Should hate speech be illegal?

By RHONDA SPIVAK
June 18, 2009 11:43
1 minute read.

 
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Ezra Levant, publisher of Canada's now defunct 'Western Standard' magazine, was investigated in a highly controversial case by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission for reprinting Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Levant says he "made an editorial decision" after riots had taken place in Syria and Iran revolving around these cartoons. He says they were reprinted "because our readers wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Not even the Danish cartoonists themselves [nor any of the European newspapers who'd republished the cartoons] were ever hauled in to answer for what they'd done." As Levant has written in his new book, 'Shakedown', after he published the cartoons, a Calgary imam filed a complaint with Alberta's Human Rights Commission. "He cited verses from the Koran in his complaint. I was investigated for 900 days. It was a fatwa being prosecuted by a secular human rights commission. They lost. I won. But not really - I'm out $100,000 in legal costs," says Levant. He contends that there ought to be no regulation at all of hate speech by human rights commissions or by the criminal law. "Jewish organizations think that these hate speech laws will only be used to protect them," he says, "but they'll also be used against them. The very hate laws are now being used against the Jews and non-Jewish Zionists by radical Islam."

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