The CBC reports:
A Muslim group plans to publish a new national newspaper in four cities on Tuesday, spurred in part by the controversy over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.Sounds like multicultural harmony, eh, a mainstream Muslim organization acting resonsibly and in a proper respect for free speech? That nasty cartoon incident was just a product of our ignorance of how to deal with two competing but morally equal values, an ignorance the CBC can rectify. Well, another CBC report on this story casts a more admonitory tone on the matter:
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada officially launched the Muslim Free Press in a ceremony in Toronto on Saturday. It will be distributed in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.
Published in English and French, it will cover topics ranging from Canadian and international news to politics and health issues from a Muslim perspective.
The council is a Calgary-based national group that tries to promote a wider understanding of the teachings of Islam and issues affecting Muslims.
Syed Soharwardy, council president and publisher and chief executive officer of the new paper, said both the publications and the protests showed a growing misunderstanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.
"Canadian Muslims were not as forthcoming to understand the Canadian values of freedom of the press and freedom of religion," Soharwardy told CBC News.
On the other hand, "mainstream Canadians were not able to understand why Muslims [were] protesting," he said.
Soharwardy said he hopes the new paper will help bridge the gap in understanding and help create interfaith dialogue.
The paper's editorial board, for instance, includes Christian and Hindu members. As well, Tuesday's inaugural issue features articles discussing Passover and Easter.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada will soon launch a newspaper called the Muslim Free Press in response to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in two Alberta-based publications.
"All interested Canadians will have the opportunity to express their opinions freely but with civility," the council said of the new paper, which will be officially unveiled in Toronto on April 15.
More rallies were held on the weekend by Muslim Canadians who say the drawings denigrate the Prophet.
In downtown Vancouver on Saturday, speakers denounced the drawings, saying freedom of the press does not include the right to insult religious sentiments.
Another demonstration organized by the Muslim group United Front Canada will be staged in Toronto on Sunday afternoon at the Ontario legislature.
Now let us turn to the Judeoscope report on this story:
[Judeoscope quotes] From Hour Magazine:Judeoscope then comments:
Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, was one of the most vocal critics in Canada of the recent controversy over the September 2005 publication in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of 12 editorial cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Now, beginning April 15, Soharwardy will get to express his views as editor-in-chief of Canada’s first national Muslim biweekly newspaper, the English-language Muslim Free Press.
"I’ve been thinking about publishing a paper for a long time, but the cartoon controversy exposed how the mainstream media need to understand the values of Islam and Muslim culture," Soharwardy told Hour this week. "Those cartoons do not refer to freedom of speech. They defame Islam. They defame the entire Muslim community."
Syed Soharwardy, who leads the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Comission against the Western Standard over its reprint of the infamous Mohammed cartoons, calling it “intellectual terrorism”. The Commission has accepted to consider the complaint which, however, is expected to be dismissed. When he first announced the creation of his publication on February 20,2006, in the midst of the cartoon affair, he stated its objective was to better educate Canadians about Islam. Suprisingly, it seems the paper will be exclusively distributed in mosques, places not usually visited by Canadians in need of better understanding Islam. His Alberta-based organization, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, was little known until the cartoon affair and even less known is its actual constituency. What does seem certain, though, is that Soharwardy, through nuisance litigiousness and this new publication, is seeking more media and public attention, something more sophisticated Canadian Islamic groups which advocated a non-confrontational approach in the cartoon affair may not welcome. As to the orientation of the new publication, Soharwardy’s own writing may give us a clue of what can be expected:Go to Judeoscope to check out their Soharwardy writings links.
So it seems the CBC is treating a radical Muslim who is pompous enough to call his marginal organization, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, as a responsible person balancing the rights of free speech with Muslim sensitivities, when he is in fact someone who wants to shut up any criticism of Muslims for, precisely, being resistant to free speech. Soharwardy would no doubt agree with the summary of the Vancouver protestors' claim in the second CBC report: "speakers denounced the drawings, saying freedom of the press does not include the right to insult religious sentiments."
