Calgary’s Muslims upset with MP’s brochure

(September 13, 2009) – Conservative Member of Parliament, Rob Anders, has upset Calgary’s Muslims with a political brochure that the community feels is inflammatory.

The mail-out from the Calgary West MP said:

“It is now illegal to hold opinions that offend radical Muslim activists…under Section 13 of the so-called Human Rights Code Canadians have been prosecuted for holding personal beliefs which offend radical Muslims, Imams and Liberal activists.”

Anders listed human rights complaints against Ezra Levant, a former publisher of the Western Standard magazine, and Maclean’s magazine.

The Muslim Council of Calgary’s spokesperson, David Liepert, said that Anders is spreading misinformation.

“He’s basically spread misinformation among his constituents about a large proportion of his constituency because there are many Muslims living in his area,” Liepert told the Calgary Herald on Tuesday.

“Any time you have a politician who, for political gain, targets a minority group with disinformation, it’s something that I think needs to be addressed.”

The MP is attempting to gather support to scrap Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which deals with complaints about hate messages disseminated over telephone or the Internet.

The Muslim Council of Calgary, which represents 10 of the city’s mosques, invited the MP to attend the Calgary Islamic Centre last Friday for an Iftar dinner and to discuss the issue.

The MP showed up but he did not apologize for the content in the brochure saying he was simply using two well known cases to illustrate his point.

While some in the community were upset that Anders did not apologize, others felt that his willingness to engage with Muslim community was a first step.

“We can’t condemn him for not building bridges if we don’t do it ourselves,” David Liepert told CTV News.