We can debate the extremists, listen to them, scream and shout and insult them. But we must never ban them

Up close, Moazzam Begg is a short, rather shy man. When you speak to him he trembles slightly. Or he did when I last spoke to him. This could have been a product of nervous energy – we’d just finished taking part in a debate entitled “How Free Is Speech”, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings. Or it could be the product of the two years he spent incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.

In the eyes of both the US and British governments, Moazzam Begg has at various times been seen as a real and present danger to national security. According to the New York Times, when George Bush ordered his release from Guantanamo, “he did so over objections from the Pentagon, the CIA, and the FBI, all of which warned that Mr. Begg could still be a dangerous terrorist.” In 2014 he was arrested and charged in the UK with terrorism offences relating to the war in Syria. He was released seven months later when the CPS dropped the case due to lack of evidence.

  • ontario john

    I’m so glad that the Toronto Star explained to me this morning about Islam. Rick Salutin has a video that instructs me that our problems with terrorism is the West’s fault. We have been mean to islamic countries and need to change our policies. And women’s rights are not a problem in islam. Heather Mallick doesn’t mention islam in her story about International Women’s Day. Feminists just need to concentrate on being communists and hate oil, Premier Wynne is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and Harper is evil and a racist.

    • jayme

      But that’s the issue there are people in Canada that want us to be a Islamic state.

      • WalterBannon

        They are called Liberals

    • WalterBannon

      after we finish nuking all the Muslims, the treasonous progressives need to all be rounded up and exiled to the arctic.

  • truepeers

    What’s wromg with banning calls to violence? Sure it can be tough to know where to draw the line and our culture today is full of absurd claims about the violence of “privilege”; but at the end of the day the Westeren tradition of free speech is founded on the recognition of the need to overcome scapegoating violence. We should ban those who call for physical war against unbelievers

  • Hard Little Machine

    We could cut his tongue out, put out his eyes, lop off his hands though.

  • David

    How far must pandering to treason go?

  • winniec

    Moazzam Begg is not the red-haired man in the picture above. He’s a genuine terrorist who plotted to murder British parliamentarians. He’s an ingrate who as a child went to the Jewish King David School in Birmingham. He’s an unrepentant supremacist and terrorist who is praised because he has decided that ‘slow motion’ terrorism is more efficacious than all-out terrorism. He’s as phony as a 3-dollar bill.

    Sir Salman Rushdie was quoted as stating: “Amnesty International … has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates. … Amnesty and Begg have revealed, by their statements and actions, that they deserve our contempt.”

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Debating these extremists is like wrestling a pig. You end up getting dirty and the pig loves it.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Yeah, right, we can’t fight nothing!
    “If we fight anything, we will just create more, and that will be bad!”

    Of course, the very people that say that have no interest in fighting a cause that they actually support, on some level.

    Do you notice that they have no problem fighting sexism, racism, and every objectionable ‘ism’ on the planet, except for real problems?