After I accepted the invitation to come here, I received a couple of emails from prominent persons saying wasn’t I a bit worried that some of the people here are a bit controversial and it might not be a good idea to be seen in the same room as them. And that’s a fair point. Obviously, it would be far safer for one’s reputation to appear in the same room as less controversial figures such as the chaps appearing last weekend at the Muslim Council of Calgary’s big event in Alberta. Their keynote speaker was the Saudi-educated imam Dr Bilal Phillips, who’s on record as saying that every male homosexual should be executed. He later clarified his position: He only wants all male homosexuals in Muslim countries executed. “The media tends to take my words out of context,” he said.
Also on the bill was the moderate Muslim Shaykh Hatem Alhaj, who supports the introduction of female genital mutilation to North America. But he’s a “moderate” Muslim because he only believes in nicking the clitoris rather than slicing the thing right off. So the head of the Calgary Police Diversity Unit and multiple representatives of the Canadian state had no problem whatsoever being in the same room as Messrs Alhaj and Phillips.
There is literally nothing a prominent Muslim can say – about gays, about Jews, about women – that would render him persona non grata.
That’s the world we live in: sharing a stage with a man calling for compulsory execution for homosexuals isn’t controversial; sharing a stage with Lars Hedegaard is.