Tuesday, June 3, 2008

'Five Feet of Fury' Blog Introduced as Evidence in "Islamophobia" Trial of Mark Steyn

Imagine a court where truth is not a defense.

That’s the kind of court author Mark Steyn has been dragged into. It’s called the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Steyn and MacLeans magazine, went on trial on Monday at the provincial courthouse in Vancouver, accused of making Muslims the target of "hatred and contempt" and "Islamophobia" with the article, 'The Future Belongs to Islam".

Steyn has few options for defending himself in a court where truth is not a defense, his lawyer Julian Porter (left in photo above) told the media outside the courthouse. So Porter and co-counsel Roger McConchie (right in photo above) will be arguing that article Steyn authored “does not meet the standard for contempt”.

The complaint against Steyn was filed by Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, President of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and Naiyer Habib, BC Director of the Canadian Islamic Congress who also works as a cardiologist in Abbottsford, B.C. Three Muslim law students, one male and two females, were also involved in filing the complaint.

One of those law students, Khurrum Awan, was the first witness at the Tribunal on Monday. Awan, a former President of the Canadian Islamic Youth Congress who appeared in court with a shaved head and wearing a pale grey/green suit, graduated from Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto last year.

McConchie attempted to prevent Awan from testifying. He argued that Awan “was sitting in Ontario” when he may have had a “profound emotional response” – feelings carry weight in this court -- to Steyn’s article, placing him outside the jurisdiction of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. “Complainants cannot come from Newfoundland, complainants cannot come from Montreal, complainants cannot come from Yellowknife and seek compensation for harm caused by an alleged violation of Section 7.1.”

Wanna bet?

The tribunal members, Commissioner Heather MacNaughton, a middle-aged woman with shoulder length brown wavy hair, flanked by a younger woman with short straight brown hair, and a thin man with short grey hair and a grey suit -- a trio with a habit of swiveling their chairs around in unison to huddle with their backs to the audience as they make decisions -- decided Awan’s fate over a 75 minute lunch break. In announcing after lunch that Awan could testify, they revealed what a back asswards court they were operating: they would hear his evidence and then “consider what weight to give it.”

Meanwhile, audience members were weighing in on these tribunal members. “Why do they make us stand when they enter the room, as though we respect them?,” a graying Caucasian woman said loudly during a recess. “We shouldn’t have to stand; this isn’t a real court.” A few people sitting in the vicinity registered agreement.

Awan, sitting in the witness box gulping water and repeatedly asking for refills, highlighted points that Steyn had explicitly or implicitly made in his MacLeans article that he believed drew hatred or contempt to Muslims as a group:

1) Muslims are to be feared because their numbers are swelling and they wish to subject non-Muslims to Islamic law.

2) "Islam. . . .has serious global ambitions, and it forms the primal, core identity of most of its adherents -- in the Middle East, South Asia and elsewhere. Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare."

3) You might formulate it like this:Age + Welfare = Disaster for you;Youth + Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way.

4) "Europe, like Japan, has catastrophic birth rates . . . the successor population is already in place and the only question is how bloody the transfer of real estate will be. . . .The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades."

5) "In a few years, as millions of Muslim teenagers are entering their voting booths, some European countries will not be living formally under sharia, but -- as much as parts of Nigeria, they will have reached an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the "tolerance" of pluralist societies. In other Continental countries, things are likely to play out in more traditional fashion, though without a significantly different ending."

6) "Time for the obligatory 'of courses': of course, not all Muslims are terrorists — though enough are hot for jihad to provide an impressive support network of mosques from Vienna to Stockholm to Toronto to Seattle. Of course, not all Muslims support terrorists — though enough of them share their basic objectives (the wish to live under Islamic law in Europe and North America) to function wittingly or otherwise as the “good cop” end of an Islamic good cop/bad cop routine."

7) "You may vaguely remember seeing some flaming cars on the evening news toward the end of 2005. Something going on in France, apparently. Something to do with -- what's the word? -- "youths." When I pointed out the media's strange reluctance to use the M-word vis-à-vis the rioting "youths. . . ."

