Monday, February 18, 2008
OFFENDED IMAM: 'OH WELL, NEVER MIND THEN'
ast month, we had the story of the offended Imam in Calgary who launched a Canadian Inquisition (nobody expects the Canadian Inquisition!) before an Alberta "human rights" tribunal against the former magazine publisher who had the temerity to defend his right to publish the infamous Mo-Toons.
Now that a conspiracy to murder one of the Danish cartoonists has been broken up by Danish police, newspapers across Europe have re-published the cartoons in solidarity with freedom of expression, and his case has received a little too much international exposure, Imam Syed Soharwardy has concluded that he could do without all the bothersome scrutiny. So after having Alberta taxpayers foot the bill for his prosecution of these thought crimes, while his target is out of pocket about 100 G's or so in defending himself, the Imam is calling it quits.
Before his Emily Litella moment, Soharwardy requested a meeting with the editorial board of the Calgary Herald, in order to rebuff claims that he is a "hate-mongering, anti-Semitic, Wahabi radical who wants to see Canada governed under sharia law," as he put it. Herald staff did a little homework before the meeting, and pulled up some of his published newspaper columns and other works. He published this in 2004:
"Sharia cannot be customized for specific countries. These universal, divine laws are for all people of all countries for all times...During his conversation with the editors, he denied ever asking to bring sharia to Canada, and thus denying his own written words. In another essay in his newsletter, he had condemned Israel's treatment of Palestinians as a worse crime than the Holocaust of World War II. No anti-Semitism there, this was taken out of context, he told the editors.
"I am one of the founding members of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice. The mandate of the institute is to resolve disputes within existing Canadian laws by using the principles of conflict resolution from Islamic Law, or sharia."
And following the massive disaster of the 2004 tsunami, he denounced the humanitarian work of Christians in Aceh with another news release, claiming that they were kidnapping Muslim orphans to convert them to Christianity. That also was a lie, which he now denied ever making.
This is the guy who accused Ezra Levant of hate speech, and got the government of Canada to do his bidding.
Yet in his interview with the Herald, he claimed to have launched the complaint because Muslim youth "were getting alienated," not due to anticipated hatred toward himself. Now he wishes to drop his complaint because he realizes how important free speech is for Canada.
The article notes however, that he told The National last week, "People were looking at Ezra Levant as a martyr of freedom of his speech . . . taking this into a different direction that I did not want." He actually expected to be the martyr / hero himself, but it wasn't working out that way. Well, that's very different. Never mind then.
But that's not the end of it. Levant plans to file an 'abuse of process' claim against him (an abuse he's already admitted to), but the Edmonton Muslim Council still has an identical complaint against Levant which is still proceeding. And there's still more.
The Imam has a human rights case pending against himself, lodged last December by three women who attended his mosque. The women allege they were the targets of abusive threats during a November meeting at Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre. This isn't free speech anymore, this is actual abuse. And now, it's not just verbal threats but physical abuse too.
One of the three women, Robina Butt, answered her door last week when the callers identified themselves as members of the press. When she opened it, a man and someone in a burqa forced their way in. They threw her against a wall and assaulted her, leaving her with bruises and cuts all over her body. The intruders fled when they thought someone else was coming to the house.
Butt [Robina's husband] said the male attacker told his wife, "We come from Al-Madinah; if you ever talk anything about Al-Madinah . . . this is the first instalment."Soharwardy denies all allegations against Al-Madinah.
Levant has photos of the victim, as shown in a Pakistani-Canadian newspaper. Robina was very lucky the thugs got spooked and ran.
Wai Dust my Broom for the Herald links.