By Wayne Litke
A couple of thoughts came back to life after reading news stories on the weekend and listening to the national news. It’s not like I had a revelation or epiphany, just the same old ideas that keep popping up when I see how we deal with terrorists.
Firstly, I want to be clear that I do not want civil liberties in Canada to be curtailed. However, I would really appreciate it if the authorities could fully prosecute and administer an effective deterrent to any act of terrorism or the planning of such acts. The problem in western countries is we must give terrorists and serial killers the same rights as someone convicted of manslaughter or accidental death – that is what civilized countries with democracies do. The same rules apply to everyone, even people who abuse or manipulate the system.
Unlike Saudia Arabia, we do not imprison and then publicly lash people who speak out against the government. That is what happened to Raif Badawi who was sentenced to a weekly public outing where he would receive 50 lashes. After receiving a flogging on Jan. 9, the whippings have been postponed. Some people believe the delay is due to criticism from the West since Badawi’s wife and three children live in Canada, but Saudi doctors apparently determined he is not yet fit to receive another such lashing. Until recently, the health of the person to be flogged had little to do with the administration of the punishment. If the individual died during the punishment, that’s just the way it was – in other words, “it must have been God’s will.”
As barbaric as it is, flogging is a fairly effective deterrent (provided the recipient lives). You don’t have to believe me, just ask the westerner who was beaten with a cane after he was found guilty of theft and vandalizing vehicles in Singapore in 1994. After being disciplined and receiving four of the six cane strokes, Michael Fay returned to the States. He continued to live a checkered life as he had several dealings with the police. However I never heard of him being charged with theft or vandalism of any more automobiles.
The latest incident that stimulated my brain cells involves a radical Islamic preacher who was imprisoned in Norway. Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad (a.k.a. Mullah Krekar) is now out of prison, but unfortunately he cannot be deported because he apparently faces a potential death sentence in his native country of Iraq. Norway (the land of one of my grandfathers) has came a long way since the days the Vikings pillaged and plundered. Now a civilized country, it will not deport a man to another country where he may be killed, even if he is a preacher of hatred.
Ahmad was the original leader of a jihadist group that has links to al-Qaeda. The preacher is on a UN terror list and served part of a five-year prison sentence for making death threats against a politician and trying to intimidate a witness. With credentials like that, why not immediately send him packing – preferably to his home country?
The ingenious Norwegians came up with their own civilized plan to deal with the radical Islamist. The supreme court declared him a threat to national security and plans to force him to live at a retreat in a remote coastal village of 2,500 people. His lodgings will apparently be 500 kms north of Oslo in a hostel that is 110 kms from the nearest substantial settlement. There are a few drawbacks to the government’s plan. Firstly, the hostel also houses people who are seeking asylum, so the preacher may have a captive audience that he can attempt to convert. Secondly, Ahmad has appealed the court’s ruling and you guessed it, he claims that being exiled to the north away from this wife and four children is an infringement of his human rights.
This is the point at which I get excited because radicals and terrorists abuse the civil rights and liberties which we all enjoy and then claim they are being denied those very rights when they are charged with breaking the law, prosecuted and punished. Such actions really anger me, especially because there are hard-working immigrants in Canada who get deported because their paperwork is not in order or they are found to be doing the unthinkable: working. I am referring to cases such as the 65-year-old woman from Pakistan who was working at Saskatoon as a cook. She came to Canada in 2007 and claimed refugee status since she was at risk of being the victim of an honour killing (stoning) in her native country after allegedly being involved in an adulterous affair. Apparently none of her in-laws who may want to kill her would testify or sign an affidavit, so she was deported last year.
How is it that civil liberties can be manipulated by evil people who seek to avoid deportation while hard-working, honest individuals are deported by over-zealous bureaucrats in the Immigration department?