If truth were a defense in this court, evidence could be brought forward to support Steyn's claims. And there is no shortage of evidence. Read the Koran. Read the Hadiths. Listen to what Islamic Imams say publicly. In fact, Steyn quoted an Imam in his article:"'We're the ones who will change you,' the Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. 'Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children.' As he summed it up: 'Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.' " Awan didn't highlight this section of the article.

While truth counts for nothing in this court, emotions count for something. When highlighting sections of text in Steyn’s article, Awan would make comments like, “It really bothered me.” And the twirling tribunal seemed just fine with that.

Is it any wonder Ezra Levant, former publisher of the Western Standard in Alberta, ducked outside during the lunch hour and told a media scrum that this court “where truth is not a defense” cannot be viewed as anything but a “kangaroo court”.

Photo: Ezra Levant speaks to media outside BC Human Rights Tribunal on Monday

Awan took liberties as a witness that could leave one wondering what kind of grades he got in law school. Awan pointed out that the complaint had first been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, but was dismissed because it was outside their jurisdiction. But he didn’t leave it at that. He emphasized that in dismissing the complaint, the Ontario Human Rights Commission had publicly condemned Mark Steyn for the “Islamophobia” in his MacLeans article. (“Why have a trial?”, Steyn had responded on his blog to that Ontario finding.)

Julian Porter quickly interjected that the Ontario finding had been “an abuse of public power”, reached “without listening to arguments.” And here he too interjected feelings: “It does cause one to weep.”

Not only was Awan “piggybacking” – Porter’s word -- on an illegitimate finding from Ontario, he apparently resorted to lying on the witness stand. Awan claimed that public anger directed at him when he filed the human rights complaint was misplaced as it was not Muslims but “Jews, Blacks, and aboriginals” who had a track record of filing such complaints. “To my knowledge, this is the first complaint that has been brought by the Islamic community.” Oh come on.

You can bet Awan is familiar with the recent high profile case of Ezra Levant. Levant was forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending himself against a complaint filed with the Alberta Human Rights Commission by an Islamic Imam. Levant had become a target after publishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the Western Standard to make a statement about free speech. It was difficult not to notice that Levant was in the tiny courtroom yesterday; it was also difficult to miss him out in the lobby during recesses as he chatted to his supporters and commented to the media.

By the time Awan had finished testifying, he had given a big plug to a blogger who thought little of him. The blogger who posts on “Five Feet of Fury” was identified as the source of some of the “heat” Awan has felt since filing the human rights complaint. McConchie objected to the introduction of blogosphere evidence, claiming that the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the internet. The Tribunal was to rule on this matter on Tuesday.

Awan told the Tribunal that the blogger – he didn’t identify the blogger, Kathy Shaidle, by name -- had been present at a press conference about the human rights complaint. He claimed that she later blogged that she had “just laid eyes on three young Muslim terrorists”. Don’t ask me how she would justify calling the young law students terrorists, but it would not be difficult to apply that term to Elmasry. Elmasry caused outrage across Canada when he publicly stated that it was acceptable to murder Israeli civilians because they had the potential to become soldiers. As Ezra Levant told reporters outside, it is this type of person who is attracted to “illiberal” institutions like the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

“Sharia creeps” were words on “Five Feet of Fury” that offended Awan. What he didn’t mention was that Elmasry was a major push behind bringing sharia law to Ontario. In fact, in the summer of 2005, ‘infidels’ demonstrated outside the same courthouse as part of a Canada wide effort to stave off sharia law. But Awan gave no indication that he had a gripe with Elmasry, only with Steyn for arguing that when Muslims outnumber other groups in Canada, sharia law won’t be far behind.

