PRESS RELEASE: Canadian Muslims Call for ‘Consistent’ Government Stand on Free Speech
(OTTAWA, Canada, March 31, 2009) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) in an open letter today to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, called on the federal government to adopt a “consistent” position on free speech and foreign speakers entering Canada. In its open letter, CAIR-CAN highlighted that virulent anti-Muslim American writer Brigitte Gabriel is slated to speak in Toronto on April 2, 2009 to a prominent Jewish organization, whereas other foreign speakers, on the grounds of hateful commentary, have been denied entry.
“To be clear, we fundamentally value freedom of speech and expression in Canada as enshrined in our Charter of Rights & Freedoms. We are not calling for Ms. Gabriel to be denied entry into Canada but for a consistent standard to be applied by the Government of Canada at all times. When foreign nationals are selectively banned from entry into Canada for their commentary it sends the message that freedom of speech and hate speech are arbitrarily measured,” wrote CAIR-CAN Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
“Canadian Muslims and their fellow citizens of conscience are deeply concerned about the nature and content of the message Ms. Gabriel intends to communicate at her scheduled speech in Toronto on April 2, 2009. As such, we respectfully request that your office takes steps to make sure her speech is carefully monitored by local authorities and, if it does contravene the hate-speech laws governing Canada, take appropriate legal action,” Gardee added.
Gabriel, whom the New York Times has called a “radical Islamophobe”, has publicly said “every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that a “practising Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”
CAIR-CAN is a national, not-for-profit, grassroots organization with a vision to be a leading voice that encourages Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.
To read the letter visit:
Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111
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