Monday, August 11, 2008

Ezra Levant complaint dismissed by Alberta Human Rights Commission

Two years and about $100,000 of former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant's own money, the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (AHRC) has rejected a complaint against him filed by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities for the republishing of the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

The republication came amidst outcry from the Muslim community, that the cartoons would increase discrimination against them.

"Our whole idea was to educate people," said Yasmeen Nizam, an ECMC director and civil litigation lawyer in Edmonton. "We thought the cartoons did [expose Muslims to hatred], regardless of the context, because if you look at the broader context in a post-9/11 world, Muslims are at a higher risk of being discriminated against."

Levant, a staunch proponent of free speech and freedom of the press, defended his stance vocally, on his personal website, and by posting videos on YouTube. He attributes the dismissal of the complaint to his refusal to sit down.

"I was let go because I'm in the media every day. I've been down to [the U.S.] Congress to testify, I've been on CNN even. That's why I was let go, because if I caused them this much pain just in an investigation, imagine what the trial would be like," he said.

"If I had been a defendant in a civil court, the judge would now order the losing parties to pay my legal bills. Instead, the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities won't have to pay me a dime." Levant estimates that some $500,000 for government bureaucrats, will have been paid by Alberta taxpayers.

Says Levant, "The process I was put through was a punishment in itself - and a warning to any other journalists who would defy radical Islam."

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