In the summer of 2008, Ezra Levant was between jobs.
His magazine — the first in Canada, and one of the few in the world, to publish the notorious “Mohammed cartoons” — was now defunct, the result of his fight with the Alberta Muslim who’d taken him to a “Human Rights” court for printing them.
So Levant travelled to British Columbia to live-blog author Mark Steyn’s court case on similar “hate speech” charges; in this instance, three Muslim law students (nicknamed the “Sock Puppets”) had charged Steyn and Maclean’s magazine with “Islamophobia” for printing an excerpt of Steyn’s book America Alone.
On June 3, 2008, Levant blogged about the testimony of one “Sock Puppet,” Khurrum Awan.
Again and again, Levant called Awan a “liar.”
Fast forward to 2014, and Ezra Levant and Khurrum Awan were in a courtroom together again.
Awan had sued Levant for libel.
Last week, a judge found Levant guilty and ordered him to pay Awan $80,000.
But Awan was, at one time, the youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, an anti-Semitic organization. At the time Awan was its youth president, the CIC was led by a notorious anti-Semite, Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry famously went on national TV to state that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. The CIC has publicly called for the legalization of anti-Semitic terrorist groups.
And yet the judge ruled that it is defamatory to call the former youth president of an anti-Semitic organization, anti-Semitic. Because he denied it in court, and said he never knew about his organization’s infamous misconduct.
This is a shocking case of libel chill that should concern anyone who is worried about radical Islam, the right to criticize it, and the right to call out anti-Semitism in the public square.
If this judgment stands, anyone who dares to challenge members of Muslim extremist groups on the basis of their affiliation with such groups is at risk of costly lawsuits — and all the member of the anti-Semitic group needs to do is to deny that they share the beliefs of their organizations that they work hard to promote, or say they had no clue their anti-Semitic group was anti-Semitic.
Today, Ezra Levant is an author, as well as a broadcaster on Sun News.
However, this case began before he joined the network, so his legal bills aren’t covered by the corporation.
To learn more about this case, and donate to Ezra Levant’s legal fund, click here.