Via StandWithEzra.ca, where you can learn more, send a message of encouragement and donate to Ezra’s legal defense fund:
Today I took the stand in the lawfare trial being waged against me.
All week the court had been listening to Khurrum Awan, the plaintiff. But by the afternoon today, it was my turn to tell my side of the story. I’m back at it tomorrow morning.
I don’t want to give away tomorrow’s testimony here, but I can tell you that I’m going to talk about freedom.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press – that is, the right to say things that I honestly feel, to critically examine ideas, including the idea of radical Islam.
Freedom of religion, too – including the separation of mosque and state. The activist who is suing me was the youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, an organization that campaigns for sharia law. I have the right to oppose that, and not live under it.
I have the right to speak out against bigotry and anti-Semitism – such as the Canadian Islamic Congress’s public support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
And I have the right to criticize Canada’s human rights commissions themselves, with their counterfeit “right not to be offended”. In fact it’s my duty to criticize them – as a citizen and a lawyer myself, I have an obligation to fight for the reform of our justice system where I see that it’s broken. And our human rights commissions are deeply broken – probably beyond repair.
Khurrum Awan was an active participant in one of the most disgraceful human rights commission kangaroo courts in Canadian history – a five-day prosecution of Maclean’s magazine, back in 2008, for publishing an essay about radical Islam by Mark Steyn.
There’s a pattern here. Awan likes to attack those he disagrees with. Here’s what he he was reported to have said after the Steyn hearing: “we attained our strategic objective — to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.”
That’s outrageous. That’s lawfare. And that’s what they’re doing to me this week.
And as a Canadian, I have the right to criticize radical Islam, and its proponents, in a manner that I see fit. I can be serious or funny; I can be calm or I can be passionate. I can be polite. Or I can be rude. It’s called freedom of speech.
If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t listen to me. Buy another newspaper or turn the channel on TV. But in Canada, we don’t censor people for political or religious reasons. We don’t have blasphemy trials for people who criticize radical Islam. We don’t live under sharia law, despite the Canadian Islamic Congress’s best efforts.
I’ll be on the witness stand again tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m. If you’re in Toronto, please feel free to attend at the court house at 393 University Avenue, in room 808. Closing arguments are expected on Monday.
Here’s a short video I recorded yesterday, talking about how much I appreciate my in-person visitors:
This trial is enormously expensive for me. Not only do I have to take time off work, but of course my main expense is paying a lawyer – not just for his time in the court itself, but for all the preparations, too. There are literally thousands of pages of documents to review.
See, that’s why it’s called lawfare: illiberal activists using our own laws as weapons of war, to punish defenders of liberty.
That’s why I’m so grateful to you for your support. If you know of anyone else who might be able to contribute, please forward this letter to them.
They can learn all about the case – both my side of the story, and Awan’s – at www.StandWithEzra.ca. And they can make a secure and confidential donation by clicking on the PayPal button on that site.
I’m fighting for my own freedom this week. But it’s not just me. If I lose – if Khurrum Awan, the man who tried to censor Mark Steyn wins – it will set a terrible precedent for the whole country.
Everyone – journalists, politicians, and of course every Canadian citizen – will be afraid to speak out against the likes of the Canadian Islamic Congress. It’s already tough enough with political correctness.
If it becomes against the law to call members of such a group “anti-Semitic” (that’s one of the things I’m being sued for), imagine how much more that would chill free speech.
Thanks for your support. Wish me luck!
P.S. I’m so grateful for your contribution. Please forward this e-mail to as many people as you can, and tell them about 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