A secular feminist author is being sued for slander for her description of a Montreal Muslim school as being like "militant Islamic training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan." The trial is scheduled to begin in September.
Djemila Benhabib, an award-winning author and twice-failed Parti Québécois candidate, is claiming freedom of expression, while the school wants $95,000 from her for “greatly tarnishing” its reputation.
Julius Grey, a well-known human-rights and freedom-of-expression lawyer, is defending the school in this case and says he will argue Benhabib crossed the line and caused real harm to the institution.
“I regret nothing,” Benhabib said in an interview Monday as she referred to the 2012 radio comments that have landed her in court.
Benhabib told the Montreal host in 2012 she was concerned by the selection of Qur’anic verses published on the website of the Muslims Schools of Montreal, a private institution that teaches elementary and high school.
Moreover, she added the school “models itself on a society different than ours. It’s a model where women have to lower their heads and walk behind men. Where kids are forced to learn Qur’anic verses and where, probably, men will commit honour crimes against their sisters.”
This trial may well be a milestone in the road to the loss of freedom of speech for Canada and its replacement with blasphemy laws, as we see now in Australia and other nations.