Turning a blind eye?

Reading the statements, if they can be so called, by Salman Hossain, the former UTM student and Islamic extremist who in 2008 called for the death of Canadian soldiers on Canadian soil, and who more recently (see article on page 3) called for the extermination of the entire Jewish race,

I was tempted not write about him more than what’s strictly necessary. Mr. Hossain, after all, has gotten his fair share of attention, which is what people like him crave. Besides, Mr. Hossain doesn’t seem to have raised a single valid point—if he did, it was lost amid his insults, his radicalism, and his swearing. Two things made me change my mind and prompted me to write this editorial. Firstly, Mr. Hossain has not really received as much attention as I expected. When his first outburst was reported, UTM students did rush to Facebook to demand that the university expel him, and an event was held on campus to debate the limits of freedom of expression. Moreover, on the comments section of the newspaper sites that reported on the original event, many readers vented their anger and disbelief at Mr. Hossain’s words. But the fact remains that his 2008 outburst was not very widely reported, and that his latest tirade, on a website charmingly called Filthy Jewish Terrorist, has so far only been covered by the National Post, despite the fact that it prompted an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service and possibly the RCMP. I find this lack of exposure disturbing, and hope that our own coverage, however negligible versus a paper, say, like The Toronto Star, will help make the public more aware of not just anti-Semitism but hate speech in general, which we should condemn with equal vigour regardless of who is being victimized. The second reason I decided to write these lines is closely related to the first one. Because if The Medium, the official newspaper of the campus where Mr. Hossain began his incendiary online career, does not report on this, then who will?

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