Mark Steyn has commented recently in National Review‘s “Corner” group ‘blog on the attempts by the York (Ontario) Regional Police to intimidate a suburban Toronto synagogue into rescinding its invitation to speak for Pamela Geller, a New York-based supporter of Israel and chronicler of the jihad:
“Excluded by the Inclusion Cops” (2 May 2013)
As some readers will know, I’ve fought a long battle in Canada to restore freedom of speech to a country that should never have allowed itself to lose it. So I find this example of naked intimidation by state power especially repugnant:
Pamela Geller, tireless campaigner against Islamic imperialism…was scheduled to give a speech at a Toronto synagogue on May 13th. Miss Geller is not a convicted terrorist or terrorism-supporter or someone who argues for the execution of all homosexuals. If she were, she could speak at any Canadian venue with impunity….
….I’m tired of being told what I’m allowed to read and hear by statist hacks like Inspector Veerappan….
Get lost, creep. In free societies, a constabulary isn’t there to enforce its “values”, it’s there to uphold the law…..
“The Bureau of Diversity Compliance” (4 May 2013):
….[T]he fact that the York Regional Police think it is [up to the police to "endorse" speech] testifies to how deep runs the spongey, insinuating soft-totalitarian rot of “diversity”. ….
….[I]t is not the job of a police force to enforce its “values”, but to uphold the law – without favor. If you want an ideological police force that enforces “values”, try Riyadh or Waziristan.
The York Regional Police should not have a “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau”. And, having no understanding of the proper role of a police officer in a free society, Inspector Ricky Veerappan should be compelled to seek alternative employment…..
….Whether the job threat was real, and whether anyone agrees or not with Geller’s views, Veerappan’s conduct is appalling. Canadians expect police to respect Charter provisions protecting freedom of speech. They are not supposed to act as censors at the behest of a particular community.
Unfortunately, the desire of some to stifle the freedoms of others with whom they disagree has become all too common. Journalists Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were dragged before human rights tribunals by those who objected to their opinions about Islam. A speaking engagement by right-wing commentator Ann Coulter at the University of Ottawa was shut down by demonstrators. The Canadian government has tried to keep out George Galloway, a left-wing British politician hostile toward Israel. In Geller’s case, members of York Region’s Muslim community – of which Veerappan is a member – reportedly wanted the immigration minister’s office to keep her out of the country.
Interestingly, Veerappan’s conduct offends other Muslims. In a letter to York police chief Eric Jolliffe, Salim Mansur, a University of Western Ontario academic, wrote: “I am appalled that … we continue to hear regularly how the liberal democratic tradition of Canada and the West is being systematically shredded by institutions sworn to protect it.”….
The outstanding Canadian political journalist Ezra Levant wrote a top-of-the-line defense of Miss Geller for the influential Toronto Sun:
….Most Canadians don’t know who she is, but she did something for us that no Canadian did: She arranged for a proper gravestone for Aqsa Parvez, the teenaged Canadian girl murdered by her father and brother in a so-called honour killing in 2007….
….Veerappan was happy to tell QMI Agency: “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities.”
Really? Like what – offering a proper burial for girls killed in honour killings? Standing up for women’s rights, against shariah law? Warning against terrorism? But even if her values were “wrong,” what business is that of a cop? Do guest speakers at synagogues now have to register their opinions in advance with the police?
So that’s who’s banned. But who’s welcome?….
….That’s Canadian “diversity, equity and inclusion.” Our police will bully a Jewish rabbi into cancelling a speech from a Jewish New Yorker whose chief contribution to our country was to give Aqsa Parvez a proper gravestone.
But a convicted terrorist? No problem! Help yourself to our leading universities, paid for by public tax dollars. Maybe police will even provide security – to keep out any troublesome Jews.
Miss Geller’s Web site, Atlas Shrugs, is included in the SELECTED READING LIST in July 4, 2014; so it was with great pleasure that July 4, 2014 author D. C. Alan had the important opportunity to see Miss Geller speak at “CPAC” on Saturday, March 16:
Miss Geller received media attention in 2011 and 2012 when her attempts to place paid advertisements promoting her message in the New York transit system led to a successful lawsuit in federal court after Metropolitan Transit Authority officials initially refused to accept the advertisement. (In fact, the presiding judge in the case, Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York, went so far as to nullify the entire so-called “no-demeaning standard” section of the MTA code, § 5.05(B)(11), that had been invoked to refuse Miss Geller’s advertisement – link opens to a Microsoft Word “.docx” transcript of the decision from Atlas Shrugs.) The article “Anti-Muslim groups’ ad in NYC subway calls jihad ‘savage.’ Is now a good time?”, by Ron Scherer in The Christian Science Monitor, is typical of the “mainstream media” coverage. Perhaps the most astonishing sentence in Mr. Scherer’s article is: “…[I]t is likely to provoke a debate over how far the First Amendment right extends in a city with a large Muslim population.” It is not clear on what constitutional grounds the size of any particular population has anything remotely whatsoever to do with how far the First Amendment right extends (or on what moral grounds the rights to political speech justifiably could be limited). The prevalence of such anti-freedom thinking is one of the reasons why July 4, 2014 encourages defenders of liberty to explore the options for establishing a separate society.
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