Q & A with Ezra Levant
Q: The tragic events that have unfolded in France recently are shocking to most of us. But given the Firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s offices back In November 2011 should we be?
Ezra: They are shocking, but they should not be surprising. There are terrorist attacks by radical Muslims literally every hour of the day, around the world. Boko Haram in Nigeria kills, kidnaps and rapes daily; the Islamic State kills and rapes by the thousand. Terrorist attacks have come to Ottawa and Australia in recent months. In fact, it’s surprising it has taken this long for another mass casualty attack.
Q: As the former publisher of the Western Standard, your magazine was the only one in Canada to re-print the controversial cartoons years ago. Can you re-count that event?
Ezra: It was the right thing to do, and I’d do it again. In fact, I have been showing the cartoons on my TV show daily. Because they are the news. The French cartoons, like the Danish cartoons nine years ago, do not necessarily reflect my views. They are not the editorial cartoon of the Sun News Network, or of the old Western Standard. They are a news fact to be shown to readers/viewers — like an exhibit that a prosecutor puts to a jury. How can you tell the news without showing the central artifact of the news?
Q: Why do you think no other print outlets chose to publish the cartoons back then? Was it a reluctance to offend, or were they simply afraid?
Ezra: Fear of Islam, plain and simple. Either fear of physical violence, or fear of political harassment, like human rights prosecutions. Or fear of being called racist. But always fear. Here’s a larger essay I wrote back in 2006 that still applies today: http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/article.php?id=1504
Q: If they were simply afraid, that’s understandable, so why don’t they just say so? There’s no shame in protecting yourself and you employees is there?
Ezra: Of course there is a shame in saying that you’re scared. These are journalists — cynical, world-weary, sophisticated, cool, morally superior. They can’t admit that they’re scared. Journalists are like hecklers, voyeurs to the world’s events — like they’re sitting in the front row of a sports match, taunting the players. But this one time, journalists themselves are pulled into the arena — and they’re terrified. So they come up with all manner of laughable excuses for why they won’t publish (see my Western Standard essay above). Most of all, if they admit they’re scared, it throws their entire liberal world view — about multiculturalism, immigration, moral relativism, foreign policy, etc. — into disarray. That’s probably what most of them are afraid of: growing up and becoming conservative.
Q: A German newspaper, The Hamburger Morgenpost, was firebombed on Sunday January 11th 2015 for reprinting some of the cartoons that led to the massacre in France. The paper said they wished to demonstrate solidarity with the French cartoonists who were murdered. On Sunday the offices of a Belgian newspaper that re-published the cartoons were evacuated after it received an anonymous bomb threat, its staff said. Is this just the new normal?
Ezra: In Europe it is, because they are ten to twenty years further down the road than we are, in terms of Muslim population and radicalism. The Muslim population in France, for example, is between 6 and 12 million people, depending on your source of information. So that’s 9 to 18% of the population. Even if 90% aren’t radical; and if 90% of the radicals aren’t violent, that’s still 100,000 violent people (we know that over 1,000 French Muslims are fighting with the Islamic State). It’s not just violence; it’s politics. Francois Hollande received more than 90% of the Muslim vote — so he will be loathe to change course on everything from immigration to national security.
In Canada, our Muslim population has doubled since 9/11, to more than one million. According to an Environics poll right after the Toronto 18 arrests, more than 10% of Canadian Muslims supported the aims of the terrorists. We are doing a better job at integrating immigrants and dissipating radicalism. But we have about a terrorism arrest a month (three in the past week), and probably 100 Canadians fight with the Islamic State.
Q: By simply Googling Charlie Hebdo Cover Images, anyone can see dozens of cartoons. When I did so, I was surprised by the number of covers that were pretty insulting to Catholics, but were also pretty darn funny. Isn’t that the job of a satirical magazine?
Ezra: Yes, of course. But as Ayatollah Khomenei said, there is no humour in Islam. There is no humour in any totalitarian ideology, of course — Solzhenitsyn himself was sent to Siberia for making a joke about Stalin’s moustache. But it’s not just humour. It’s the laws that should arbitrate these matters. Radical Islam does not believe in secular laws, or the separation of mosque and state. Radical Islam believes in sharia law, that is transnational and god-given. So even Christians and atheists must abide by it.
Q: Do you think the mass demonstrations in France in support of Charlie Hebdo and the principals of free speech and a free press marks a turning point in Europeans’ political views?
Ezra: No I don’t. 9/11 didn’t change America’s views, nor did the British or Spanish subway bombings. Everyone still says we’re at war with “terrorism” — if they even use that word. As if a tactic is an enemy. That would be like saying Pearl Harbor put America at war against “airplanes and torpedoes”. No; we are at war with radical Islam — the jihad. As long as we pretend that Muslim terrorism isn’t Muslim and isn’t terrorist, we’re in denial.
Q: Charlie Hebdo is often described as a “left leaning” magazine. Yet here in North America, many “left leaning” leaders seem to go out of their way to claim that this attack was not about Islam, even though the murderers claim the opposite. What’s your take on that?
Ezra: It’s pure Islamophobia, in the literal sense of the word — fear of Islam. Leftists are are so dedicated to taking the side of the outsider, the “other”, that they will take the side of terrorists against our own civilization. And, as I mentioned above, it’s also a stubbornness — many leftists have nurtured a world view about multiculturalism and moral relativism for decades. For them to come to the conclusion that some cultures are better than others — and that some might even be our enemy — is so terrifying and revolutionary, they simply don’t want to be disillusioned. They don’t want to repudiate decades of belief.
Q: Ezra, you are Jewish. The only women killed inside Charlie Hebdo’s office that horrible day was Jewish. The crisis ended at a Jewish Grocery store. Other than statements of these facts, I have yet to see any in-depth analysis on this angle of the story in the mainstream press. Why?
Ezra: Jews are like a canary in a coal mine — they’re often the first to go. That was certainly the case with the Nazis. But the Holocaust didn’t just burn the Jews — it engulfed all of Europe.
Europe traded 6 million Jews for 20 million Muslims. Jews are the first target for terrorists. But they are never the last. Christians and other minorities are being wiped out by Muslim terrorists in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the world. And of course liberal Muslims are the greatest victims of Muslim terrorists, numerically speaking.
Anyone who thinks this problem will be contained to “the Jews” should realize that the goal of radical Islam is to make the entire world submit to the Koran — sharia law. It really has little to do with the West Bank, or Israel, or any excuse like that. It is to replace secular nation-states with theocracies — an Islamic State, to coin a phrase. You could take every Jew out of France and the attacks won’t stop — just like terrorism in Jew-free Syria and Iraq hasn’t stopped.
Q: Care to make any predictions on what might happen next, and how this will play itself out in future French elections?
Ezra: I think Marine Le Pen will continue to do well, as will Nigel Farage in the UK, Geert Wilders in Holland, and others who are willing to tackle jihad through limiting Muslim immigration, and through cracking down on Muslim extremism domestically.
I think it will be a campaign issue in Canada’s federal election this year too.
- Scott Bullock
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