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Canada Muslim groups seek charges for Muhammad cartoons publication

[JURIST] The Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) [advocacy website] has filed a complaint against the Canadian Western Standard [media website] magazine over its republication of Danish cartoons [JURIST news archive] depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Other Canadian media have refused to publish the cartoons, but Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant said Tuesday the magazine was publishing the cartoons [CTV News report] because they were newsworthy for provoking demonstrations around the world. Levant also argued that the magazine was protected by freedom of speech.

The ISCC and other Muslim groups in Canada have also called for police to investigate the magazine for hate crimes. Canadian law prohibits willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group under Section 319 [text] of the Criminal Code. The cartoons, originally published in Denmark in September and republished by several papers in Europe in January, have triggered protests and violence around the world. Most recently, two protestors were killed [BBC report] Tuesday by Pakistani security forces during a demonstration in Islamabad. Also on Tuesday, the Turkish secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, told visiting European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solona that the EU should pass laws banning blasphemy [Turkish Daily News report]. Reuters has more.

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