...One of the complainants against me is someone I would describe as a radical Muslim imam, Syed Soharwardy. He grew up in the madrassas of Pakistan and he lectures on the Saudi circuit. He advocates sharia law for all countries, including Canada. His website is rife with Islamic supremacism — offensive to many Canadian Jews, gentiles, women and gays. But his sensitivities — his Saudi-Pakistani values — have been offended by me.
And so now the secular government of Alberta is enforcing his fatwa against the cartoons.
It's the same for Mohamed Elmasry, the complainant against Maclean's magazine for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, America Alone. Egyptian-born Elmasry has publicly said that any adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack, a grossly offensive statement.
Both the Canadian and B.C. Human Rights Commissions are now hearing his complaints against Maclean's.
How did it come to be that rough and, I would say, bigoted men such as Mr. Soharwardy and Mr. Elmasry could, by simply claiming that their tender feelings were hurt, sic a government bureaucracy on a magazine, or anyone for that matter?
On this point, I agree with Mr. Soharwardy and Mr. Elmasry: I blame the Jews.
A generation ago, illiberal elements in the "official" Jewish community pressed Canadian governments to introduce laws limiting free speech. The targets of those laws were invariably poor, unorganized, harmless neo-Nazi cranks and conspiracy theorists such as Ernst Zundel and Jim Keegstra — nobodies who were turned into international celebrities when they were prosecuted for their thought crimes.
But now come Mr. Elmasry and Mr. Soharwardy and their ilk, using the very precedents set by the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Before Mr. Soharwardy went to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, he went to the Calgary Police Service and demanded that they arrest me. He's done that three times now, and they've rejected him every time. But he only had to ask the willing enforcers of the human rights commission once.
What a strange place Canada is in 2008, where the police care more about human rights than the human rights commissions do, where fundamentalist Muslims use hate-speech laws drafted by secular Jews, and where a government bureaucrat can interrogate a publisher for 90 minutes, and be shocked when he won't shake her hand in greeting.