Awan also quoted the Five Feet of Fury blogger as saying that she had “never been prouder to be a Canadian” than when Ken Whyte, Editor-in-Chief of McLeans told Awan and his associates that he would rather “go bankrupt” than allow outsiders to control his magazine. He was referring to a request by Awan and his associates that MacLeans provide space equal to that provided for the Steyn article, for a high-profile Muslim community member to write a rebuttal. Being on the witness stand in the court of hurt feelings, Awan compared Whyte to Editor Mark Stevenson. Stevenson, he said, was "a lot nicer to us".

But if you ask Kathy Shaidle, she might say it's Awan and his associates who are not nice. Shaidle came up with the idea that protesters outside the courthouse carry blank placards to point to censorship these Islamists are attempting to impose on Canadians. And it was Shaidle who came up with the title of the flyer handed out by the protesters: “Is this the Canada You Want?”

Related story: Protesters Carry Blank Signs Outside B.C. Human Rights Tribunal


Dag said...

Excellent reportage. I hope you're going to continue at the courthouse to follow this for us all.

Dag said...

Hmm, let's see. It's almost time to vote for a board of directors locally at the community centre.

Rachel Davis and free speech and due process?

Or a psychopath?

I dunno. Who gots cookies?

Blazing Cat Fur said...

Great Post, I am sending this to Kathy!

Dag said...

This particular blog covers many aspects of life in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Much of that coverage centres on the povertarians who I so amiably refer to as Death Hippies. The blogger who write here is courageous and daring and always very close to assault of various sorts from the Stalinist forces who rule that area of the city. They are dangerous as well as despicable people. My hat is off to the blogger.

As well, and though it won't likely make the major news outlets, there are free speech issues here that echo and pre-date the Mcleans/ Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant stories: Rachel Davis and Bill Simpson, immediately coming to mind. these people, and Rachel in particular have few media advantages, relying solely on bloggers to help them in their battles against the entrenched privilege of the povertarians with their multi-million dollar grants and salaries to make the lives of the destitute in this city more miserable than they would otherwise be.

A victory for Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant and Kathy Shaidle and others is a victory for the downtrodden in Vancouver as well, though one might not encounter them otherwise to know what good comes of these greater profile battles.

All the best to all, and to you.

PelaLusa said...

Wow, this is an excellent, and detailed reporting of the week's events. I wish I had found your blog earlier. It's currently being linked from none other than Mark Steyn himself.

Kudos on a job well done!

Robert W.

Dag said...

Hey, we've met at Covenant Zone a number of times. Good to see you again.

If I may promote our friend and colleague here, please keep in touch with the scene, as it were, on the downtown eastside of Vancouver in all its ... well, details.

And all the best to Mark Steyn.

PelaLusa said...

I want only the best for all of the people of the Downtown Eastside. My views about overcoming drug addiction are well known and pretty much identical to David Berner's, who quite highly regarded in some circles on the subject.

But this view puts us at odds with the current establishment, the Neil Boyd's of the world, and many in the media. C'est la vie.

I do my part though, as several computers from my not-for-profit foundation, BC Digital Divide go to people down there.

And later this year I'm start a new business initiative on the Internet, where a minimum of 50% of the profits will go to similar philanthropy. But never a hand out, always a hand up!

Rachel Davis said...

Good to hear from you, Robert, I went to your site, and watched the youtube of the Global TV story and I am really happy you are out there doing this. For sure I know where my computer gear is going now! Thanks for doing this.

can't_believe_it said...

Muslims are a blight on Canadian Society. None of them can be trusted. If they don't like the idea that Canadians don't trust them, they should move. I don't want to live in fear to spare their feelings, I was here first. SEND THEM BACK HOME!!! Islam is a terrorist cult, nothing more. anyone who professes to be islamic should be deported!!! there's lots of desert in the middle east...GO HOME TO OSAMMA. We dont want or need you. Take the Khadr's with you!...If you are willing, we'll give you Taliban Jack, and his mistress Ely Mae as well.

Pelalusa said...

Dear "Can't Believe It":

I have several close Muslim friends who are as much Westernized as you & me. They love Canada and most were born here.

I'm the furthest thing from Mister Politically Correct, but your blanket hateful rant accomplishes nothing.

Robert W.