I hope we never see another honour killing in Canada, but if we do, our own government might be complicit.
An Alberta judge just ruled that a bus ad promoting a help service for girls and women afraid of their families is “offensive,” and thus was a suitable candidate for censorship by the City of Edmonton.
The saga started in 2013 when the American Freedom Defense Initiative launched a campaign on Edmonton Transit buses featuring a photograph of seven “Muslim Girls Honor Killed By Their Families”.
“Is your family threatening you? Is there a fatwa on your head?” the ad asked. "We can help.”
After a complaint from an Edmonton city councillor, the ads were pulled, prompting a charter challenge lawsuit by the AFDI, represented by Canada’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms. On Thursday, however, Justice John Gill ruled that “the benefits of providing a safe and welcoming transit system outweigh the deleterious effects of the city’s policy limiting offensive or discriminatory advertising on its public transport.”
The ad doesn’t say anything about Muslims, except for the fact that the specific girls pictured were Muslims and were honour killed by their families—both of these facts are correct.
Edmonton’s advertising standards of truthfulness, fairness and accuracy are not contradicted by this ad, despite the judge’s claim that it is “offensive, discriminatory and demeaning” and that “it is speculative that this would actually be helpful to Muslim women in Edmonton.”
I hope we never learn the hard way how wrong he is.