'This is not about freedom of speech' - Macleans.ca

‘This is not about freedom of speech’


In a news release issued this evening, Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai objects to the planned screening of the infamous Prophet Mohammad video.

Deepak Obhrai, MP, today called on Ron Banerjee of Canadian Hindu Advocacy not to screen the film with anti-Islam message.

Deepak Obhrai, of the Hindu faith, said screening this film goes against core Canadian values of tolerance and respect of other faiths. Islam is one of the world’s greatest religions which is practiced by thousands on Canadians.

“This is not about freedom of speech, it is about sowing the seeds of intolerance. I therefore urge Mr. Banerjee not to become an advocate of intolerance.”


‘This is not about freedom of speech’

  1. Good for Mr. Obhrai.

  2. We do not need to censor those who rant and scream, but neither should we hand them a megaphone – especially when people are being shot and killed over their hateful ramblings!
    Mr. Obhrai made the right call.

    • I’m with you. There’s no harm in asking someone to self censor on very rare occasions. This looks like one.

      • There’s no harm in asking people to self-censor ever. What matters is what happens if they refuse.

  3. What other Religious Group goes absolutely insane every time someone makes a joke about their beliefs? Why can’t this group police their own nut-jobs? This is not how “rational” people react! I’m Catholic, there are plenty of jokes about Catholic Priests! Do i go on a killing spree every time someone cracks a joke?

    • RCs and all other christians protest music, art etc that they feel disrespects their religion.

      It isn’t just Muslims.

      • I must have missed the last time a mob of angry Catholics slaughtered innocent people because of an offending song.

        • Blinkers. Horse blinkers.

          • Your fevered imagination.

          • Your denialism..

      • The Muslims protested with violence and killing…. I don’t see any Christian (or for that matter any other major religious group) going on international, violent murderous rampages because of a stupid movie.

        • Actually there are plenty of examples christian[ or buddhist or hindu] mobs going on rampages all over the third world, latest one was the coptics in Egypt i think?? I’m not attacking Christians, many of those attacks were reprisals for other outrages committed against their communities. I’m just saying civil discourse, peaceful protest and absence of religious or sectarian violence is largely confined to the first world

        • Christians do find reasons to go on rampages though.


    • It isn’t just a joke, apparently the video is disgusting.

    • Here’s an idea, why don’t you and a few others who have posted here get on a plane and fly to the middle east and tell those folks to calm down already. I’m sure they’ll listen to reason.

    • I don’t think the attack in Libya actually had much to do with the video. It feels to me more like a coordinated terrorist attack near the anniversary of 9/11 that happened to coincide with a violent protest (and used it partially for cover).

      The other protests, while terribly violent, aren’t necessarily THAT much more violent than, say, the violent G20 protests, or the Occupy protests that got out of hand, especially when one considers the context of the nations in which these protests are occuring. In this case they’re happening in war-torn countries and/or countries just emerging from decades of brutal dictatorship, in some cases only recently overthrown by violent revolutions. I don’t even think the video is much more than a rationale in those cases either, but to the extent that it is it’s just the initial trigger. While the insult to Islam is used by the protesters as some sort of justification, I truly believe that this violence is more about the prevalence of large numbers of disenfranchised, unemployed, disillusioned, angry young men with AK-47s (probably suffering from PTSD) than it does with Islam.

      I believe that if Canada had just emerged from decades of brutal dictatorship after a deadly civil war, and had a disproportionately young, male, unemployed, undereducated demographic who had easy access to small arms (and Hell, even artillery) that a small group of religious fanatics would probably be able to exert a terrible influence on some of those young men too, and it wouldn’t really matter what religion they were perverting to do so.

      • That’s the one of, if not the principle obscenity isn’t it; that in a part of the world where many struggle to even put a crust on the table there are millions of $ of weapons floating around.

      • I don’t think the attack in Libya actually had much to do with the
        video. It feels to me more like a coordinated terrorist attack near the
        anniversary of 9/11 that happened to coincide with a violent protest
        (and used it partially for cover).

        That is pretty much confirmed now. See here:


        Next question…every lapdog newscast originating in the US and Canada continues to blame the whole mess on the movie. CTV just told us the same lie again on tonight’s newscast. We are clearly in the “tell a lie often enough and people will believe it” phase of this.

        My question is…to what purpose? Why is this movie being used as a dubious scapegoat for what the evidence clearly indicates is an terrorist attack organized days in advance?

        • I think you’re seeing a conspiracy where none exists.

