Monday, September 18, 2006

Watching Peter, Part 2 or 3?

I went to a talk and Q & A session from Dr. Peter March in the MacNally Auditorium on Friday. It was well worth the $15 dollars I spent ($20 for non-students), most of which likely went to security, since there were no less than 5 uniformed officers there. Of course, I cannot remember everything he said, but here is what stood out for me.

He quoted a passage from the Criminal Code of Canada regarding hate speech and discrimination, the best link that I could find is here, where he said that inciting hate is not a crime in itself, but in a way that may create 'a breach of the peace' which means inciting violence against an identifiable person or persons. And one thing that stood out for me was that there were a couple of Muslims there, one of whom is mentioned in this news article, but once they started talking, I found that they were impossible to follow, since they tried to make a number of points and ask a number of questions, which probably would have taken much longer than the hour that we had for questions. They both seemed furious at him and one of them asked one of the cops present to arrest him on hate crime charges. Not suprisingly, they didn't, but I would have liked to argue with him on the finer points on what is considered hate speech. If Dr. March was inciting violence, it would have not been against other Muslims, but likely against himself, and it does not seem likely that would be considered a crime.

He had some interesting proposals and theories as to why there is so much terrorism. Keeping in mind that he is an athiest, he does condone the teaching of religious texts in school, among other things. This is the first stop in what appears to be a nationwide tour called 'Islam and Democracy', the main question being is if they can coexist. He's at Dalhousie next Friday, and at Memorial University the week after that. I think that he's quite interesting to listen to, but contrary to what some people might say, he is NOT my mentor, I disagree with him on many things. I am on side with him concerning those cartoons though, and I do pray that he comes out of this tour in one piece.

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