– The following message is sponsored by StandWithEzra.ca –
I’m not going to be on TV tonight.
I am being sued by Khurrum Awan, the former youth president of the extremist Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC).
You’ll recall that Awan and the CIC were the ones who took Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal back in 2008, trying to censor them too.
This is “lawfare” – Awan is using this lawsuit as a weapon to shut me up. It’s not the first time this has happened to me. You’ll recall that when I published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, a radical Muslim imam dragged through a 900-day human rights complaint, too.
The purpose of lawfare is simple: it’s to punish political opponents, and to scare off other journalists or political leaders from saying the same thing. It’s designed to chill public discussions about controversial issues.
See, even if they lose the lawsuit, they still win.
Awan and the CIC actually lost their complaint against Steyn. But they still declared victory. As Awan boasted back then: “we attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.”
He admits that lawfare is his official strategy.
The thing is, I’m not anti-Muslim. As you know, I have pro-freedom Muslims on the show all the time – great Canadians like Raheel Raza and Tarek Fatah, and I’ve worked with amazing liberty-loving Muslim Canadians in my political career too.
What I’m against is Islamic fascism. I’m talking about the intolerant forms of Islam, like the dominant varieties in Saudi Arabia and Iran, that treat women as second-class citizens, hate Jews and Christians, and in extreme cases, commit violence and terrorism. We’ve even seen terrorists arrested in Canada, with violent plots to blow up everything from VIA Rail to the CN Tower.
The Canadian Islamic Congress isn’t a terrorist group of course. But they publicly state that terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah should be legalized in Canada. Seriously – that’s how far out they are.
So you can see why I absolutely must stand my ground and fight this lawsuit.
I’m going to save my specific legal arguments for the court room. If you’re in Toronto this week, feel free to come by to show your support – I’d really like that. The trial starts every day at 10 a.m. on the seventh floor of the court house, at 393 University Avenue. I hear Mark Steyn might even be there, too!
And we’ll collect any press coverage each night and publish it on my website, www.StandWithEzra.ca. That’s a great place to see the background on this case – Awan’s lawsuit, my defence, and news coverage so far.
There’s one more thing I’d like to ask you. I’m a bit shy to do it, but I must: can you please help me cover my legal fees?
Awan is suing me for things I wrote about Steyn’s trial, which was before I worked for the Sun News Network. So I am not covered by the Sun’s lawyers, as I am for things I say on TV now. I have to foot these legal bills on my own. I don’t have a big financial benefactor.
I love to fight for freedom and I’m looking forward to making my case in court. That’s the easy part, for me. The hard part is paying the tens of thousands of dollars that a trial costs. And I think that’s what Awan and the CIC are counting on.
That’s the whole point of lawfare. They know I have a young family to support. They know that making me spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawsuits is the best way to hurt me.
If I were completely alone, I don’t know how I would pay the bills. But I know I’m not alone. I’ve got you on my side.
If you agree with me that this is an important fight – a fight that will have ramifications for all of us – then please consider contributing to my legal defence fund. On my website, www.StandWithEzra.ca there’s a PayPal button, where you can chip in $5 or $50 or $500 – whatever you can.
It’s not just that I want to win for my own sake. God forbid, if I lose, a terrible precedent will be set for all of us – for every Canadian, but especially for other journalists and politicians who want to talk about radical Islam, and the censorship of human rights commissions.
It will immediately become legally risky for anyone to speak out – to identify and fight radical Islam, to speak out against terrorism and its sympathizers, to condemn honour killings, to fight against censorship.
There will be a great chill that descends on this important national debate. Too many Canadians are already afraid to be politically incorrect. If speaking out against radical Islam becomes legally risky, even fewer will do so in the future.
You know me: like Mark Steyn, I’m a happy warrior. I try to fight for freedom with a smile. I sure will in court this week. I’ll do my part, I promise.
Can you please help me out?
It would mean the world to me – and it could mean a lot for Canadian freedom too.
P.S. You can contribute safely and securely via PayPal, at www.StandWithEzra.ca.
P.P.S. If you prefer to send a cheque, please make it payable to “Chitiz Pathak LLP in Trust” and write “Ezra Levant defence fund” in the memo line. Please mail it to:
LLP Barristers & Solicitors
320 Bay St., Suite 1600
P.P.P.S. Thanks again. Now let’s go win this thing!