Osgoode 4 are dissembling when they claim that they do not want censorship. The CHRC mandate with regard to hate speech posted on the Internet is all about censorship, and this is clearly indicated on their website.

Ms Neat also repeats the Osgoode 4 when she states that the complainants felt that on some occasion Maclean's owes a "duty to their readership to allow the targeted group some chance to respond to allegations that are ridiculous and hate-filled."

Maclean's did fulfill their duty. The Osgoode 4, and Mohamed Elmasry, had plenty of opportunity and a ready platform at Maclean's to respond to Steyn's article. They didn't take the opportunity by writing a letter to Maclean's at the time the article was published.

(For more detail on the meeting and surrounding events, see footnote 1)

They also didn't take the opportunity five months later, when Maclean's editors made a special exception for the students by granting them permission to publish a letter. As Elmasry's lawyer, Faisal Joseph, stated in a December 4, 2006 press conference, they wanted more than a letter.(1)

See CIC press release December 4, 2007

So the Osgoode 4 rejected the Maclean's offer; moreover, according to Maclean's they made demands that were so outrageous that any editor of a publication would reject if he wanted to keep his job.(1)

See Maclean's editor responds to CIC allegations, Maclean's magazine, December 4, 2007.

Elmasry's account of the meeting, which comports with the one published several times by the Osgoode 4, differs from the version that Maclean's published.(1)

If you consider the documented willingness of the Osgoode 4 to brazenly lie on the record, and if you consider Faisal Joseph's press statement, which inadvertently supports the Maclean's version, you're best advised to give more weight to the Maclean's side of the story.

If the Maclean's account is correct, then the Osgoode 4 knew going into their meeting with the Maclean's editors that their demands would likely be rejected. In that event, why would they make such unreasonable demands?

Within less than three weeks of the meeting, Elmasry filed his first complaint -- with the British Columbia HRC. The complaint, as with the other two, included the Osgoode 4's description of their meeting with the Maclean's editors.

The description is the only objective "reasonable grounds" for Elmasry to assert in the complaints that Maclean's was taking discriminatory action against Muslims.

In other words the meeting with Maclean's editors created grounds, which also closed the gap between the publication of the article and (by the time of the first filing) the nearly six-month delay in responding to it.

A less obvious question is why the Osgoode 4 and Faisal Joseph waited until December 2007 to announce the Section 13 complaints. The answer is found in a Dec 4 press release put out by CIC:
The Canadian Islamic Congress recently found that Maclean's has a disturbing trend of publishing content that is Islamophobic. In its report Maclean's Magazine: A Case Study of Media-Propagated Islamophobia, the CIC identifies at least 18 prominent articles with similar inflammatory content between January 1, 2005 and July 31, 2007. [...]
I note that comments inserted today at Cherniak's site by "Pro Tolerance" exactly match the smoke-filled style of the Osgoode 4:
The complaint against Maclean's is FOR free speech and not against it! Maclean's, Canada's only national magazine, recently published 19 defamatory articles against the Muslim community. Representatives from the Muslim community approached Maclean's and requested that a single counterview article by a mutually agreed upon author be published. Rather than politely refuse, Maclean's indicated, "we would rather go bankrupt". All the complainants wanted was a chance to respond to the 19 articles with a single article and reach Maclean's estimated one million subscribers who have had an obviously biased account of the Muslim community. The complainants could have chosen to pursue their complaint through the traditional court system (Canada's hate speech laws), but the potential punitive outcomes would do little to achieve their rights to free speech and open-debate. As a result, the HRC is the only avenue that the complainants could pursue, the only body which could enforce a variety of outcomes including "the chance to respond". ...
TRANSLATION: We knew this complaint wouldn't fly in a defamation suit so we used Section 13. I hope my so far has made clear that:

> Elmasry's Section 13 complaints were not motivated by the desire for a "chance to respond" to one Maclean's article, which I see has mushroomed to 19.

> The version of the meeting recounted by "For Tolerance" is in dispute. See footnote for a detailed description.

