February 14, 2006

Images "creating stress"

Yep, that's what those Danish cartoons are causing up north in Canada:

The head of Calgary's Muslim community is considering a civil lawsuit against two local publishers for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad -- images that have sparked deadly riots overseas.

Syed Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said the cartoons have caused Muslims in Calgary, and worldwide, unnecessary stress and heartache.

"We are, on Monday, going to see lawyers. We will try to find out if there is a possibility to have a civil lawsuit. That's what we're going to explore," Soharwardy said Sunday.

"We see these cartoons as racist. We see these cartoons as hurtful, and we see these cartoons as against our religion. There has been damages towards the Muslim community for their losing their peace of mind, and creating stress on people's heart."

Ah, so in other words, [re]publishing the cartoons is a "hate crime." Canada's laws are different, obviously, from those here in the States -- Canadians do not possess the degree of free expression that Americans do. And, hate crimes are taken more seriously. Believe it or not, Soharwardy may have a case. Section 319 of Canada's hate crimes law says:

  • If it can be shown that the speech was so abusive that it was likely to incite listeners or readers into violent action against an identifiable group, and if the the speech was made in a public place, then a person could be convicted.

  • If the speech promoted hatred against an identifiable group, but was not likely to incite a listener to violence, then a person could still be convicted.

There are some "safeguards," such that they are. For instance, what may "save" the various Canadian press is "If the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, and if, on reasonable grounds, the person believed them to be true."

The Western Standard and Jewish Free Press are the two Canadian outlets that have [re]published the 'toons. It is more than arguable that they did so for the news factor -- the controversy surrounding their initial publication -- than for any "shock" value.

Across the pond, almost the reverse is happening: "One of Britain's top Muslims," Sir Iqbal Sacranie, is in trouble for stating that homosexuality is "not acceptable" and "immoral" and that "same-sex relationships damage the very foundations of society." He said so on the BBC's 'PM' program, and hence "has been investigated by the police for the thought-crime, or, as the police put it these days, hate-crime, of homophobia."

If Sir Iqbal -- and adherents of the Muslim faith in general -- believe homosexuality to be repugnant, then that is their view, and it is not the business of the government, or the police... to divest them of it. But the Old Bill [=police] are scurrying around to Sir Iqbal's house with a view to prosecuting him for merely articulating one of the fundamental tenets of a religion whose strictures will soon be protected by law. [ i.e. the proposed UK law to criminalize the defamation of Islam] This is, quite literally, madness. The two laws -- one proposed and one already on the statute books -- are in direct, unequivocal opposition. One day we will surely see the prosecution of a gay person for suggesting that Islam is ludicrous and, by dint of its opposition to homosexuality, illegal. And where will we be then?

Thank goodness for the 1st Amendment here.

Posted by Felix at February 14, 2006 07:46 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Can I sue the Muslim community for any hemmorhoid flair-ups I might have, due to them being such a pain in the @$$?

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at February 14, 2006 10:13 PM

Most folks are aware that it's also offensive to show a Muslim the soles of your feet. (My platoon sergeant was pelted with rocks for riding through Ankara with his feet up on the dashboard of his Jeep) How stressful it must be for a Muslim to walk down the beach with all those sunbathers' feet pointing at him! Obviously, the only solution is to enact legislation that will require us to cover up those offending appendages.

Posted by: G Rex at February 15, 2006 11:23 AM

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