Don’t fear the Islamic Party of Ontario

A curious entry on Elections Ontario’s list of reserved political party names has galvanized Ontarians concerned about creeping Sharia.

As first noted by Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah, the provincial elections agency has granted a hold on the name Islamic Party of Ontario, generally the first step towards formally registering a party to field candidates in the province’s elections.

As a preamble to its policies and principles, a page on the would-be party’s website touts the opening line of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms avowing “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law” to justify its desire to make all laws in “obedience and according to the will of God.”

After several bullet points about Islamic history and apologetics, the Islamic Party of Ontario unequivocally says its stances on all issues are rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

This means an Islamic government would abandon capitalism in favour of “interest-free capital and worker partnership economy,” enshrine the right to food and shelter, and guarantee equality of opportunity for immigrants and native-born Canadians alike.

Utopic as this may sound to some, the party would also ban gay marriage, abortion, alcohol and gambling, as well as any sexual relations outside of marriage. The party also says “obscenity, vulgarity, nudity and perversion must be checked,” though it doesn’t specify an all-out ban. (Yay?)

While the Islamic party says it upholds freedom of speech, it also commits to a “strict law to ban blasphemy.” I don’t envy the judges who have to balance those rights.

Canadians may find areas of agreement with the Islamic party platform. Several of the social positions would be supported by evangelical Christians, while the economics are on par with those you’d expect from many left-wing parties.

Of course, some interpretations of the Qur’an prescribe the death penalty for apostasy. I couldn’t even manage to get elected while championing tax cuts, which strikes me as an easier sell than this.

Most Canadians will find the Islamic Party of Ontario’s values to be unpalatable even for private belief let alone state enforcement. The party is no more relevant than the Communist Party of Ontario or Go Vegan, which both ran candidates in last year’s Ontario election.

Setting aside the religious fervor most vegans have, the Islamic Party of Ontario would, if registered, be Ontario’s only faith-based party.

In response to backlash from conservatives, I’ve seen some on the left try to compare the Islamic party to the federal Christian Heritage Party. Unlike the IPO, which wants a full-throated Muslim theocracy, the CHP seeks only to make Judeo-Christian values the basis of law. Even so, both parties have about as much a chance at winning a seat, which is to say zero.

Some Muslim voters may support the party based on name alone. It may even find a bit of support in Don Valley West, the riding encompassing the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood nicknamed “Halal heaven.”

Either way, it will remain a fringe party with no power or credibility in Canada, not worth the fear or scorn so many are affording it.

People should be concerned about the Islamist influences targeting mainstream, electable political parties.

There are suit-wearing apologists for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood wandering the corridors of power in Canada who believe the same things as the Islamic Party of Ontario but are far less brazen about expressing them.

It’s quite common to see a couple of notable organizations touted as mainstream and moderate voices for Islam and Muslims, when their values and funding tell a different story.

The anti-Islamophobia motion passed by the Liberals is the by-product of a push from one such group.

The real danger to Canadian institutions and values comes in the subtle and subversive way this influence has come about.

The Islamic Party of Ontario is about as subtle as Madonna twerking in downtown Riyadh.

We must actually watch those who try to overhaul Canadian democracy through legitimate—or seemingly legitimate—organizations. These groups have found audiences with pandering politicians of all stripes because of the political class’s eagerness to shore up support from specific ethnic and religious communities.

These groups also have a war chest that’s allowed them to successfully sue numerous Canadian media companies into silence, meaning they’re rarely, if ever, exposed.

These battles are taking place in the shadows of Canada. We should be grateful the Islamic Party of Ontario is at least being honest about its goals.

In conversation with Tommy Robinson

Tommy Robinson carried a prison bag into London’s famous Old Bailey courthouse last week, expecting he’d be headed to jail after a contempt of court hearing.

That hearing never happened. The judge instead referred the case to the attorney general, which Robinson and his legal team had wanted all along. It was passionate personal statement from Robinson that swayed the judge.

This may be the end of the road for Robinson’s legal trials, but it won’t be for Robinson himself, who is still on a mission to expose the rape and grooming gangs that have popped up around the United Kingdom and Europe.

When I left Canada for the England, I wrote here that my coverage for the True North Initiative was for two purposes: I wanted to cover the case in a way the mainstream press has proven itself unable to, and also to get to the bottom of who and what Robinson really is.

The night before his court appearance, I sat down with Robinson one-on-one to talk about his legal ordeal, and more pointedly whether his beliefs align with how the media characterize them.

These interviews are only possible by your support, so please do consider becoming a member of the True North Initiative, to get exclusive access to content like this before it’s made public, and also some extra goodies.

It’s illegal to defame Muhammad, European human rights court rules

If you dare to criticize the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Europe, prepare to pay for it. Literally.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled this week that an Austrian woman broke the law in 2009 when she gave two seminars in which she accused Muhammad of being a pedophile, based on his marriage to Aisha.

Scholars say Aisha was likely six or seven years old at the time, though the marriage wasn’t consummated until she was nine or 10.

Despite the historic record, the ECHR decision, which upheld an earlier Austrian criminal court ruling, said the woman’s remarks go “beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace.”

As of press time, the ECHR had regretfully not been razed to the ground.

That’s the only solution I can propose for a body that so effortlessly brings back blasphemy law and codifies political correctness.

Understandably, Muslims aren’t keen on their prophet being mocked. I don’t blame them. As a Christian, I don’t like it when an artist tours the world with a crucifix soaked in urine. Freedom requires people of faith sucking it up when others don’t share their reverence.

