Anti-Muslim documentary, rejected elsewhere, makes world premiere in Toronto

Torontoist

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Anti-Muslim documentary, rejected elsewhere, makes world premiere in Toronto

Despite its hateful tone, the documentary received a standing ovation from the audience.

An Islamophobic documentary made its world premiere on Sunday in Toronto when it was screened at the Toronto Zionist Centre, at an event hosted by the Jewish Defense League and Act For Canada.

Killing Europe uses examples of real and horrific assaults to portray all Muslim migrants as violent rapists or, at the very least, complicit in these crimes.

The Ottawa Public Library cancelled a planned screening of the film in late November after complaints by Ottawa Against Fascism and human rights lawyer Richard Warman. In an interview with Metro News, filmmaker Michael Hansen said the cancellation constituted an act of censorship and claimed his ability to screen his movie was a question of free speech.

Hansen attended the Toronto showing, according to the invitation issued by the Jewish Defense League, an extreme Zionist group that often provides security for anti-Muslim events and demonstrations. It was hosted in partnership with ACT! for Canada, the Canadian offshoot of ACT! for America, which is the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hansen was provided with questions and an opportunity to comment and declined to do so.

The film is unlikely to find a wide audience in Canada, but it’s important to monitor alt-right media personalities and stay up to date on the ideologies and tactics of these groups. With that in mind, I sat down to watch the 90-minute film.

The first full scene opens in Denmark with Hansen gesturing to concrete barriers behind him. According to Hansen, the barriers are in place to prevent a terrorist attack with a vehicle. It feels like a “war setting,” he says. The camera pans over some storefronts and lingers on a shawarma shop, before cutting to a homeless man and a Muslim couple. After Hansen says his piece, the film makes an odd cut to a shot of a seemingly random black man walking through the frame, then focuses in on a young white girl behind him giving him an unpleasant look. I’m no videographer, but I’m discerning a pattern here.

We’re only three minutes in. It gets much, much worse. Torontoist has chosen to embed a short, one-minute clip to illustrate the tone of the documentary. [CW: The following clip contains sexual assault and violence.]

While the film likely does not meet the legal definition of hate speech under Canadian law, it demonizes all Muslim migrants. It repeats far-right claims, such as the notion that some areas with Muslim immigrants are riotous “no-go” zones, or that Muslim immigrants are responsible for widespread rape and sexual assault to the extent that it’s not safe for women to be on the streets alone at night.

Nowhere in the video does it make the distinction between criminal sex offenders and the larger Muslim community. Instead, the documentary tries to convince the viewer that violent rape, terrorist attacks, and the wholescale destruction of Western civilization is the inevitable outcome of Muslim immigration.

Simple fact-checking can discredit many of the claims in the film. Paul Weston, the leader of extreme anti-Muslim group PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) UK, is quoted suggesting that Muslims do not condemn terrorist attacks like the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. “If you publish a picture of a cartoon [of the Prophet Muhammad] you can immediately have a hundred thousand raving Muslims on the street but if they murder, in cold blood, children at a pop concert, you tend not to have any of them coming out to the streets saying, ‘Not in our name.’”

I paused the film to Google this. Unsurprisingly, it’s not true. Muslim leaders condemned the attack and Muslim groups raised money for the victims of the bombing. The Manchester Central Mosque refused to bury the suicide bomber responsible.

The documentary also takes shots at the anti-fascist movement. Clare Lopez, a vice president at the Center for Security Policy, claims anti-fascist activists and jihadists share the same goal in destroying western civilization. This isn’t true, and, for context, the Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes the Center for Security Policy as “a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States.”

The documentary is full of video clips of rioting, burning cars, and security-camera footage of a sexual assault. Hansen intersperses these clips with anti-Islam speakers and gotcha-style interviews with Muslims on the street.

“Wherever you look, wherever you turn—they’re everywhere,” says Hansen as he drives by a group of migrants in France. “Literally everywhere. I’m going to shoot most of this from the car because I don’t want to go outside because it’s so dark. I just don’t want to be standing there and not see what’s coming up behind me.”

The documentary ends with right wing author Mikael Jalving, who warns Hansen that “it doesn’t matter how you produce and how you cut this documentary. You have to know that you will be labeled a Nazi and a racist just because you made this movie.”

Hansen thanked the JDL and ACT! For Canada for holding the screening and got a standing ovation at the Toronto Zionist Centre.

For more information on Canada’s Islamophobia industry, please check out this article by Steven Zhou and this article, which links a senior member of Andrew Scheer’s leadership campaign with an anti-Islam group.

>>Will City Hall ban “hate-sponsored rallies?”

As we reported last week, the Executive Committee took up Councillor James Pasternak’s (Ward 10, York Centre) administrative inquiry, which asks city staff what options the City has to shut down “hate-sponsored rallies.”

The Executive Committee passed a motion asking the city manager to consult with human rights experts, the police, and legal experts “on the City’s legal responsibility and options in the context of leveraging existing and developing new policies with respect to preventing public gatherings that promote hate and incite discrimination from taking place on the City’s property; and report back to the Executive Committee by the second quarter of 2018.”

This is a satisfactory outcome.

I made a written submission on this motion arguing that banning rallies would be ineffective because it would go against the charter-guaranteed right to freedom of expression and probably wouldn’t stand up to a legal challenge. Instead, I recommended that Council encourage people to come to counter-demonstrate against hate groups.

>>Man disrupts event about the Rohingya “ethnic cleansing”

Councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) and Neethan Shan (Ward 42, Scarborough-Rouge River) invited Burma Task Force Canada and speakers Maung Zarni and the Bob Rae to talk about the crisis in Myanmar.

The November 23 presentation was disrupted by a man who said the advocates for the Rohingya are lying, and that it’s the Rohingya who were killing Hindus.

The United Nations human rights chief has called the situation in Myanmar “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” The Rohingya Muslim population of Myanmar have been systematically displaced or murdered and and more than 610,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.

Kevin J. Johnston, an anti-Muslim media personality currently facing hate crime charges, was there to film the disruption. So was Rebel Media.

In the video, posted to the RISE Canada YouTube page, the man says, “How can there be a genocide against the people like the Rohingya. They have the highest birthrate on Earth right now . . . There is no genocide [against the Rohingya] but what they want is a genocide because they want to steal the land from the Budhists.”

The man was escorted out by City Hall security.

>>In other news…

The Board of Review hearing on the mail privileges for the editor and producer of Nazi-paper Your Ward News continues despite hate crime charges being laid.

The Canadian Nationalist Party (white, European nationalists) held a conference in Toronto last week. This is the same group that was barred from holding an event on university property in August. The group plans on holding several conferences across Ontario and Canada.

 

CLARIFICATION: The original version of this article identified Paul Weston as the head of PEGIDA. He is the head of PEGIDA in the United Kingdom. 

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