Website postings like the ones quoted in this article are obnoxious and wrong. When I see the like here, I take them down. But Ezra Levant is right: “…when someone hurts your feelings, you can respond, write a letter to the editor, call a talk radio show, start a political campaign. But you don’t go running to the government.”
Or at least he was right. Now that the magazine has apologized, Kathy Shaidle explains exactly what is wrong with such a gesture: “Here we see the difference between shame-based and honor-based cultures at work — the imam and other Muslims will view this magnanimous gesture as a sign of weakness and more complaints will follow, each one even stupider than the last.”
A local Muslim leader has launched a human rights complaint against the website of a defunct magazine, claiming a recent string of user comments on its blog promote hatred against followers of Islam.
Calgary police are also investigating allegations levelled by Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, that comments on the Shotgun Blog of the Western Standard website advocating violence against Muslims could constitute a hate crime.
The entry, dated Dec. 5 and written by a user named Templar, said, “there is no such thing as innocent Muslims.” Templar goes on to write “They must all be killed. All of them.”
Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada says comments on the Western Standard website constitute hate-mongering and are “against Canadian values.”
Another user, OBC, responds by saying Muslims should be deported from western countries, adding that he’d be “in favour of their eradication” if they “don’t behave back there.”
“This is absolutely pure hate- mongering,” said Soharwardy. “It’s an abuse of freedom of speech. It’s against Canadian (hate) laws.”
Nagah Hage, chairman of the Muslim Council of Calgary which represents the majority of Muslims in the city, said the website should be forced to take down the offensive comments.
“The police have to do something about this,” said Hage. “This is racism. This is filling the minds of people with hatred. Who knows what it might lead to down the road.”
The original Dec. 2 posting that sparked the user comments was written by former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant. He was discussing complaints by the Canadian Islamic Congress against Maclean’s magazine.
It’s the anonymous responses to Levant’s posting that have angered Muslim leaders.
Levant, who no longer owns the website or the Western Standard name, said he doesn’t personally agree with the comments, but argued they should be protected as free speech.
“In Canada, when someone hurts your feelings, you can respond, write a letter to the editor, call a talk radio show, start a political campaign. But you don’t go running to the government,” said Levant. “Mr. Soharwardy has to realize he is in a free country now.”
But maybe he isn’t.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada cancelled a protest planned for Friday in Calgary over anti-Muslim comments made on a Western Standard blog site, after receiving an apology from the magazine’s owner.
“Mr. Matthew Johnston, who is the new owner of the Western Standard, he called me last night and he apologized on the phone,” Imam Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic council, said Friday.
The imam said Johnston told him the statements were hateful and offended not only Muslims but also the management and readers of the Western Standard, and that the magazine would try to better monitor what’s posted on its site.
“They will have responsible journalism and editing and monitoring of their blog,” Soharwardy said. “I thank him for his recognition of the problem and doing exactly what we wanted him to do, is to apologize and make sure it does not happen again.”
The human rights complaints have now been withdrawn, he said.