Also, I see that at least according to For Tolerance, "Islamaphobia" has been revised to "defamatory," and that 2+ years covered by the report have been revised to "recently." And there's the Orwellian twist of representing the Section 13 filing as in favor of free speech.

Moving along, Neat is also misinformed when she states that human rights commissions are "neutral, non-government third parties ..." The HRCs are government bodies. The tribunals, which proceed on the investigation findings provided by the HRCs, are independent.

Neat can resolve her confusion on this matter by studying the information on Section 13 provided at the CHRC (federal HRC) website under the 'watch on hate' section.

Regarding Neat's statement that the HRCs/tribunals are "subject to basic principals [sic] of due process and fairness ..." she is misinformed, if she means to imply that the HRCs and tribunals are subject to the laws that govern Canada's justice system.

The tribunals are termed "quasi-judicial." But if you study the procedures and decision-making processes of the tribunals, you will see that they are a grave affront to court procedure, not to mention the very concept of legal justice in a democracy. The tribunals are judicial only in the sense that they can hand down decisions that have the backing of the state.

While the decisions can be appealed in court, as Neat points out -- I am open to correction but to my knowledge no court has struck down a tribunal decision on a Section 13 case. Given the wording of Section 13, I assume the courts would have no recourse but to uphold the decision, no matter how gravely it affronts the laws governing the justice system.

To give one example of how the tribunal process ignores courtroom procedure, consider the decision in the Boissoin Section 13 case:

About two weeks after a newspaper printed a letter in which Boissoin opined that homosexuality was immoral, physically dangerous and should not be promoted in schools, a homosexual was beaten. The tribunal decision found a "circumstantial" cause-and-effect connection between Boissoin's "hate speech" and the attack on the gay. Yet the tribunal had not heard evidence of such a connection.

And indeed, the wording of the decision suggests that Boissoin was judged to be engaged in "hate speech" -- a technical term in Canada's criminal justice system -- even before the tribunal decision was handed down.

With regard to Neat's observation that Canada's human rights commissions are presided over by people "who have developed an expertise in discrimination law," again, I think Neat has the HRCs confused with the tribunals. Either way: before a person can be an expert on discrimination law, he must first be somewhat cognizant of the concept of "law."

Law -- objective law -- pertains to acts. Get away from that basic concept, and you have the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, and every other kind of inhumane justice system.

It's not humane to threaten people with prison on the suspicion that something they said might lead to the possibility of a crime. If Neat tells me that Section 13 doesn't exactly say that -- go back and read Section 13, and keep re-reading it, until it's clear that the wording makes it virtually impossible for any kind of adjudicating body to proceed on an objective concept of law. It's for that reason that the entire section needs to be struck from the human rights code.

Neat told readers at this comment section to "get informed." I believe she should follow her own advice. Once she's made a study of how Section 13 is administered, she'll understand why there is the "panic" that she considers "a bit unfounded."

The panic, as Neat put it, is coming from Canadians who never before studied how Section 13 is actually administered, and who are only now learning that justice meted out under Section 13 finds parallel only in the most oppressive dictatorships.

Yes, the same Canada that bills itself to the rest of the world as a bastion of liberal democracy. The same Canada that has promoted multicultural policy to governments around the world -- without bothering to explain to those governments just how Canada has managed to enforce that policy.

Study the "reasonable limits" clause in Section One and the wording in Section 15(2) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to understand how Canada pulled off the hat trick. Canada's government retains such sweeping powers to suspend the protection of rights named in the Charter that it mocks the concept of 'rights.' But all that is a conversation for another day.

With regard to Neat's observation that "Steyn states that "Little Mosque on the Prarie" [sic] is a conspiracy to make Islam as "acceptable" as homosexuality in Western society!" Neat is misinformed on key points.

First, Mark Steyn does not state or in any way imply in his review of Little Mosque on the Prairie that the creation/production of the series is a conspiracy. He does state, correctly, that the series is the product of the CBC. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a crown corporation; i.e., state-controlled enterprise.

