Public Safety denies Blaney cited Qur'an verse as hate speech
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Feb. 17, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney's office denies he cited a verse from the Qur'an as an example of hate speech that "goes against Canadian values."
Blaney's office says the minister's remarks about killing infidels originated from the terrorist group ISIS, not the Muslim holy book.
The minister appeared before a Commons committee to defend Bill C-51, his government's new anti-terrorism legislation. It would allow authorities to remove online terrorist propaganda and charge the publishers.
"If we click on the Internet, and a site is hosted in Canada, and promotes jihadism and says: 'Kill all the infidels wherever they are around the world', I believe it goes against Canadian values," said Blaney.
The quote appears to paraphrase chapter 9, verse 5 of the Qur'an, which reads in part: "Kill the polytheists (idolaters, pagans) wherever you find them." Many Muslim scholars say the verse refers only to self-defence.
In an e-mail to QMI Agency, a spokesman for Blaney said the minister was in fact quoting ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who urged followers to kill westerners.
"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European -- especially the spiteful and filthy French -- or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," the ISIS official said last September.
During his presentation to the Commons committee on Tuesday, Blaney said terrorists have declared war on Canada because "they hate our society they hate our values."
The minister compared jihadist declarations to Nazi propaganda, saying "the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words."
His remarks prompted NDP committee member Randall Garrison to suggest Blaney was "trivializing the Holocaust." The British Columbia MP invited Blaney to retract his remarks.
The minister refused, raising his voice to make his point.
"Violence starts with words," the minister repeated. "Hate begins with words. I can talk to you about the genocide in Rwanda that began on the radio."
The Liberals have endorsed Bill C-51, which would strengthen the no-fly list, allow for better co-ordination between national security agencies, and give police more power to make preventative arrests.
The NDP, as well as privacy commissioners from across Canada, are among those who say the bill gives too much power to security authorities.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair calls Bill C-52 "sweeping, dangerous, vague and ineffective" and his party claims legitimate protesters could be lumped in with terrorists.
Blaney countered that the bill only deals with threats to national security.
He also mentioned that a judge would have to approve any searches or detentions under Bill C-51.
Problems that arise with CSIS can be addressed by the Security Intelligence Review Committee, which is the spy agency's watchdog, said the minister.