Saturday, October 02, 2010

In which Islamophobia becomes official government policy

...and the Speech Warriors™ crash and burn.

Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence, has shut down a scheduled speech by Imam Zijad Delic, a Muslim originally from Bosnia, because someone else from somewhere else made some unacceptable remarks on a little-known television program six years ago.

Delic, currently the Executive Director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was in the news not long ago for signing a fatwa opposing violence and in favour of gender equality. That's nothing new for him: as early as 2003 he denounced inflammatory comments by Ottawa Imam Gamal Solaiman, and in 2005 he forthrightly condemned anti-Semitic remarks by the incendiary
Sheik Younus Kathrada of BC.

Not good enough.

Delic spoke in 2008 at a similar function at the Department of National Defence. Speech Warrior-in-chief Ezra Levant was beside himself at the time, as he so often is. He ludicrously accused Delic of supporting "Saudi-style censorship" (Saudi, Bosnian, whatever) and linked to this article
which, it must be said, falls somewhat short of that benchmark.

This time, the ubiquitous Charles McVety undoubtedly played a part in having Delic's address cancelled, claiming that Delic's very presence at DND constituted a security risk. MacKay's subsequent denial that McVety had anything to do with it are frankly implausible. McVety, a frightful right-wing Christianist, is a close friend of Stephen Harper, and we know very well that not a single leaf can stir on the trees of Ottawa without the latter's express permission.

Meanwhile, the Speech Warriors
, who have never found a Nazi or a raving homophobe not worth defending to the death, are celebrating their role in shutting Delic down.

Delic himself, who has always promoted the integration of Muslims within Canadian society, sounds deeply shocked, as I think most of us would be in his shoes:

I don't know why [MacKay] decided this. His decision is totally unfounded, it's baseless. This decision tells me quite a lot in terms of how [the government] is disengaged from the Canadian Muslim community.

It hurts definitely. Knowing my background, knowing what I've done with building bridges with different interfaith groups, this definitely undermines many of the activities we have done.

On October 1, 2010, the government of Canada effectively announced that Muslim Canadians, of whatever stripe and whatever origin, are second-class citizens, hatemongers and jihadists. And the Speech Warriors™ proudly declared themselves to be in a state of irredeemable hypocrisy.

UPDATE: (October 3) Yet more from the "free speech" crowd.

UPPERDATE: (October 4) The speech Zijad Delic wasn't permitted to deliver. [via John Geddes, h/t reader Holly Stick]

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