Any type of published message from a crown corporation, including a television series, which attempts to mold public opinion is propaganda. Steyn didn't say this but he didn't to need to for an informed readership; all he needed was to summarize one episode of the series to demonstrate that it was propaganda and, it could be argued, agitprop. That might be one of the reasons that reportedly Muslim members of Equity refused to act in the series.

The episode that Steyn described stigmatizes any Canadian -- that would of course include Muslims -- who expresses fear or concern about Islamist-related terrorism. Yet none of that is conspiracy; it's simply the power of government, which is why the power must be carefully monitored.

Secondly, nowhere does Steyn state in his review that the TV series is an attempt to make Islam acceptable. He refers to Muslims, not Islam. The difference is important because his use of the word 'Muslim' underscores that the government-produced series portrays Muslims as a monolithic group, which of course they are not. That might be another reason Muslims reportedly preferred not to act in the series.

Third, Steyn has the weight of television history, both in public and private broadcasting, behind his remark that "Muslim is the new gay." He could just have easily observed, "Muslim is the new Working Mother," or "Muslim is the new Mexican Illegal in America," or "Muslim is the new CIA."

(By the latter I am referring to a short-lived CBS series that portrayed the CIA as the standard for efficiency and teamwork. The series was broadcast soon after 9/11. This was at a time when everyone on the planet was asking, "How many CIA employees does it take to change a light bulb?")

In short, for decades television series producers in the US have been infamous for going overboard to shape public opinion on controversial groups, including gays. That's exactly why Steyn got a laugh from his American audience when he quipped that Muslims are the new gay. Everyone instantly knew what he meant.

Of course the difference between CBC producers and the CBS counterparts is that with the latter, viewer ratings can vote the excesses off the air, and often the producer out a job. Not so with a state-run television series.

If not for the fact that Little Mosque on the Prairie is propaganda, one might easily dismiss the opening episode by noting that Canada's Muslims should not hold their breath waiting for Canadian TV offerings that approach the high standard of Mississippi Masala when explaining a cultural divide.

CBC was not interested in explaining; they only wanted to condition responses, and so Steyn called them out. Neat's criticism of Steyn's piece, which is a chip off the Osgoode's 4 critique, completely misses his target and his point.

The same could be said for every one of the 49 or so criticisms of Steyn's piece for Maclean's that Elmasry listed in two of his HRC complaints, and the 19 or so listed in the federal complaint.

In their report on media-promulgated Islamophobia, the authors are clearly trying to establish that Maclean's demonstrates a pattern of bias against Muslims. The only objective pattern to emerge is the Osgoode 4's tactic at diverting attention from Steyn's points. It's as if they designed several jigsaw puzzles out of his words, then jumbled all the pieces and dumped them into a box labeled Islamophobia.

It might be that the authors are betting that no one will have the patience to unscramble all the puzzles. If so, I think they may be wrong. In any case, they needn't have gone to so much trouble to provide grounds for Elmasry's complaints, given the wording of Section 13. But from comments in the report the Osgoode 4+1 seem to have a bigger agenda than censoring Maclean's. They write:
Maclean’s is engaged in publishing flagrantly Islamophobic and anti-Muslim articles while refusing the request of Muslim organizations to publish a response to these articles. This refusal indicates that Maclean’s magazine is motivated by an anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic agenda rather than the promotion of open and free debate on issues related to indigenous Muslim communities, immigration, multiculturalism, and terrorism. In light of this agenda and its record of discriminatory publications, we appeal to schools, colleges, universities and other public institutions to condemn Maclean’s and to cancel their subscriptions to Maclean’s.
1) All three Section 13 filings state that part of Elmasry's sense of being discriminated against is due to how Maclean's handled the students' request to respond to Steyn's article. The wording of this part of the complaint is virtually the same in all the petitions, but I'll quote from the petition filed with the federal Canadian Human Rights Commission:
Muslim Community's efforts to resolve this matter were rebuffed by the Respondents. On Friday March 30, 2007 a delegation from the CIC met with the Respondents Mr Whyte [Maclean's Editor-in-Chief] and Mr Stevenson [Maclean's Editor] in Toronto. The delegation proposed that in order to avert the negative impact of the Article on Canadian Muslims, MacLean's should publish an article authored by a recognized member of the Muslim community, which responds to the inflammatory material contain [sic] in the Article. Mr Whyte indicated that the Respondents had no interest in publishing a response to the Article from the Muslim community. In particular, Mr Whyte informed us that MacLean's would rather go bankrupt than allowing the publication of a response from the Muslim community. [...]

