Muslim activist withdraws human rights complaint

Finally, a breath of fresh air amid the histrionics. Maybe.

Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and founder of Muslims Against Terrorism, has concluded that his complaint to a human rights commission about the reprinting of the Danish cartoons was “beyond what I now believe should be the mandate of such a commission”–  and has withdrawn it. He’s also had the grace to explain why in a Globe and Mail essay — in which he invites Ezra Levant to sit down and discuss the issue.

An excerpt from the online commentary in the Globe:

“…Subsequent discussions with several Muslim leaders, and more particularly with some of my Christian and Jewish friends, have led me to conclude that my complaint was beyond what I now believe should be the mandate of such a commission. I now am of the view that this matter should have been handled in the court of public opinion.

Consequently, I am withdrawing my complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Mr. Levant’s right to publish the offensive and hateful drawings.

I believe his decision was irresponsible and was intended to cause strife, but I now appreciate that it may not fall outside the limits of free speech.”

Levant, however, is having none of some might see as Soharwady’s olive branch. Levant said he’s going to sue Soharwady.

 Personally, initially, I found the Danish cartoons loutish and provocative, offending the faithful for few to no redeeming reasons. But frankly, as the threats from lunatic fundamentalists intensified, I began to wonder if every publication on earth should reprint them to make a point about freedom of expression and to stand up against would-be bullies. And I remain appalled at the death threats against the cartoonists, among other examples of insanity and overreaction. But I think Soharwady’s call for talking is a far better way to address the many and complex facets of this issue. I would, however, suggest that Soharwady’s interest in interfaith dialogue be expanded to include Canada’s many secularists.

The Globe, incidentally, links the piece to an earlier commentary by Levant.