When a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published a series of cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in a “disrespectful” fashion in 2005, a radical Muslim cleric incited protests which erupted into violence in Pakistan, among other places, and resulted in a number of deaths to innocent civilians. The incidents provoked a clash of values: western freedoms of speech and press against strict Islamic law, or Sharia. Many publications reprinted the cartoons to show they could not be intimidated and to show solidarity with the Danish publishers.
One who printed the cartoons was Ezra Levant in Alberta, Canada. Radical Muslim leaders entered a complaint against him with the local “Human Rights Commission,” not unlike the charges brought against columnist Mark Steyn (whose “crime” was directly quoting a radical Imam in his book).
Here are some videos from Levant’s Inquisition – I mean, “hearing” – before the Alberta Human Rights Commission, found via Little Green Footballs. The first is Levant’s opening statement:
Here, in a truly Orwellian turn of events, the Commissar – I mean, “Commissioner” – asks about Levant’s intent when he published the cartoons, setting him up for “thought crime” charges:
Here Levant addresses the “threat of violence” against religious institutions:
Our Canadian friends need to reel in their out-of-control “Human Rights” Commissions while they still can. If they don’t do so immediately and effectively, we should consider building a fence along our northern border as well.
UPDATE: It turns out that Mark Steyn used to write for Levant. He comments on the “hearing” at The Corner:
Ms McGovern, a blandly unexceptional bureaucrat, is a classic example of the syndrome. No “vulnerable” Canadian Muslim has been attacked over the cartoons, but the cartoonists had to go into hiding, and a gang of Muslim youths turned up at their children’s grade schools, and Muslim rioters around the world threatened death to anyone who published them, and even managed to kill a few folks who had nothing to do with them. Nonetheless, upon receiving a complaint from a Saudi imam trained at an explicitly infidelophobic academy and who’s publicly called for the introduction of sharia in Canada, Shirlene McGovern decides that the purely hypothetical backlash to Muslims takes precedence over any actual backlash against anybody else.
Jay Tea adds: Mr. Levant keeps adding more and more video of his “Horatius At The Bridge” stand, and I’m going to keep adding them to Jim’s piece here as they go up.