“Catch the Fire” all over again:
Hate crime laws are used against us for the sake of stifling debate.
Hate crime or free speech?
Trevor Wilhelm and Dalson Chen, Windsor Star
A member of the Windsor Police Services Board says the anti-Islamic lecture held at a Baptist church Thursday night was a hate crime, and he’s leading the charge to have the speaker arrested.
Wally Chafchak, also a member of the Windsor Islamic Association, said he and other Muslims and Christians have approached police about the lecture by Zachariah Anani.
“In my opinion, this went far beyond religious discussion and debate,” said Chafchak. “In the Criminal Code there is a section that deals with spreading hatred in the community, and I think that’s what this is. This instance should fall under those laws. Justice can only be served if this person is charged. He’s talking about hate, this person. We will pursue it further until we feel we have our share of justice.”
The Campbell Baptist Church on Wyandotte Street West held a lecture Thursday called The Deadly Threat of Islam, with Anani as the guest speaker. Born in Lebanon, he has claimed on Fox News to be a former terrorist who killed 223 people in the name of Islam.
Now a Christian convert, Anani said Islamic doctrine teaches the “ambushing, seizing and slaying” of non-believers, especially Jews and Christians. He said Islam is a religion that worships a god “who strikes with terror.”
Pastor Donald McKay, who heads the Baptist church of about 350 members, also called Islam “oppressive” and “vicious.”
Chafchak said the Islamic association will hold a news conference today at Windsor Mosque in response to Thursday’s event.
Anani said he isn’t worried about being charged, because he only drew on facts from the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book.
“What I said was fact,” he said Friday.
“I wasn’t talking about my own interpretation. I picked facts derived from statements of the book.”
Windsor police Staff Sgt. William Donnelly said Friday evening he had no records of formal complaints against Anani.
But he said there are police records of Anani complaining of hate and harassment against himself. Donnelly said Anani complained of receiving threatening letters and phone calls.
Anani said he’s had letters stuck to his door, but he wouldn’t talk about it any further. Despite giving many public lectures and speaking to several media organizations in the past, Anani said: “I’m not really interested to be famous in newspapers,” said Anani.
McKay couldn’t be reached Friday evening to respond to the hate crime allegations. But earlier in the day, he said “it’s simply not true” that Muslims are peaceful people. The Qur’an, he said, supports his opinion.
“The Muslim is mandated to slay the infidels,” he said. “Islam is committed to the domination and destruction of the West. There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. . . Frankly, we are frightened to death. We are concerned about the Islamic threat to Canadian security.”
Ward 2 Coun. Ron Jones on Friday criticized the lecture, saying: “We here in Windsor will not tolerate that stuff.
“I’m really disappointed with Pastor McKay, as a man I respect. For him to espouse those kinds of things, it’s just not worthy of the man himself,” said Jones.