A photo in the Winter 2019 edition of Your Ward News (Screenshot)
Your Ward News, Aboriginal owned and operated since 2007, referring to itself as world’s largest pro-Christian publication, was cited for hate speech against women and Jews, January 2019.
Your Ward News which has a circulation of about 300,000, mostly in and around the Toronto area as well as an online presence, shared antisemitism and misogyny.
I am focusing on the antisemitism.
Your Ward News “repeatedly claimed the existence of a worldwide, blood-thirsty Jewish conspiracy. The imagery depicted Jews as devils with serpent tongues and reptilian hands, argued Jews were behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that the Holocaust was a Jewish myth to strengthen their control of the world.”
It is no easy task to be found guilty of hate speech in Canada. Prosecutor Jamie Klukach said that obtaining the guilty verdict was difficult, because the level of intent the Crown had to prove was “extremely high.”
Crown attorney Robin Flumerfelt said the law does not require proving intent to harm.
“While proof of actual harm is not required, Canadians and Canadian courts, have made it clear that the law exists because of the immense harm that this conduct can cause.
Quantifiable harm from “clear and unequivocal hatred,” not just hurt feelings.
“It is not new-age political correctness.
“It is not a conspiracy to limit free speech.”
It is a law that recognizes that these types of hatred are the seeds of destruction.”
If Your Ward News can be found guilty of hate speech for the comments written about Jews, why is Al Forqan, a Canadian Arabic newspaper based in Windsor, Ontario, not charged with hate speech as well?
According to its website, “Al Forqan is a daily online newspaper and a monthly printed newspaper issued by Al Forqan Media Foundation, Editor and Managing Director Mohamad Hisham Khalifeh [محمد هشام خليفة], accompanied by a group of administrators and highly qualified individuals.”
“It is an independent, political and cultural newspaper that does not follow any political party yet pursues a policy of truth and justice and includes sections on education, culture, sports and society. Al Forqan is a contemporary newspaper which deals with life affairs and includes topics of interest to all segments of society (Arab and Canadian writers, elite, doctors, professors and professionals).”
Distribution: The administrators purposely made the distribution of the newspaper free so as to ensure that it reaches all segments of society. The newspaper consists of 16 pages (Eight in color), five of which will be in English and the other 11 in the Arabic Language, with over ten thousand copies distributed a month in the Windsor, London and Michigan areas (including all shops, mosques and residential complexes).
They do state that the opinions expressed in the articles published on their website are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Al Forqan Newspaper, its publishers or employees.
In Issue 23, November – December 2014, Al Forqan published an unsigned article titled “The incidents in Al-Quds – is this the spark of a looming intifada?” Here is an excerpt from the article (originally in Arabic):
In light of all this pressure by the occupation, a number of young [Palestinian] Jerusalemites carried out independent vehicular attacks and stabbing operations that caused the death and injury of a number of settlers and soldiers of the occupation. Yehuda Glick, the engineer of storming the Al-Aqsa [mosque], did not escape the bullets of the [Palestinian] Jerusalemites when he was the target of an assassination attempt. He was seriously injured but was saved from death. [The most important operation] was the qualitative attack carried out by two heroes in the Jewish synagogue in which five [six] Zionists were killed, in a natural response to the repeated crimes perpetrated by the Zionist entity against Al-Aqsa Mosque and the residents of Palestine and [the city of] Al-Quds [Jerusalem].
“The qualitative attack” mentioned in Al Forqan’s article refers to the terrorist attack that took place on November 18, 2014, in the Kehilat Bnei Torah in the Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem. Two terrorists armed with a handgun and cleavers stormed the synagogue, attacking the Jewish worshippers during the morning prayer. A police officer and five Jewish worshippers were killed in the attack.
In Issue 64, May-June 2018, p. 7, Al Forqan published an article entitled “Prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled after the time of the Prophet [Mohammad].” Here is an excerpt from the original Arabic article:
Fighting the Jews. “It is narrated from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The Hour will not begin until the Muslims fight the Jews and the Muslims will kill them.’”
This is the first segment of hadith 2922 in Sahih Muslim: “Abu Huraira reported Allahs Messenger as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: “Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”
Al Forqan’s editorial signed by Mohamad Hisham Khalifeh (Issue 23, November – December 2014, p. 1) reads (originally in Arabic):
“[headline] The Duty of Jihad
“Everyone carries out the jihad in his/ her way; that what told me one of the pilgrims [in Mecca] and this summarizes the course of events in our Arab and Islamic countries, armies and parties, weapons and munitions, rockets and [fighter] jets… and the Palestinian teenager is [standing] alone wielding a knife in his hand, defending the honour and dignity of every Arab and every Muslim, and moreover every person. He [the Palestinian teenager] does not accept the injustice in the face of the Zionist usurper.
“The Knife Intifada, initiated by the sons of al-Quds [Jerusalem] who scarified their souls, exposed the falsity of the allegations made by those who espouse the duty of jihad and fight in Syria and Iraq and everywhere but not in Beit al-Maqdis [Jerusalem]. The executions of Jerusalemites (children, women and elders) did not move the manhood in the heads of the leaders of the Arab and Islamic nation! The violations against the holy site in al-Quds [Jerusalem] have not affected those who protect the holy shrines!
“The Knife Intifada was born orphan from the womb of a bereaved mother, but the sons of this sacred place equipped with the determination of the heroes will write the in history of this nation, that in the midst of the current events, there was a group which recognized the right of the sacred duty of jihad!
“Unlike those who claim everyday that they are defending Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and draw on a map the way towards it. You would see them in all countries but Palestine, such as Hezbollah [in Lebanon], ISIS [in Iraq and Syria], the fundamentalist jihadists [in the Muslims countries], the Houthis [in Yemen], Boko Haram [in Nigeria], Popular Mobilization Forces [in Iraq] etc., all of them want to liberate al-Quds [Jerusalem] but they lost the compass!!!
“May Allah forgive those who truthfully knew the way to Al-Quds [Jerusalem]. May Allah forgive the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab [who conquered Jerusalem in 635] and the leader Salahuddin Al Ayyubi [who conquered Jerusalem in 1187]. I’m asking Allah to give victory to the youths of Palestine and every freeman who does not accept injustice and shame.”
Where are the anti-hate groups, like Bernie Farber’s Canadian Anti Hate Network? And more importantly, why is this paper not brought before the courts for spreading hate speech? Do these articles not contain the ”types of hatred [that] are the seeds of destruction?”
If Your Ward News can be successfully prosecuted, why not Al Forqan?
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”