I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.–Voltaire

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Gavin Boby, a lawyer from the United Kingdom, and leader of the Law and Freedom Foundation is on a speaking tour in Canada. He is due to speak at the Ottawa Public Library tomorrow evening. Mr. Boby is a controversial figure as the Law and Freedom Foundation provides a free legal service for those who oppose mosque developments. Through his foundation he claims to have stopped the construction of 16 out of 17 mosques across Britain. Mr. Boby objects to the construction of mosques on the grounds that mosques act as bridgeheads within Western society for the advance of Islam. Mr. Boby maintains:

A mosque is not merely a place of worship. Islamic doctrine requires the application of Islamic law within its geographical reach. As homosexuals, Jews, and those attached to freedom of speech discover, Islamic law claims supremacy over the conduct of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It mandates violence against those who resist it. British common law is clear that there can be no justification for: the preaching of sedition; claims that women, Jews, homosexuals or non-Muslims are inferior and can be abused; the call for persecution or murder of Muslim apostates.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR. CAN) is objecting to Mr. Moby’s speaking tour. CAIR. CAN alleges that Mr. Boby’s speaking tour is sponsored by ACT! for Canada, a group that shares Mr. Boby’s opinion. Whether you agree with Mr. Boby or not or approve of what he is doing is up to you, but he is well within his rights under Canadian law to speak his mind. CAIR. CAN accepts this premise, but asserts that his appearance at the Ottawa Public Library is in violation of the library’s rules that prohibit use of facilities for activities that contravene the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Criminal Code of Canada in that he is promoting hatred. On this point I disagree with CAIR. CAN. The Ottawa Public Library is standing by the principles agreed to by both the Canadian and Ontario Library Associations in upholding intellectual freedom and freedom to read. If you take the time to view the Ontario Library Association Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual and that of the Canadian Library Association / Association canadienne des bibliothèques Position Statement on Intellectual Freedom, you will find that the Ottawa Public Library is fulfilling this mandate in allowing Mr. Boby to speak on its premises. As a librarian myself, I stand with the Ottawa Public Library in support of its decision to allow Mr. Boby to speak knowing full well that what he has to say is most certainly going to offend a great many people.

Posted by Geoffrey

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