The “March for Freedom” at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, March 4, 2017 has achieved one of its goals to allow free speech on matters related any religion, ideology or idea.
CBC and CTV’s coverage of the protest included videos that for the first time displayed cartoons featuring Mohammad, the founder of Islam and the final prophet according to the Islamic faith. To watch CBC report click HERE and CTV report click HERE.
CityNews report showed ex-Muslim Sandra Solomon declaring the Quran “hate literature” and throwing it into a trash can. To watch the video click HERE. It was a copy of “The Quran – Saheeh International” that is being handed out for free by activists at the Islamic booth at Toronto’s Dundas Square. The book presents a modern commentary of the Quran that defines sodomy as an evil deed and condones “light” wife beating for discipline purposes, punishing unmarried adulterers with 100 lashes, executing married adulterers by stoning, executing/ cutting of limbs/ crucifying perpetrators of serious crimes (terrorism, treason, aggression against the Islamic State), having non-Muslim slave women and imposing a poll tax on non-Muslims in the Islamic State. For more information click HERE.
On October 25, 2016 Global News reported on another case of distributing “anti-Islamic flyers” in Edmonton, Alberta. Global News report showed parts of the flyer which features Mohammad, the founder of Islam whom Muslims believe is the final prophet sent to humankind by Allah, with his 9-year-old wife Aisha. The caption of the cartoon reads: “The Prophet Muhammed deflowered little 9-year-old Aisha.” To watch Global News report click HERE.
Sarah Kraus reported: “Another hateful poster targeting Muslims has been distributed in Edmonton. It’s the fourth time anti-Islamic flyers have been dropped into mailboxes and police say they expect to lay charges once the person behind the posters is caught.”
The Canadian mainstream media persistently abstained from publishing cartoons featuring Mohammad, even after the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris (7 January 2015).
John Cruickshank, then the publisher of the Toronto Star, explained at great length why even after the Charlie Hebdo magazine attack, the Star was determined not to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting and ridiculing Muhammad who is regarded by Muslims as the last prophet of Allah. Cruickshank wrote among other things the following:
Charlie Hebdo’s mission and values are foreign to us in every sense. Canada and Toronto are richly multicultural. The identity of our city and country is continuing to evolve as newcomers make their mark and take a full place in our politics and culture. We don’t feel sufficient anxiety as a nation to need to suppress anyone’s uniqueness as long as it falls within our laws and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms…
More than a million Canadians say they are of the Muslim faith; more than 600,000 are Ontarians. Many recent immigrants have issues with underemployment and concerns about the future prospects of their children. They are doubly vulnerable in a period of protracted economic sluggishness because they are both a small and a very visible minority. And they feel that events far away have put them under suspicion.
We could run the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. There is a strong news rationale for doing so. But there are important reasons of principle not to do it. Just as we would not publish racist or pornographic images, we will exercise our judgment not to print the cartoons. We will not print them because we have too much respect for fellow Canadians of Muslim background. We will not send a message that their way of being Canadian is less acceptable or less valuable than that of any other citizen. We will not do it because it is not the Canadian thing to do. And we won’t do it because we have too much respect for ourselves… We stand by our legal right to free speech. But we won’t exploit it to commit a moral wrong.”
The Star’s editor Michael Cooke echoed a similar position:
The Star can of course publish a sacrilegious image that upsets a lot of people. It’s easy. In Canada there is no hindrance to publishing profanity or blasphemy that many find insulting and hurtful. But we have nothing to prove in our country. Religion is not a battleground for free speech in Canada. Why would I authorize the publication of an image many Torontonians find profoundly objectionable just because we can?
In February 2006, the Western Standard published the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons depicting Muhammad. Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities filed a complaint against the magazine Western Standard and its publisher Ezra Levant to the Alberta Human Rights Commission which after 900-day investigation dismissed the complaint. Levant republished the cartoons on his website and on Sun News.
Mohammad’s physical appearance
Muslim Dawah (outreach, “call to Islam”) activists at Toronto’s Dundas Square has been distributing in recent months copies of the Muhammad – The Messenger of Allah by Abdurrahman Al-Sheha.
In the chapter “The Description of the Prophet” (p. 32) Abdurrahman Al-Sheha writes the following:
The Prophet was of a slightly above-average height. Amazingly, in gatherings, he would appear taller than those actually taller than him – until the people dispersed. In complexion, he was white with a rosy tinge; pale, but not excessively so.His hair was jet black and wavy, but stopped short of curling, and was kept between his earlobes and shoulders. Sometimes he would part his hair at the middle. Other times, he would wear it braided. The Prophet () had the physique of a powerful man. He had a broad upper-back and shoulders between which was the Seal of Prophethood. He had long muscular limbs, large joints and a wide girth. His lean stomach never protruded out past the profile of his chest. His face was radiant, “as if the sun were following its course across and shining from his face,” said one Companion. His neck was silvery white; his forehead, prominent; his pupils, large and black; his eyelashes, long and thick; his nose, high-tipped with narrow nostrils. At the time of his death, the Prophet had exactly 17 white hairs shared between his temples and the front of his thick, beard. He had hair on his forearms and shins and a line of fine hair also ran from his chest to his navel. The Prophet () would walk briskly with a forward-leaning gait, moving with strength of purpose and lifting each foot clearly off the ground. His pace was such that fit men would tire trying to keep up. When he turned, he would turn his whole body, giving full attention to the one addressing him and showing complete concern to what was being said. When he pointed, he would use an open hand so as not to offend.