          First, I heard ALL KINDS of people on the news saying there was no way this was just a riot that got out of hand. Even on the night of the attacks. Not with rocket launchers and mortars and claymores and such. That said, the video and response to it has also been the story from the beginning, since it was the reason for the PROTESTS if not the attack, so it’s not shocking that the media is still focusing on it before conclusive evidence comes in wrt the attack in Libya. It’s the thing Romney’s campaign was (/is still to some extent) focusing on, and what all the political bickering has been about. While I don’t think it’s directly connected to the attack in Libya, I think it IS why there were protests in Egypt, and why there are protests pretty much all around the world now (though they seem to be dying down). People in the Middle East were lead to believe that the video was created and disseminated by the Obama administration. It’s news.
          Unless this conspiracy of silence involves the Obama administration, the Romney campaign, everyone on the right screaming about how the crazy Muslims went nuts and killed an Ambassador over something as stupid as a video, and everyone on the left calling people on the right bigots for saying stuff like that and making videos like this, I just don’t see it. Until the facts about the attack in Libya are in, the media’s going to follow the juiciest story, and right now, that’s the video and the protests and the political reactions to both.

  4. Credit where credit is due – well done for speaking out Mr. Obrahai.

    • He’s advocating self-censorship to placate a bloodthirsty minority. It’s liberal democracy being cowed by threats of violence.

      • I’ve watched most of the trailer now and there is no doubt the creator of the film is a dumbass who should be admonished and scorned. There’s really no good here.

        • Ah well, why didn’t you say so? If you think it has no value then that’s good enough for me. Pack up your stuff and go home everyone, GFMD has done all the thinking for us and we can go back to our lives.

          • And don’t you forget it!

      • Actually, I think he’s advocating against proactively giving a donkey a place to hee-haw.

  5. let the film be shown.

    …a few decades ago there appeared ‘the last temptation of chris’ by martin scorsese, a very controversial film if you recall (starred willem defoe, and it depicted Christ as having an affair, if i’m right, with mary magdalene)…it infuriated many christians as sacrilege who protested far and wide at many theatres…but no theatres were burned down, no people killed, no cars torched.

    so to the muslims equally upset at a controversial film, fill your boots: go and protest, but do it peacefully….you’re in canada now where we respect democracy and freedom of expression (something in your original country that is not tolerated)…if you don’t like it then feel free to return to your country to join the knuckledragging radicals who live by the sword of intolerance.

    • You mean, other than right wing french christians who set fire to the Saint Michel Theatre with Molotov Cocktails, injurying 13 and requiring 3 years of repairs, right?

      • And have you called for the film to be banned as a result?

        • of course not…

      • ok so i stand corrected….BIG DEAL….there is a HUGE difference between the sh*t that radicals overseas are doing/have done vs a few scattered incidentS that occured as a result of my example….i stand by what i say, NAMELY, that we should all stop the kowtowing to those knuckledragging radicals, if any live here in Canada….let’s smoke ’em out and send them packing.

  6. While Obhrai often comes across as an overly-scarved blowhard, his action herein deserves kudos.

    He might check his press releases though – assuming the one quoted above is verbatim – because the inference that Islam is being ‘”practiced by thousands ON Canadians”is only likely to inflame the -phobes and Steyns out there.

  7. Clearly this Ron Banerjee is trying to cause trouble as he has in the past. His group has been proven to have only a dozen or so members. All the legitimate Hindu organizations have denounced him. It seems mostly self-serving for the media outlets to give this man credibility by headlining his comments, as this sensationalism gives their viewership a boost. Unfortunately it also creates a lot of unnecessary strife in our society and the risk of loss of innocent life. The mainstream media should really check into this man’s claims that he represents a major religious group before blindly printing them.

  8. Not often I’d agree with Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, but this time he is 100% right, to use his freedom of speech to denounce the showing of this disgusting video.

  9. Does anyone know how many people might have been expected to attend this film? I’m just wondering if this well meaning appeal[ i support it] is not now providing free publicity. There may well have been only a handful of people turning up ordinarily.

  10. Oh God, what have you gone and done now?

  11. The speech we find most offensive of all is exactly what free speech is about Aaron.

    • Free speech is far more about what limits we put on a very important but far from absolute principle.

      • Would you say that this is a case where we should apply a limit though?

        I certainly have no problem with people objecting to the screening, or calling on this group not to screen the film. That’s one thing. However, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with any effort to PREVENT the screening of the film. Going by the trailer, the film is no doubt terribly offensive, and reeks of intolerance and bigotry, but it’s not, say, encouraging violence against Muslims, or advocating violent revolution, or a recording of an actual violent crime or some such. If we can ban the screening of this offensive film it’d be a short trip to banning some films by, say, Chris Rock or Louis C. K.