In terms of impact, reading the Article and seeing the messages portrayed as objective fact by MacLean's had a serious impact on me and on Canadian Muslims community large. This impact included harm to our sense of dignity and self-worth as Canadian Muslims. This impact was further amplified by the experience of the CIC's meetings with members of MacLean's editorial board and obtaining their patently unreasonable response.
Elmasry's version of the rebuff is that it contradicts Whyte's version. And it tends to contradict a published statement by the CIC's own lead attorney, Faisal Joseph, who is representing Elmasry in the Section 13 complaints.

Here is Whyte's account of the students' demands:
"The student lawyers in question [Osgoode 4] came to us five months after the [Steyn excerpt] ran. They asked for an opportunity to respond. We said that we had already run many responses to the article in our letters section but that we would consider a reasonable request. They wanted a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, to run without any editing by us, except for spelling and grammar. They also wanted to place their response on the cover and to art direct it themselves.

We told them we didn't consider that a reasonable request for response. When they insisted, I told them I would rather go bankrupt than let somebody from outside of our operations dictate the content of the magazine. I still feel that way."
From Whyte's statement, it is clear that his rebuff concerned the student delegation's demand to take control of the magazine's editorial policy for their purposes. His comment about preferring that the magazine go bankrupt related specifically to that demand, and not to a refusal to allow the students to publish their views on the Steyn piece.

While Faisal Joseph does not detail Whyte's version of events, he does state in the December 4, 2007 press release that the students were seeking:
... "equal space [in the magazine] to respond to what we feel is an Islamophobic and unfair article. All we wanted was equal space and equal time, not a little letter to the editor."
Joseph's statement makes it clear that the students were unwilling to accept Maclean's editorial policy of publishing letters to dispute an article, even though this is standard practice. They wanted to set their own rules for how the magazine should handle their complaint.

Thus, Joseph's statement lends support to Whyte's version of his dispute with the students. And yet Elmasry's petition to the BC Human Rights Tribunal states:
[...] the respondent Macleans magazine has rebuffed attempts by Muslim residents in other provinces to resolve this matter reasonably. Therefore, it is important that this complaint be proceeded upon since no other avenues are available.
The wording of the statement makes it unclear whether Elmasry was speaking only of attempts by the Osgoode 4 at their meeting with the Maclean's editors or whether he had other attempts in mind. However, if other attempts were made, discussion of these have not been published by any of the parties.

In any case, given the number of letters (27) that Maclean's published in response to the Steyn piece, and that according to Joseph the claimants didn't want the avenue of publishing a letter in Maclean's, it is a misstatement to assert that no avenues other than a Section 13 filing were available for disputing the piece.

Yet Elmasry does not explain in his filings that he and others involved snubbed the opportunity of Maclean's publishing their letter of rebuttal, even though it was five months after the Steyn article had run.

And if Whyte's account is considered, Elmasry did not explain in his filings that Whyte offered even more to the students by way of a "reasonable" accommodation. It was only when they wanted to direct the magazine's editorial policy that he refused accommodation.

Elmasry also neglects to mention that an organization with the clout of the Canadian Islamic Congress, which, according to their website is Canada's largest national non-profit Islamic organization, should have been able to utilize public avenues other than Maclean's for disputing Steyn's piece.

When the CIC wanted to publicize their filings with the human rights commissions, they had no problem calling a press conference and distributing press releases. There were other venues as well that the students and CIC could have used to publicly argue against the Maclean's piece. It does not seem they exerted themselves in the task until December 2007 -- more than a year after Maclean's published the Steyn excerpt.