Blog

Ezra Levant

January 8, 2015 by Speakers' Spotlight

Charlie Hebdo Attack: In Conversation with Ezra Levant

In the wake of yesterday’s shocking act of terror in France, Maclean’s magazine spoke with television personality and provocateur Ezra Levant on the incident:

Q: One of my favourite cartoons that you published was the Arne Sorensen one of a cartoonist sitting at his drafting table, nervously drawing Muhammad while looking over his shoulder. The idea that pencil marks can be a death sentence was borne out in Paris yesterday. What does that tell you?

A: First of all, it tells me that the threat of radical Islam is real. When these people hold up signs reading, “Behead those who insult Islam,” or when they issue fatwas saying kill Salman Rushdie or the cartoonists, it’s not just for show. They actually mean it and, in this case, they’ll do it almost nine years after Charlie Hebdo published the Danish cartoons. The second thing is, why did they do it? What is the strategic impact of killing 12 cartoonists? You didn’t take out any tanks, planes or drones. You’ve actually done something much more powerful. 9/11 killed 3,000 people. It was an atrocity and a tragedy, but it didn’t reduce liberty in the West, other than at airports and some surveillance. Compare that to the effect of these 12 murders. Which do you think will cause thousands of Western journalists, editors and producers to consciously or subconsciously say, “I’m not going to do that radical Islam this week, I’ll talk about hockey or weather.” Which do you think has done more damage to our culture of liberty and has terrified the media, the pundits, the human rights commissions, the judges, the cops, the lawyers?

Q: Yet there’s an irony in that, because, since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, I’ve never seen so many caricatures of Muhammad in my life.

A: That’s because you’re seeking these things out. I spoke at a journalists’ conference, and most people hadn’t seen the Danish cartoons. They were journalists, but were so incurious, they wouldn’t even Google them. What about mere readers who rely on journalists to get that information?

Q: So you’re saying that this will make journalists who are chickens–t even more chickens–t?

A: Absolutely, and for good reason. The word Islamophobia has two meanings. There’s the politically correct wing of not liking Muslims. But there’s the literal meaning of Islamophobia, which is you are afraid of Islam. You are afraid of an ideology that has embedded in it doctrines of war and murder. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Koran. It is a terrifying document.

Q: So is the Old Testament.

A: Yeah. Now the good thing is, the Old Testament has not been an operational manual for about 2,000 years.

Q: This touches on another thing. History is filled with religious types killing whomever in the name of whatever deity they pray to, for whatever reason. Why is it today that it seems it’s only strains of Islam that do this sort of thing—the victims of which are overwhelmingly Muslim?

A: The reason is they have not had a reformation or a modernization of their faith in centuries. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made a remarkable speech on New Year’s Day. He asked: Why is Islam at war with the whole world? Why is the whole world afraid of us? It’s because we don’t have a debate or discussion about things. He said this in front of his ministry in charge of all the mosques. He said that we, meaning Muslims, need a revolution in our faith. El-Sisi is trying, and I hope he isn’t assassinated like Anwar Sadat. But other than that, tell me who a Muslim reformer is. Tell me who their Martin Luther is. Tell me who wants to change some of the medieval thinking. Two thousand years ago, I’m sure there were cases of Jews stoning gays to death. Five hundred years ago, I’m sure there were conquistadors killing Mayans in the name of Christ. But we’re in the 21st century and, as you point out, the only religion that is unsafe to mock is Islam.

Q: Killing someone because they mock your religion seems to me to be a show of profound insecurity.

A: Of course it is. But it appeals to some people. I’ve argued that the rape culture of Islamic State is not some incidental aspect; it’s central to Islamic State’s appeal to young Muslim men who are sexually repressed and frustrated. They get paid in rape slaves, and it’s all approved by imams.

Q: To be fair, most wars involve rape, whether Islam or not.

A: Right. And it’s an atrocity, like the rape of Nanking or Russia’s rape of Germany. But I’ve never seen in history a formal legal fatwa that Islamic State issued last month religiously endorsing raping women. It’s a recruiting tool. There is a great sickness, and you’re right to point out that the greatest victims of radical Islam are the Muslims who want to live a life reconciled with modernity.

Q: In your view, what should the French government do in the wake of these killings?

A: The fact that they called it terrorism is one basic step forward. What they ought to do, what Canada ought to do, is weed out violent mosques and weed out violent imams as if they were Hells Angels motorcycle gangs. If someone is preaching the murder of infidels and of those who insult Muhammad . . . If someone is preaching that, how is that not incitement to murder, when we see murder happening? Weed them out, deport the foreigners, and prosecute.

Q: In 2006, you had the courage to publish what no one else would publish. I don’t want to belittle that, but you’re still alive and kicking. I’m wondering if the context is different here than it is elsewhere.

A: The Charlie Hebdo guys were alive until yesterday. I’m not saying I feel in jeopardy. We don’t have 10 million Muslims in Canada, many of whom are radicalized, and over 1,000 fighting with Islamic State. We don’t have banlieues that are essentially police no-go zones. We don’t have the same culture of jihad here. And I think that’s in part because, over the last eight years, this government has tried to separate the radicals from the moderates and CSIS and the RCMP have done a good job, thank God, of breaking up terrorist plots. I hope that luck keeps up. It kept up in Sydney, Australia, until two weeks ago.

Q: You criticized journalists and media organizations six years ago for not printing the cartoons. Has the culture changed at all, in your opinion?

