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Free speech matters (National Post editorial)

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Dec. 5, 2015

“…Bill 59 assigns new powers to the Quebec Human Rights Commission ( QHRC) to combat hate speech, as well as a variety of other provisions meant to protect against extremism by censoring speech that promotes “fear of the other.” Ominously, the bill would allow the QHRC to pursue websites that in its estimation describe and denounce Islamism. Article 6 would “give the QHRC the power to initiate legal proceedings before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal without having to wait for complaints from the public.” Frémont explained that he planned to use the requested powers to sue those critical of certain ideas, “people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page.”…

While Bill 59 is concerning in itself, its inspiration is far more so. Frémont has admitted that he based the provisions of Bill 59 on UN Resolutions 16/ 18, a brainchild of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation ( OIC), comprised of 56 UN member states plus the Palestinian Authority, which constitutes the single largest voting block in the UN. In 1990, the OIC rejected the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which assumes that all men and women, and all religions, are equal, and in its place adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. This document asserts the superiority of Islam over other religions and takes its definition of freedom of speech from the confines of Shariah law, according to which any criticism of the Prophet Muhammad is considered blasphemy and prohibited.

In 2011, the OIC introduced Resolution 16/ 18, a more nuanced version of the Cairo Declaration. Usually UN resolutions are just political documents, but in the case of Resolution 16/18, it moved on to “implementation” via the “Istanbul Process,” a series of conferences promoting the OIC agenda. The result has been a continuing push toward the stifling of free expression that is critical of any Islam-related topic…”

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