Bad news in the battle for freedom of speech: today, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear my appeal of the defamation judgment against me, brought some eight years ago by Khurrum Awan.
Awan is the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. As you know, one of the reasons I lost was that the judge ruled that calling Awan an anti-Semite was defamatory.
But Awan used to be the youth president of an anti-Semitic group — the Canadian Islamic Congress. They even called for the legalization of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
But the judge ruled it was defamatory for me to call their former youth president anti-Semitic. Because Awan denied he was, and said he never knew about his organization's infamous misconduct. The judge ruled I did not prove it was factually true. Even though Awan himself testified at trial that he agreed it's reasonable for people to call certain statements by the Canadian Islamic Congress anti-Semitic.
I appealed that trial judgment, and I lost. And today the Supreme Court said they won’t hear a further appeal.
And so now I have to pay $80,000 dollars to Awan, plus his legal costs. That’s obviously a blow to me financially.
But what worries me more is that a legal precedent has now been set: if you call a leader of an anti-Semitic group, “anti-Semitic”, you can be sued for defamation.
Every newspaper columnist, every political activist, every Jewish or Christian student in university must now be extremely careful. There is outrageous anti-Semitism on campuses these days. That’s not illegal. But calling members of those groups anti-Semitic can be illegal, if you don’t say it in just the right way.
This isn’t the first time that Awan has used the courts as a weapon to fight enemies of Islam. You’ll recall that Awan took the great Mark Steyn to three different Canadian human rights commissions for writing about Muslim extremism in Maclean’s magazine. It was my critical coverage of Awan’s lawfare against Steyn that caused Awan to target me with a lawsuit too.
Nearly eleven years has passed since Steyn first wrote that essay in October 2006. Awan sued me in 2009. That’s a long time. And that battle is over.
But what is Khurrum Awan up to now? He left Toronto, got married, settled down, started a family. He’s working for a law firm in Regina.
But he’s not done with using our western courts to promote his Islamic agenda.
Just six weeks ago, Awan filed a stunning lawsuit against his neighbour in Regina. Now, most of it is just a legal squabble that neighbours sometimes have. Awan and his wife, Ayesha Ahmed, claim that there are “approximately three trees the branches of which overhang the Plaintiff’s backyard”. And some of the branches snapped and fell.
The lady who owns the neighbouring house, by the way, is 77 years old. So maybe she is not doing all the gardening she should. I don’t know.
But Awan is a lawyer, with lawyer friends. So he got another lawyer named Ahmed Malik to sue the neighbour, demanding $60,000 dollars.
But here’s the shocking part: Awan is suing his 77-year-old neighbour for having “a large Christian cross” on her backyard.
Awan says it’s a “violation of human rights” that a Catholic granny has a cross on her property, and that it’s "an attempt to intimidate and discriminate against the Plaintiffs, who are visible minorities and visible Muslims.”
He’s not just asking for $60,000 from his neighbour. He’s asking the court for “an injunction ordering the Defendants to permanently remove the cross.”
He’s a bully. Bullying a 77-year-old Catholic granny. Suing her for having a cross in her back yard.
The same bully who went after Mark Steyn.
The same bully who just won $80,000 dollars from me in court.
See, the Supreme Court taught Khurrum Awan a lesson today: that the best way to wage a jihad against the west isn’t through violence like terrorism. The best way to wage a jihad against the west is peacefully, by using our own laws against us. A human rights kangaroo court against Steyn; defamation laws against me; and just plain old suing a 77-year-old neighbour for having a cross on her deck.
Look. I’ve got to pay Awan his $80,000. I have no other choice. And I’m going to pay that from my own funds — I don’t think I could ask anyone else to help with that. If you want to help me with my legal fees though, I’d be grateful for your help there — I still have to pay my lawyer. You can do that here.
And once I raise enough to cover my own costs, I’m going to do this: I’m going to send a cheque to that 77-year-old granny to help her cover her legal fees. Not for the squabble about branches and trees. But because no-one in should be sued for having a cross on her property — this is Canada, not Pakistan.
If you can help, please click here.
P.S. I’m going to pay Awan the $80,000 myself. There’s no way I will ask other people for help with that. But if you can help me with my legal bills, I’d be grateful. Please click here if you can help chip in — thank you.
P.P.S. I know what this poor lady in Regina is going through. I’m going to send her some money too, to help cover her legal bills. I don’t know who’s right or wrong about the branches and trees. I don’t care about that. But when a Muslim bully sues a little old lady for having a cross on her property, we’ve simply got to help her. I will personally take money from my own legal defence fund to help her.
P.P.P.S. If you prefer to contribute by cheque, please make it payable to “Linden & Associates in Trust” and put “Ezra Levant Defence Fund” in the memo, and mail it to:
Linden & Associates
200 Bay Street,
North Tower, Suite 2010