By Pete Vere
CALGARY, January 16, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Syed Soharwardy, the Calgary Imam and national president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), who filed the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Ezra Levant, is reportedly himself the subject of a complaint filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Soharwardy accused Levant of inciting hatred after Levant chose to republish a number of controversial cartoons depicting Muhammad in The Western Standard. Levant appeared before the AHRC last Friday, and has since created something of a stir by posting videos of the interviews with the AHRC, in which Levant unapologetically defended his right to freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press.
Three women from Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre lodged the complaint on December 28, 2007, alleging various types of mistreatment, Levant reports on his website EzraLevant.com. The names of the signatories are Mrs. Qasira Shaheen, Mrs. Robina Butt and Mrs. Shugufta Iftikhar.
A source close to one of the women confirmed that the complaint was submitted after other attempts to resolve the alleged incidents were unsuccessful.
“We were discriminated as women and were treated poorly, differently, negatively and adversely by the Directors and Officers of Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Centre, Islam Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), Muslim Against Terrorism (MAT), Al-Madinah Dar- Ul-Aloom Ltd and Al-Madinah Calgary Islamic Assembly,” the women allege.
“In this meeting we were treated diferently from men in the following manner: Abusive language uttered towards us; Not permitted to ask any questions; Denied participation as equal members of the Muslim community; Physically and verbally threatened; made to sit in the back of the hall; Accused of disrupting and sabotaging the proceedings; Forced to vacate the premises; Followed-up by obscene and threatening phone calls and letters in the mail,” the complaint states.
A DVD of one incident in particular was reportedly included with the complaint.
“Let me be clear,” Levant stated on his website, “I don’t wish the women of Soharwardy’s mosque success in their human rights complaint against him. All of my arguments against the commission apply to their complaint as much as it applies to Soharwardy’s complaint against our magazine.”
“Of course, if there are real claims of harassment or threats, those complaints belong to the police,” Levant stated. “It may be that new immigrants at Soharwardy’s mosque, especially the women, are still operating under Pakistani or Saudi norms of how women expect to be treated. Again, this is the important distinction between merely offensive words vs. physical deeds such as physical abuse.”
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Prominent Canadian Publisher Denounces Human Rights Commissions at HRC Hearing