Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Imam Strikes Back! Abou Hammaad Sulaiman Al-Hayiti Speaks!

I am unimpressed by the latest CHRC "scandal", and particularly unimpressed by the comparison of Mr. Al-Hayiti's book (L’Islam ou l’Intégrisme?), which the CHRC argued did not meet the Section 13 standard, to the writings of Stephen Boisson, which were judged to have met that standard. Most of my arguments get hashed out in the comments (ignore NAMBLA-Dick) here, but the short version is that Boisson's letter to the Red Deer Advocate triggered a concrete incident of gay bashing by one of Mr. Boisson's associates, and it is pretty easy to interpret his letter in context as a concrete call to action against the local homosexual community (as opposed to Mr. Al-Hayiti's book, in which the offensive language is rather vague).

In any case, while Mr. Boisson has argued his case on various blogs and other online forums, Mr. Al-Hayiti thus far has not. So I fired off a quick email to the yahoo group he is associated with Mr. Al-Hayiti's and asked him:

Would Mr. Al-Hayiti like to respond to the claims in this and other stories that his book contains language likely to expose gays, lesbians, and jews to "hatred and contempt"?

Mr. Al-Hayiti responded as follows:

Maybe the complaint should have been against the Qor'an, the Word of God! Or maybe even against the bible also! Do you think the commission should censor God? Everything I said in my book is from the revelation, not from me! I have nothing else to say.

Thank you!

So there you have it.


Ti-Guy said...

I think a problem with this case is that it seems the Point de Bascule people (who I think are kind of conspiracy nutcases and hysterics) seem to have gone out of their way to find an artifact of Islamist hate speech (and whatever the convert Al-Hayiti wants to claim, it is hate speech) to drag before the commission). Frankly we could do that kind of stuff all day (although the what motivates people to seek out things that offend them has always been a mystery to me...I can't even bear going over to The Blogging Tories). I take a dim view of those kinds of complaints, because it's using the law for retribution and mischief making, not for justice or mediation.

I felt the cases against Macleans (and it should be pointed out that it wasn't a case against Steyn himself or involved the mere publication of his silly book) and The Western Standard were more justifiable, since both those publications present themselves as (arguably) authorities in public discourse and command significant audiences. And The Standard had, over time, developed a solid reputation of chauvinism and bigotry generally and Islamophobia specifically (and that applies to Steyn as well), that it seemed, to me anyway, in the public's interest for a case to be brought against it.

I'm not letting the Imam off the hook; I think his hate speech should be roundly condemned, everywhere. I simply don't care how he rationalises it and I think it's an appalling perspective from which to engage in religious ministry in this country...and that goes for all the other agents of religious-based intolerance.

bigcitylib said...

Actually, TG, that is another aspect that I didn't bother mentioning. I don't think it helps your case to take a complaint to the HRC while claiming that you're not really offended and the only reason you're doing it is to prove something about the process.

MgS said...

Please note that Boissoin's case was reviewed under the Alberta Human Rights Act, and not (directly at least) with respect to S.13 of the Canadian Human Rights legislation.

The unfortunate bit about the assault that is temporally linked to Boissoin's letter is that no charges were ever laid in the case, so there's no public record of who was thought to have done it.

- Just a couple of details...

bigcitylib said...


Right about the act in question. But I'm not the one that first made a comparison between the cases.

Terrence C. Watson said...


"I don't think it helps your case to take a complaint to the HRC while claiming that you're not really offended and the only reason you're doing it is to prove something about the process."

I agree with you on this. I also agree that, according to Section 13, the context a proposition is published in matters, not just its content.

But here's a puzzle (at least for me): now that the Imam's work has been brought to light, would someone have a better shot at launching an HRC complaint against him?

The context has changed, hasn't it? Isn't his work more likely to expose someone to hatred and contempt now than it was before the Point de Bascule got a hold of it?

rabbit said...


Here is part (1) of section 13 of the Human Rights Act:

(1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

It says "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt". Section 13 doesn't say anything about whether someone is offended or harmed by the communication.

The CHRC bizarrely claimed that the writings do not promote hatred or contempt of identifiable and protected group. I am at a loss how one can say that Jews spread corruption and chaos on earth, and not be promoting hatred.