But if free speech doesn't inclue the right to criticize religion, then there is no such thing as free speech: the very essence of this freedom must be either to redefine what we hold sacred, or, on the other side of the coin, to erode the sacrality of whatever ideas people presently hold. Once again, we see an organ of the Canadian state - the CBC, full of leftists living off of our tax dollars - reporting from the perspective of a multiculti fantasy world where everyone can get along if only irreconcilably competing claims were just treated as if they were not irreconcilable, and as if people who were out to destroy Canadian values were good Canadians themselves.
The thought crosses my mind that the CBC, being full of leftists, might have some memory of Herbert Marcuse's concept - this was a big idea in the sixties, and you can still find moonbat professors who teach it - of "repressive tolerance". As Eric Gans describes Marcuse, in the course of an essay on the historically changing nature of our resentment:
...The idea of the Jews as both a faceless mass and an individualized set of conspirators, each performing his specific task for the good of all--and the ruin of all others--makes the Jew the sole successful negotiator of the transition from individual to collective identity, and consequently the primary victim of the transition from individual to collective resentment.Perhaps the CBC is just out to teach the radical Muslims that they too must come to terms with the repressive tolerance of the system, unless, that is, they have the individual or collective will to do something about it, as those who have been bought off by the CBC (er taxpayers) don't, whatever their occasional posturing. As the tenured radicals that came of age in the sixties were treated, the CBC is prepared to treat the likes of Soharwardy: as if he were a normal player on the Canadian stage, no matter what he says. No matter what he says, he will just be treated according to some multiculti ideal. He will be simultaneously heard and forgotten.
One of the more endearingly pathological expressions of this transition is Herbert Marcuse's now-forgotten One-Dimensional Man, published in 1964, just in time to foment the Great Revolt of 1968. Marcuse complains that, in the USSR as in the USA, the Establishment has so seduced the population with tawdry wish-fulfillments that the other-dimensional revolutionary spirit has been killed off. This operation is particularly egregious in the cultural-intellectual sphere, where radical ideas are granted what he calls repressive tolerance, meaning that people are kept too busy with movies and sex to pay any attention to them. Here the old ideal of the free individual receives its final defense against the temptations of consumer society to which it is fast succumbing. The real horror of repressive tolerance is that it relocates individual self-definition within the marketplace. The economic failure of socialism was not yet apparent in 1964, but its ethical failure, and its eventual collapse, were prefigured in Marcuse's bizarre assimilation of the Soviet system to an abstractly defined consumerism.
Of course they plan to do the same thing with the bloggers. I might cry, "what a waste of energy and money the CBC is", if such "repressive tolerance" were not a necessary part of our system, acceptable to those of us who defend the free market system, even as we defend it against those tenured radicals who do much better from it. On second thoughts, I can so cry, "what a waste" because bloggers and their readers/commenters who stand for freedom can one day reasonably expect to replace much of the legacy media system, precisely because blogging without restraints expands freedom and hence also, among other things, the "repressive tolerance" of the system.
In the meantime, we must consider that maybe the likes of Soharwardy really are a threat to the system. Maybe the progeny of the sixties tenured radicals who never got their revolution, the people being too busy screwing around, will get their revolution if the left and the radical Muslims can come to terms. In which case, we will need news organizations ready to tell the whole truth, or at least a reasonable percentage thereof. The more the CBC shows itself unwilling to tell the whole truth (I would give them about fifteen percent on this Soharwardy story, how would you score it?), the more I will spend my time at this blog calling on the government to shut the Canadian Bull Corporation down. In any case, we at Covenant Zone will insist that Canada stand for freedom and creativity again.
This post will be updated, hopefully later today, with further thoughts on the incompatibility of the ecumene of multiculturalism with the growth of freedom and democratic self-rule.