Syed Soharwardy: admires Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, threatens me that I'll "soon pay"
See update, underneath the photo, below.
I haven't written about Syed Soharwardy in a while. He is the Pakistani-born radical imam who filed the first human rights complaint against me and the Western Standard after we published the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in 2006. (He abandoned his complaint this spring; the other members of his Saudi values coalition, the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, filed a copycat complaint which was just dismissed.)
As long-time readers will know, Soharwardy is a disreputable character. As the Calgary Herald ably outlined, Soharwardy has:
- said that the Jews of Israel are worse than the Nazis;
- said that Western aid agencies helping out Asian tsunami victims were actually kidnapping Muslim children and converting them to Christianity; and
- called for sharia law to be applied in Canada.
As well, Soharwardy is currently locked in a bitter battle with half of his forty congregants in Calgary. They're accusing him of pocketing their money; he's sued them in return; and three women from his mosque have filed human rights complaints against Soharwardy himself, for how he treats them. I've seen a video of his mosque; he makes the women sit at the back, and he shouts them down when they try to speak. He's a Saudi-style bigot.
By the way, two of the women who have criticized Soharwardy have suffered violent incidents. One had her house torched; the other had a home invasion attack that left her hospitalized. According to police, the perpetrators warned the household to stop criticizing Soharwardy's mosque. Click here to learn more about the Pakistani-style violence that befalls his critics.
Enough background. Here's the news. Yesterday morning, I was scheduled to appear on John Oakley's popular radio show in Toronto. Then the producer called me back and said that Soharwardy would be joining the call, too. I couldn't believe it! On the day that the human rights commission had rejected the complaints against our magazine as improper, on the day that taxpayers were stuck with a $500,000 tab for his wild goose chase, Soharwardy was actually looking for attention? You'd think that he'd be hiding from the press -- and from Alberta taxpayers.
When the interview started, Soharwardy wasn't there -- I assumed he had come to his senses, and turned off his phone. But he joined us shortly.
I asked him if he was going to repay taxpayers the $500,000 he owed them.
So I asked him again.
So I asked him if he'd pay even a token sum: $10,000. No answer.
I think, at that point, he started to realize it was pretty stupid of him to have called.
Soharwardy tried to criticize the Alberta HRC -- the very people who had obeyed his fatwa, and prosecuted me for 900 days. He trashed them as incompetent. He said the dismissal was a good thing. All this from the very fool who started the whole saga!
I think Soharwardy might have thought that, on the day the Edmonton complaint against me was dropped, he might commiserate, and we'd be friends. I have no idea what goes on in his head.
But I thought I'd mention a few things on air about Soharwardy, since we were chatting anyways. Like the fact that on one of his websites, he links, with approval, to an essay written by a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. I've saved the page here, because Soharwardy has a tendency to delete pages that embarrass him. Qaradawi is banned from many western countries, including the U.K., because of his exhortations to murder Jews. He's Soharwardy's hero.
The debate degenerated pretty quickly. That's the second time Soharwardy and I have spoken; the first was the day the cartoons rolled off the press back in 2006. He didn't like how that debate went, either, and promptly asked the Calgary police to arrest me. They didn't, so he filed his human rights complaint. I have no idea what he's going to do now, after yesterday's brutal debate.
But he did give me a warning: I'll "soon pay", he shouted, with half of Toronto as his witness, his voice rising to a girlish trill.
Normally, I'd laugh at that old fart. But, given that two of Soharwardy's critics at his mosque have been violently attacked, maybe I should take Soharwardy's threat seriously. What did he mean by I'll "soon pay"?
You can hear the entire debate here (scroll down to Soharwardy's name).
And, just for context, he's a picture of Robina Butt, one of Soharwardy's critics at the mosque, the Al Madinah center. This is what she looked like after she was attacked by someone shouting "we come from Al-Madinah; if you ever talk anything about Al-Madinah . . . this is the first instalment."