Ad in Canada offering protection to threatened Muslim women is banned

Freedom of expression exists in Canada but only for Muslims. This is not the first time that advertisers have refused to run ads that they consider anti-Islamic but have been happy to run ads offensive to non-Muslims. In this latest case, the ad’s purpose was to help Muslim women. Mentioning the reality of honour killing, however, is not allowed because the ad company thinks that the truth is offensive.

In a court hearing scheduled to begin in September, the City of Edmonton will have to justify its silencing of a non-profit group that wants to promote gender equality and protect Canadian women and girls from honour killings.

…So-called honour killings occur when a woman is considered to have sullied her family’s honour through some sexual indiscretion, or perceived immodesty. Victims of honour killings die at the hands of their own family members. They are powerless and voiceless, unable to get help from those closest to them.
In October 2013, Edmonton Transit ran — and then pulled — bus ads showing photos of Aqsa Parvez and six other women. The ad stated, “Muslim Girls Honor Killed By Their Families,” and continued, “Is your family threatening you? Is there a fatwa on your head? We can help: go to”
In response to complaints, Edmonton Transit pulled the ads for being “anti-Islamic,” and broke its contract with the non-profit American Freedom Defense Initiative, which paid for the ads. The non-profit’s court action alleges that the municipal agency violated its charter-protected right to freedom of expression.

In a pretrial skirmish, Justice Donald Lee ordered the city to answer questions about a pro-Islamic ad that previously ran on Edmonton buses. That ad had stated, in part, “ISLAM The message of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad” — an assertion sure to be offensive to some Jews and Christians. The city did not remove this pro-Islamic ad when it generated complaints. This is relevant because the Supreme Court has specifically held that governments must be neutral and there is nothing neutral about permitting a pro-Islamic ad, while removing an ad deemed anti-Islamic.
As our Supreme Court has held, freedom of expression is fundamental to a free and democratic society. Free speech facilitates those who advocate for change, in the hope of improving their lives, or all of society. To be meaningful, expressive freedom must include the right to communicate controversial and unpopular messages.

In a free society, the public is expected to tolerate controversy. Freedom of expression cannot exist if people enjoy a “right” to be free from feeling offended by another person’s opinions. Yet this is the “right” claimed by some Muslims, who would like to be spared the trouble of having to deal with those who would criticize their theology. The so-called “right” not to feel offended by another person’s speech is a toxic cancer that is slowly killing our freedom and our democracy. In September, the court has an opportunity to confront this cancer and defeat it.

For Canada’s democracy to function well, citizens must be able to fully exchange ideas and participate in public discourse. Prohibitions on expression, just because some may feel offended, only serve to further society’s ills, instead of addressing problems and providing help for victims like Aqsa Parvez.

National Post


  • Observer

    The transit company was probably concerned that someone from the Religion of Peace would blow up a carriage.

    • OneTrack

      The transit company were probably right to be worried about that eventuality.

      How many muslims has Canada imported now? With all the empirical evidence from Europe, Canada seems a special kind of stupid to want to follow in their footsteps.

  • Just me

    This is another example of the “left” failing women when it really counts. Must be a tough choice for the feminists… kow-tow to the Muslims or stand up for women’s right, not matter the race or religion of the woman. I guess we can chalk this up to another short sighted failure of the malcontent and socially “superior” left ideology.

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    The mental contortions needed to justify this will be interesting to hear in court.

  • Andinz

    All you have to do is google “honour killing canada” to be presented with the Shafia family drownings and other Islam-inspired deaths. For the Shafia read here:
    Anti-islamic ads may offend muslims but may save lives. If the Transit people listen to only those who complain they will not hear complaints from those whose lives are not saved.

  • andrewo

    This is how the Brown Shirts started: With average people too afraid to speak out against their intimidation. It will only embolden them.

  • MaryLou

    Easy fix in terms of the ads (although not addressing the reason for the pull-down) would be not to single them out. I imagine that just like dear old NZ Canada would have a few Indian immigrants? So… maybe a bit of acid-throwing, burning etc? Those women need help, too.

  • iera

    The ad does unfortunately use the words “Muslim” and “fatwa”.
    It could have simply said “These girls were honour killed by their families. Is your family threatening you? We can help.” Same message.
    People concerned know they mean.
    Those who would object have to then make the Islam assertion themselves –
    their problem.

  • Yousef Kayyali

    It’s a little iffy. Including ‘is there a fatwa on your head?’ is pointless and ignorant, because it assumes that some imam somewhere would issue a live fatwa just like a bounty for a specific woman, to kill, which isn’t the way things work. No imam goes and tells a father that it’s sanctioned to go and kill a daughter. Even if Sharia-inspired, not every civilian can carry out Sharia, it would have to be an Islamic system.

    I don’t have a problem with specific targeting, but it can’t be inspired by right wing trolls’ understanding of how Islam works. If they’d remove the orange sentence I’d be fine with it. Honor killing is a Middle Eastern cultural thing in this day and age -unfortunately- not an Islamic thing per se.

    Assuming that every Muslim girl who isn’t happy at home is waiting for a chance to break free from both family AND religion is a stupid one. Religion -in its spiritual side- is usually a refuge, so you just lost the abused girl who really believes in Islam when you add that “Is there a Fatwa on your head?” because it immediately signals that this group has a very strong and negative position on her religion, rather than just wants to help her in an apolitical setting. If that group really wanted to help women, it’d do everything to make it easy for the women to come to them instead of engaging in ideological baiting.