Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ezra Levant, The Western Standard & The Alberta Human Rights Commission

I posted a few weeks ago about the Canadian Islamic Congress dragging Mark Steyn before a Human Rights Commission on charges of Islamophobia and inciting hatred. I wrote it with the intention of highlighting the very real threat these commissions pose to the inalienable human liberties of free speech and freedom of the press. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the battle Mark Steyn is currently fighting did not occur in a vacuum; it began with the case of Ezra Levant and The Western Standard.

As most of us will remember vividly, two years ago the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons depicting the prophet of the Islamic faith Muhammad. In response, many muslim groups deemed these depictions of their prophet offensive and blasphemous so they torched a few embassies, desecrated some flags, held violent riots leading to 100 deaths, you know, the usual. As the controversy was snowballing, I remember being captivated not by the grossly unreasonable reactions these muslim groups displayed in response to the cartoons, but by the cowardice of the mainstream media in the United States, Britain, and Canada. In an ideal world, the media response would have been a non-partisan showing of unity for the fundamental right of free speech through a mass reprinting of the offending cartoons. Instead, most newspapers printed stories about the case without reprinting the pictures. Alone stood publisher Ezra Levant of The Western Standard.

Fast-forward a year and a half and Ezra Lavant is sitting before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The first "interrogation," as Levant calls them, was Friday, January 11.

It is crucial that we make note of the trials Ezra Levant is being subjected to by his own government; The Western Standard has gone defunct in the wake of the accusations, his reputation has been sullied, he must finance his own defense while Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution, and he has been forced to live and breathe these accusation for nearly two years. Levant is a great man fighting for a right that must be protected at all costs. In the interrogation, which was videotaped and released against the wishes of the Human Rights Commission, he eloquently outlines his convictions and indignation at these charges. As Canadian citizens, we must stand witness to this travesty of justice and speak out against it.

Mr. Levant's Exceptional Opening Statement (For A Transcript Follow The Link):

Perhaps His Best Moment. Levant Rips Into The Government Representative Over The Question Of Intent:

Levant Explains The Root Of Violence & Islamophobia:

An Incisive Explanation of Freedom of Expression In Canada:

And Other Choice Moments:

The case has been mentioned at Little Green Footballs, Hot Air, and Ace of Spades.

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