Canadian Public Safety Minister cites Quran verse as hate speech

Public Safety minister cites Qur’an verse as example of hate speech

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney paraphrased a controversial verse from the Qur’an on Tuesday as an example of hate speech that “goes against Canadian values.”

Blaney made the remarks before a Commons public safety committee as he defended Bill C-51, his government’s new anti-terrorism legislation.

The proposed law would broadly expand the powers of Canada’s spy agency, CSIS, to “disrupt” terrorist websites and social media accounts.

Online terrorist propaganda could be removed and their publishers charged.

Blaney compared jihadist declarations to Nazi propaganda, saying “the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words.”

His remarks prompted NDP member Randall Garrison to ask why the Conservatives removed the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s power to shut down hateful websites.

Garrison also suggested Blaney was “trivializing the Holocaust,” leading the minister to defend the online policing proposal.

“If we click on the Internet, and a site is hosted in Canada, and promotes jihadism and says: ‘Kill all the infidels wherever they are around the world’, I believe it goes against Canadian values,” said Blaney.

The quote appears to paraphrase chapter 9, verse 5 of the Qur’an, which reads in part: “Kill the polytheists (idolaters, pagans) wherever you find them.”

Osama Bin Laden cited the so-called “sword verse” in his 1996 declaration of war against America. However, a number of Muslim scholars say verse 9:5 of the Qur’an refers only to self-defence.

Blaney pressed his point further at the committee on Tuesday, saying “violence starts with words. Hate begins with words. I can talk to you about the genocide in Rwanda that began on the radio.”

The opposition Liberals have endorsed Bill C-51. The NDP and privacy commissioners from across Canada are among those who say it gives too much power to security authorities.

Categories: Americas, Canada

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