Incidentally, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, so Muhammad hardly needs the public relations help from European judicial bureaucrats.

The perpetrator was fined €480 for the offence, and also had to pay for the proceedings against her. I can’t imagine that was all that cheap considering the case spanned for nine years.

Almost a decade to determine that free speech isn’t important. The woman tried to argue it was, but the ECHR said its decision “carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

You read that right. Religious feelings. The “feelings” of Muslims are more important than everyone’s fundamental right to criticize religion, or anything really.

The timing of this is interesting for me, having just returned from the United Kingdom where I was covering the case of Tommy Robinson, a vocal critic of Islamism. In an interview with Robinson, which will be published in the coming days, I challenged him on what I see as an uncomfortably broad brush he uses to define and characterize Islam.

The “Muhammad is a pedophile” argument is not a particularly new one from anti-Muslim activists. Muslims don’t dispute the timeline of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, but do defend the union based on historical context and traditions that suggest it wasn’t atypical, disgusting as it is by today’s standards.

Today, it’s difficult to imagine anyone taking issue with you for calling a 50-something married to a seven-year old a pedophile. Hence the absurdity of the state—or in the case of the European Court of Human Rights, a judicial body above any one country—carving out special protection for Muhammad, or any religious figure.

What’s next, a fine for calling Buddha fat?

Part of free speech means not having to be civil, and not having to justify why you say something. And that doesn’t mean speech is always free of consequences, but in this case the court wasn’t even interested in whether there were any.

The ECHR said the woman’s comments “could” spark some sort of prejudice.

Criticizing Muhammad means you’re taking your life into your own hands, as numerous incidents have shown over the last 15 years. From threats against those involved in producing the infamous Danish cartoons to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo’s office, blood has been shed for the right to be uncivil and offensive.

Now, if the terrorists don’t get you, the government will.

Who is Tommy Robinson?

I write this from the departure lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport, an hour before a flight to the United Kingdom where I’ll endeavor to answer that very question.

Is he an activist or a rabble-rouser? A martyr or a scofflaw? A freedom fighter or a hate monger?

More importantly, do any of these matter when it comes to the question of due process?

Robinson, the pseudonym of English Defense League founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, will once again be in court Tuesday, facing a contempt of court hearing at the legendary Old Bailey in London.

I’ll be there. Not as a cheerleader for Tommy, or for anyone for that matter. I’m going to London to get the facts, and cover a case with implications beyond Tommy, and beyond the United Kingdom.

At stake is whether Robinson knowingly and wilfully broke a publication ban when he hosted a 75-minute Facebook Live stream in May outside the Leeds Crown Court.

The stream took place as a number of young Muslim men were facing trial in a case involving allegations of mass sexual grooming and trafficking in Huddersfield. Robinson filmed men he thought were defendants heading into the courthouse and discussed public record facts of the case, as well as broader musings about Islam and immigration.

He wasn’t discussing the proceedings of the case, if for no other reason than he wasn’t even in the court to know what was happening.

Robinson was already on thin ice in the eyes of the justice system, however, having been found guilty of contempt in a separate (though eerily similar case) in Canterbury, for which he was given a suspended sentence of three months.

In the Leeds stream, he was very cautious, even referring to the case’s publication ban and confirming with his colleagues that he was staying within its parameters. Or so he thought.

The grooming trial judge not only had Robinson arrested, but also tried, convicted and sentenced. All in less than five hours. The judge didn’t even review the full video in the makeshift hearing.

So Robinson was off to prison with a 13-month sentence. Much of the time he spent behind bars was in solitary confinement. He was ultimately freed in August when a judge threw out the earlier contempt finding, arguing there were numerous errors in judgment and fact in the earlier judge’s decision.

On Tuesday, the court will host what is effectively a retrial of what happened so hastily back in May.

As an independent columnist, foreign junkets aren’t typically an option for me. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to cover this case thanks to a crowdfunding campaign by Ezra Levant and the Rebel.

There was only one condition with this grant—that I cover the trial. I’m not doing this on the Rebel’s behalf, and neither it nor Levant have any oversight of my coverage. This was an important stipulation for me, as Robinson used to work for the Rebel.

Levant admits he’s a fan of Tommy Robinson. I’m not approaching it from the same place. My interest in this case is because I’m a fan of due process.

In Robinson’s history I see decisions that can be characterized at best as lapses in judgement, or at worst something more grim. I disagree with many of his proclamations on Islam, in particular his belief that the religion is inherently a negative force.

He says lots of individual Muslims are good, peace-loving people, but that this is in spite of Islam, and never because of it. When I sit down with Robinson for an interview this week, this will be one of the points I challenge him on.

When it comes to the contempt of court charge, however, none of this matters. I could find him loathsome and disagreeable on every count (I don’t) and it wouldn’t take away my belief in his deservingness of due process.

Unfortunately, the British justice system and the British press have not extended such a courtesy. That’s why I’m covering this case for myself.

Robinson was subjected to a judicial witchhunt that has everything to do with what he believes and nothing to do with anything he actually did, let alone whether his actions threatened the integrity of a critical trial.

The importance of due process, fair trials, and the right to espouse the kinds of beliefs Robinson does are universal issues. They are not exclusive to the United Kingdom, which is why this case is one of global interest.

I’m taking a stand for freedom and fairness by covering this trial. While I’m there, I want to find out whether this livestreamer from Luton is as bad as the media says he is.