        To my mind, calling on the group not to have the screening, and peacefully protesting the screening should it happen are as much about free speech as the group being allowed to screen the film. However, if there were a move to PREVENT the screening I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

        • Assuming Canadian hate laws could be applied universally and would affect this fim:

          I haven’t seen the movie at all and the trailer only once. I had a several sentence off the cuff guess about whether the trailer would be constitute speech but it comes down to “likely not” (an important factor people tend to forget it is how high the bar for hate speech is and how much crap we (rightly) allow in the name of freedom of speech, curbing only the most depraved and crazy stuff). Assuming a different film trailer did violate hate laws I would have no problem with a legal remedy. (Although I would prefer the smaller administrative remedies formerly available at the CHRT rather than the Criminal Law penalties that are now the only punishment. C’mon guys, jail is way too much!)

    • Could we avoid the Newspeak version of this phrase please?

      Free speech is not about insulting people, childish name-calling, expressing murderous hatred or starting riots. Speech can be both free and civil. Adults are expected to get past the schoolyard in expressing ideas and opinions.

      • stop apologizing to the rads…we don’t defend our religions with major newslines or political heavyweight stepping in, when something controversial happens, so why should the nutbar rads behind a misinterpreted islam be treated politely, kindly, fearfully? nuts. smoke ’em out here in canada, the usa and the uk and then send them back packing…or to jail.

        either that or grow up: you’re in a 1st world country that respects human rights and free expression, despite not liking what you see/hear…protest, write cogent letters, let your (rational!) voice be heard…in the meantime, grow a set for maturity sake.

        • Oh stop being such an ass.

          Yours is not the only culture in the world, and you don’t solve anything by pretending you have white supremacy.

          • you’re the ass, dufus…take your head out of your butt…stop being a sycophantic apologist…my stance is not about ‘white supremacy’ at all. i respect many international cultures, but not those allowed to act out like bullying, immature kids in the schoolyard, as are the radical muslims in the middle east….wakeup, idiot.

          • Yes, actually….it is.

            All religions do this….including yours. So enough with the holier-than-thou.

    • I certainly agree with this, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that Obhrai is as free to express his objections as Banerjee is to screen the film. I might be more concerned if Obhrai’s message were different, but he’s calling on the group not to show the film, he’s not calling for the group to be prevented from showing the film. “You shouldn’t say that” is not the same as “You shouldn’t be allowed to say that”.

      I also find the notion of screening a film that is apparently an ugly example of intolerance towards Muslims, in an effort to show the value of tolerance to Muslims to be interesting, to say the least.

      • I think the combination of this comment from LKO and the one above from John G perfectly expresses my thoughts on this subject.

      • Don’t disagree at all, and agree that asking (emphasis on “ask”) for self censorship is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

        Taking a movie maker into custody “voluntarily” at midnight surrounded by brown-shirts and TV cameras, when it’s already pretty much clear that said movie has pretty much zero to do with what’s going on in the Middle East right now (despite that lie being fed to us over and over again by a complicit press)?

        Not so much.

        • OK, come on now. Using Nazi imagery to disparage the local Sherrif’s Department, and acting as if President Obama personally sent them to his house is LUDICROUS.

          The guy’s on probation and not allowed to use computers, and is now famous the world over for a video posted to YOUTUBE. The local cops aren’t gonna question him about whether or not he might have violated his parole???

          And all the talk in that article about the towel covering his face. HELLO!!! That was HIS idea. He’s famous for creating a video that’s sparked riots all over the world. I’d want my identity concealed from the cameras too.

          • Since when does a potential “parole violation” for unauthorized use of the Internet require a knock on the door at midnight from at least 5 cops with TV cameras in tow? Does that sound reasonable to you?

            You know why they went there just as well as I do, in the way they did, and it ain’t because of no “parole violation”.

            If you don’t, I strongly urge you to choose the red pill over the blue the next time you’re given a choice.

          • Fair enough. I guess I just don’t have that much sympathy for the criminal who made the bigoted internet video.

  12. Ron Banerjee sounds like he’s just a little trouble-maker. Butt out Mr. Banerjee. We don’t need people any more idiotic louts whose only goal is to provoke and inflame. Preach your own religion if you wish, but do have some decency and good sense, fellow, to leave off publicly criticizing and denigrating another’s beliefs.

  13. Art schmart.

    If anything is mind * propaganda, this film is and I’m more likely to suffer by watching than not. I’m going to avoid watching it. I can always make up for missing it by throwing a Monty Python party and waiting for the book to come out. Less subliminals.