Friday, May 9, 2008

Canadian police investigates editorial cartoon for hatred.

Canada: Yet another gaming of the system by professional Islamic group in Canada this time against a newspaper who does not seem willing to bow down.

Police are investigating an allegation that an editorial cartoon in The Chronicle Herald promoted hatred.

The cartoon by award-winning Herald staff cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon appeared on April 18 and depicted Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal, a former Nova Scotia woman now living in Ontario. She had told the Herald that she would seek millions of dollars in compensation from the federal government after terrorism-related charges against her husband, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, were stayed.

Mr. Jamal was one of 17 men and youths in the Toronto area arrested in June 2006. An 18th suspect was arrested two months later.

Charges remain in effect against 11 suspects. The Crown alleges they attended a terrorist training camp and were involved in a plot to storm Parliament Hill and bomb targets in Toronto and Ottawa.
In the cartoon, Ms. Jamal is shown saying she’d use the government compensation to fund her husband’s "next training camp."

Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Theresa Rath couldn’t name the complainant or even the newspaper.

"We did receive a complaint on April 21 from someone who found a political cartoon to be offensive and believed it may border on hate literature," she said.

Police are still trying to determine whether a crime took place, she said.

CBC Radio has reported that Ziaullah Khan, a Halifax man who is the director of the Centre for Islamic Development, made the complaint to police and has also complained to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.

Citing policy, Michael Noonan of the human rights commission would neither confirm nor deny that a complaint had been made.

Mr. Khan could not be reached Thursday.

Dan Leger, director of news content for The Chronicle Herald, said Thursday he received a phone call from a police officer on April 25 about the cartoon but had heard nothing since until the CBC Radio broadcast.

He said Mr. Khan has not returned his phone calls and has made no apparent effort to contact the newspaper through a letter to the editor or an opinion page submission.

"I’m more than willing to meet him," Mr. Leger said. "We’d be happy to give him some editorial space if he wants to respond to Bruce’s cartoon."

Mr. Leger said the human rights commission is meant to protect citizens against discrimination from employers or the state and has nothing to do with the editorial content of newspapers.

"We will vigorously defend (the cartoon) and it would be an abuse of process for them to even contemplate initiating any type of action against the newspaper," he said

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