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

Pathways Employment Centre: A Billion Abusers Served

There is a persistent message conveyed at Pathways Employment Center at Main & Hastings: Abuse is tolerated.

The DTES Enquirer just got a report of yet another abuse incident at Pathways. The woman who reported it was still trembling. This morning, she and another woman and about ten men had been quietly working at computers in the Pathways Computer room. A man wearing sun glasses as he worked on his computer on this overcast rainy day suddenly leaned over and screamed in the ear of one of the women: Why don’t you just shut the fuck up!”. She jumped, she was so startled. She hadn’t been talking, just typing.

The woman went to tell a staff person. “I think he was psychotic," she said. But a staff person, who would later identify herself as Lana, was already on her way into the room, apparently having heard the outburst from her office.

A male witness at a computer on the other side of the room commented when Lana arrived that he too had been startled by the man’s unprovoked outburst. “I jumped off my seat”, he said.

Lana then did what Pathways, including Director Carol Madsen, has gained a reputation for doing: she covered for the abuser.

She told the screamer he could continue working at his computer. She suggested that the woman in whose ear he had screamed find herself another computer. The woman said, “I think the abuser should be asked to go elsewhere, not me.” Lana remained firm. She justified her decision by saying, "He's not doing it any more."

“Could I have your name please,” the woman said to Lana. (She did not know her name at the time.) Lana was reluctant to give her name. After the woman asked three times, she finally gave her name: Lana. "I don't know if it was her real name or not," the woman said, so she described her as having short dark brown hair, medium height, slightly plump, and wearing a green v-neck sweater. The woman asked Lana if she was willing to give her last name.

Then Lana did what povertarians do best.

In a calm voice, she said, “Are you trying to create conflict?” Downtown Eastside residents are onto this tactic. When they speak up about misconduct on the part of a povertarian, the povertarian immediately attempts to present them as a person who is out of line, a person creating conflict or acting like a troublemaker.

Then the man who had screamed earlier lit into Lana. He yelled that she was a “f*cking c*nt”. Lana told him he could still stay and work on his computer. Lana, who by this time was looking like a candidate for a diagnosis of Battered Women’s Syndrome, again told the woman he had screamed at that she could possibly find a computer in the other room. “I’m still shaking,” the woman told Lana as she was closing down the windows on her computer. But Lana was standing by her man.

Then Lana spotted something that she could not overlook. She saw pornography on the man’s computer screen. “That’s it,” she said, “You have to go. Three strikes.”

“So she admitted there had been two previous strikes,” I said, when the woman and a male witness were giving me their account of events. The woman was still trembling when I spoke to her. Not all the men in the computer room minimized this incident the way Lana had. One guy asked the woman, “Are you ok?”

Mr. Three Strikes Your Out did not go gently into the street. He blew up at Lana, calling her a “f*cking c*nt, f*cking this, f*cking that" and telling her she shouldn't use the term "three strikes". He was physically aggressive as he pushed past the table and chairs in the computer room and turned back to tear another strip out of Lana. Afterwards, another woman who had not yet been involved piped up, “I hid in the corner.” Lana said in a calm voice, “That was probably a good idea.”

When the woman – the one who had emerged from hiding in the corner – said she didn’t want them to let that guy come back. Lana again said in a soft voice, “We try to serve everybody.”

Pathways Employment Center: a billion abusers served.