Canadian cleric’s promotion of legal Islamic case banned

Rev David Gibson’s speech will be suppressed by a Canada Court whenever he appears at functions in public or at schools and says anything about the case against those charged for distributing COVID-19

TORONTO – A Canadian judge has approved an order by the Crown to prevent Rev David Gibson from recanting his earlier statements about a controversial Islamic case on which he has spoken at assemblies and in public forums.

Judges at Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice ruled on 20 August that Gibson will only be able to speak about the COVID-19 case when he appears before one of two parallel disciplinary panels established for the Canadian church he serves in Niagara Falls.

As First Amendment lawyer Joshua Matlow explains in an email to the Guardian, “Any sermon, podcast, or public statement he makes while attending one of the CCs will be held against him at the future CC. If he expresses any views outside the CC, he will be punished – by the CC and the Crown – if he speaks about the COVID-19 prosecution.”

The English is set to begin on 5 November for the National Church Council of Westmount, which Gibson leads. A later date has not yet been scheduled. The Ontario court rulings do not affect Gibson’s sermons and other testimonials.

Further sanctions from the disciplinary panels could be applied, including the possibility of expulsion from the church.

COVID-19 for a Feb. 7, 2016 Islamic State attack

The ruling by the Ontario court involving Rev Gibson comes as the Ontario Human Rights Commission is considering a complaint lodged by a Muslim group over his remarks on COVID-19 at a March 15, 2016 meeting of the Niagara Hill Catechism.

After the Ontario court ruled on Gibson’s freedom of speech rights, the Ontario Human Rights Commission announced that it had filed a formal complaint on 30 August against Westmount Church, Pastor Gibson and the Canadian church where he now serves as overseer.

The complaint was filed under Section 1(b) of the Ontario Human Rights Code, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, among other conditions.

The complaint, initiated by the Islamic Association of Peel, alleges that Gibson was “inciting hatred” toward the Imam and congregation of Masjid Al-Rahma Ontario, and directly challenged their religious beliefs in the March 15 meeting of Westmount Catechism.

The complaint alleges that Gibson “incited [people of the association] to feel hatred toward Muslims.”

According to the complaint: “[T]he defendant was inciting hatred towards his opponent [Imam Saeed and the members of Masjid Al-Rahma] by challenging their religious beliefs, taunting them, stating that they are infidels, insulting and degrading them, telling them that their faith is worthless, that they are not true Muslims, they are infidels, and that they are nothing more than deceivers, and a humiliated people, and therefore they are inferior to Jews, Christians, and Sikhs.”

The commission claims the episode violated Section 7 of the Ontario Human Rights Code (“Whites People of Biblical Origin, Other Racial/Religious Origin, Indigenous People, Dark-Skinned People and People of Korean and Orient Indian Origin”).

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