A: Oh my God, it’s absolutely worse! Do you think the Globe and Mail is going to show a Danish cartoon of Muhammad tomorrow? Do you think the CBC will? The Daily Telegraph is already pixelating pictures from Charlie Hebdo. Do you really think we are less cowardly today than nine years ago? All these people putting “Je Suis Charlie“ on their Twitter avatar; you cowards! That’s not defying anybody. Put the picture of the cartoon in your avatar. That’s courage. Not a lot of courage, but baby steps. “Je Suis Charlie”? No you’re not, actually, because Charlie Hebdo published the cartoons, and Charlie Hebdo got killed.

By Martin Patriquin/Maclean’s/January, 2015

 


Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire you and your staff to take action, be it in your personal lives, your workplace, or both. Read More

Conference Speakers

The Impact of a Speech Can Last Forever

Speakers' Spotlight represents a talented roster of some of the world's most extraordinary conference speakers. Our conference speakers' experience is as broad as it is deep, and they are all leaders in their fields, which include business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our conference speakers are thought-provoking and action-oriented and leave their audiences, whether speaking to a group of 10, 100, 1000 or more, enlightened and inspired.

Speakers' Spotlight's conference speakers frequently go the extra mile to be in touch with meeting planners - or even CEOs and presidents of companies and organizations themselves - in advance of their talks in order to tailor the message and hit on key points specific to the client's needs. Our conference speakers arrive on time, and will have conferred with you in advance to ensure they have everything they need in order to deliver an impactful speech. Our conference speakers frequently use well designed visuals, such as photos, slide shows, or video clips to bring other elements of interest into their talks, and our conference speakers frequently build-in time during their talks to allow for an audience Q&A, ensuring your staff has a chance to ask questions of the particular conference speaker they have just heard.

Some of our conference speakers in high demand include David Chilton, Bruce Croxon, General Rick Hillier, Clara Hughes, Ron James, Amanda Lang, Stephen Lewis, Patricia Lovett-Reid, Mark Kielburger, Kevin O'Leary, Jeff Rubin, and Margaret Trudeau.

Speakers' Spotlight is committed to serving the diverse needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking conference speakers, and we work hard to find the conference speakers that will best meet and exceed your needs. Whatever you require are when it comes to conference speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the conference speakers that are right for you.

Keynote Speakers

Speakers' Spotlight: The Key Ingredient To Finding Your Perfect Speakers

Speakers' Spotlight represents a vast roster of some of the world's most extraordinary keynote speakers in fields such as business, politics, sports, the media, academia, science, technology, culture and entertainment. Our keynote speakers run the gauntlet from spoken word poet Sarah Kay, to business guru Simon Sinek; from young athlete Olympic athlete Adam van Koeverden to the wrongly incarcerated former boxer Ruben Carter; from Margaret Trudeau to her son Justin Trudeau. Whatever your needs are for your keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight the keynote speakers that will fill them.

Our keynote speakers can adjust their talks to suit your needs, whether you're looking for an address by keynote speakers of 15, 30, or 45 minutes or more, our keynote speakers will confer with you before your engagement to ensure that their talks meet your needs. Our keynote speakers frequently adjust their speeches to include important talking points your organization or company needs emphasized, and will also often adjust content so it is individually tailored to your audience. For instance, if your audience is primarily those in the auto industry, our keynote speakers will draw on anecdotes from that industry in order to ensure their speech is relatable. Our keynote speakers are usually available in the days and weeks prior to your event to discuss your needs and go over any details (such as audio visual requirements) that arise.

Speakers' Spotlight is committed to meeting the different needs of the corporations, organizations, companies, non-profit and government groups that contact us when seeking keynote speakers, and we work hard to find the keynote speakers that will provide the best match for your event. Whatever you require are when it comes to keynote speakers, Speakers' Spotlight will work had to ensure that you get the keynote speakers that are right for you.

Motivational Speakers

Motivating the world

Speakers' Spotlight represents a wide variety of motivational speakers who present energetic talks that will inspire leaders and employees to take action, be it in their personal lives, their workplace, or both. Speakers' Spotlight's motivational speakers address everything from encouraging audiences to adapt healthy lifestyles to unifying groups to achieve professional goals. Our motivational speakers work with an astonishing range of companies in sectors such as science, technology, finance, advertising, and manufacturing, as well as professional organizations, cultural institutions, and non-profit entities and government, throughout North American and around the world.

Motivational speakers that work with Speakers' Spotlight frequently go the extra mile to be in touch with meeting planners - or even CEOs and presidents of companies and organizations themselves - in advance of their talks in order to tailor the message and hit on key points specific to the client's needs. Our motivational speakers arrive on time, work with the client in advance to ensure the proper set up of their audio/visual needs so that everything will go smoothly when they hit the stage, and often include Q&A sessions in their talks so that your staff can ask any questions of our motivational speakers that they may wish.

Using Speakers' Spotlight to book your motivational speakers obviously offers many advantages. You reap the benefits of our experience and expertise, as we can help you select the best motivational speakers for your motivational speakers' engagement.

Our motivational speakers include prominent motivational speakers - and many of them household names -- such as Roberta Bondar, Michael "Pinball" Clemons, Terry Evanshen, Scott Harrison, John Izzo, Simon Jackson, Craig Kielburger, Dr. Samantha Nutt, Simon Sinek, Severn Cullis-Suzuki and Brett Wilson.

Whatever your needs are when it comes to motivational speakers, Speakers' Spotlight has the motivational speakers that will both meet -- and exceed -- your expectations.

Zync is a marketing agency specializing in corporate brand identity and responsive web design.