Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Bit More on Elmasry

Last post I wrote about Mohamed Elmasry, a professor at University of Waterloo and head of the Canadian Islamic Congress. I've collected more information on him here.

In September 2004 he called for alcohol to be banned from campuses. He said that his position did not derive from the Islamic point of view, but I sure wonder; seems a little weird that the leader of an Islamic political group would call for the banning of alcohol and it not have anything to do with Islam when Islam involves just that. If I would guess, I'd say he was trying to gain support for his organisation by calling for more implementation of sharia law. And indeed, Elmasry supported the introduction of sharia courts for family issues.

One month later he said all Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets of suicide bombings. There was, of course, much brouhaha about this, with the angry letter writing and calls for resignation and all. The comments were even investigated as hate crimes. You might think this ironic considering that Elmasry speaks so thoroughly against hate speech:
In fact, the swollen hate-language of anti-Islam voice messages received recently by the CIC, reads as if the callers were trying to outdo Falwell and his colleagues: "Muhammad was a pedophile, a mass murder, a demon-possessed maniac, a false prophet," said one. "Islam is a false religion. The Qur'an and the Hadith are both books of lies and deception," said another. And so on; it is offensive even to repeat such words in making a case against them. There was no doubt that those who left these, and messages like them, could be charged with hate-crime.
But how could they possibly be charged with hate crimes for saying those things? As he is portrayed in the Islamic texts, he was a pedophile -- he consummated his marriage with Aisha when she was only 9 years old. He was a mass murderer -- he killed or expelled all the Jews from Medina. He was demon-possessed -- that was the whole issue of the Satanic verses, where the devil possessed him to write certain things into the Quran. And that he was a false-prophet -- wouldn't pretty much every non-Muslim hold this belief? How could making any statement about a character of a literary work be considered a hate crime? Let alone ones that are, in the relevant sense, true? Elmasry is blinded to all reason by his devotion to Mohammed.

Indeed, Elmasry seems to have a thing for defending Mohammed's make-believe honour. When the Western Standard republished the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Elmasry was on the case as well, saying that "his organization will seek to have charges laid against the magazine under Canada's laws against distributing hate literature." Of course, it was never charged, because the images aren't hate speech -- though, admittedly, many Muslims hate them because they were poignant criticisms of their ideology.

Hate speech according to Mohamed Elmasry:

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