CANADIAN BROADCAST STANDARDS COUNCIL

Ontario regional panel

CFRA-AM re an episode of the Lowell Green Show (the Qur'an)

(CBSC Decision 05/06-1380)

Decided May 18, 2006

R. Stanbury (Chair), M. Ziniak (Vice-Chair), D. Braun (ad hoc), R. Deverell (ad hoc), H. Hassan, J. Pungente

the facts 

The Lowell Green Show is an open-line radio program on which the host and callers discuss current events and news stories on CFRA-AM (Ottawa) from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon each weekday.  The March 31, 2006 episode was "Friday Open House", to which listeners were invited to contribute by discussing any topic they wished.  Host Lowell Green did, however, offer four possible topics for discussion: gas price collusion; the media attention given to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's vest on his trip to Mexico; policing and gang violence; and a news report about a Muslim terrorist being arrested in Canada.  Lowell Green introduced that final topic with the following information (a much fuller transcript of the program can be found in Appendix A): 

Oh boy.  Looks like we've caught another terrorist hiding out in Canada.  Just listen to this.  And you can start asking yourself a few questions.  Forty-year old Raja Mustafa was arrested in Newmarket a couple of weeks ago.  We're only learning about it this morning.  Police say he has direct links to Osama bin Laden.  He was trained in an Afghan terrorist camp.  In fact, he apparently is a captain in Osama's army.  When caught, he had a large amount of cash, appeared to be about ready to leave the country.  He may have been tipped off, which, among other things, raises some disturbing questions:  Who tipped him off?  Do we have a police informant someplace?  Now listen, it, it doesn't end here.  Mustafa was living with his brother-in-law, Syed Ali, a refugee wanted in the United States for drug trafficking and fraud.  At one time, both men were living with Syed's brother, a suspected human smuggler wanted by U.S. authorities.  Whether those two men have been caught is not clear.  Why they have been allowed to live openly in Canada all along isn't clear either.  The Sun this morning has a picture of Syed's wife.  They went to the home and, uh, his wife said, oh no, she hadn't seen him in five years and yet behind her were some of Syed's children.  I mean it's just, meantime, another man wanted in the United States for terrorism appeared in a Toronto court yesterday.  That is Abdullah Khadr.  Yes, from the infamous Khadr family.  This is the man whose father, a notorious terrorist, good friend of Osama bin Laden, was released from a Pakistani prison following lobbying efforts on behalf of Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien.  The father was killed in a police shoot-out in Pakistan.  Abdullah's younger brother is being held at Guantanamo Bay on charges of killing an American medic.  And among those lobbying on his behalf are some of the Trudeau brothers.  Khadr's mother once told reporters she'd be happy if her children died as martyrs.  In other words, as suicide bombers.  She still lives in Canada free as a bird.  Aiye yie yie yie yie yie yie yie yie.  And then we got another one, apparently involved in trying to figure out how to attach bombs to model aircraft.  And there're no terrorists in Canada.  Half the country, three quarters of the country doesn't believe that terrorists would ever come to Canada.  Meantime, there's a very disturbing letter to the editor of the National Post this morning.  It is written by H. Klatt, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario.  He refers to the pressure in Afghanistan to kill the man who converted from Islam to Christianity.  Professor Klatt writes, and here, I want to make this very clear before you start sending little civil libertarians after me and all the rest of it.  I want to make it clear, I am reading from a letter that is published this morning, publicly, in the National Post.  Okay?  I'm not saying I agree or disagree.  I'm reading this letter.  So before you start all of the charges and the arrest warrants and the rest of it, please remember I am reading a letter that appears in a newspaper.  Quote, this is what Professor Klatt writes, quote, "It is etal", er, I'm sorry, "It is Allah's eternal will and Muhammad's decree that all apostates be killed, albeit only those who convert from Islam to other faiths and not the other way around."  Quote, from the Qur'an, chapter four, verse 89, quote, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion," unquote.  Professor Klatt goes on to say, "The Qur'an contains the will of the All-Merciful God and has been deposited on tablets in Heaven, guarded by angels even before the creation of the universe.  A document like that is not easily overturned by some state parliament or under pressure from foreign governments.  Allah, in addition, will punish every apostate from Islam with eternal hell fire."  He goes on to say, quote, "As long as we remain imbued with our politically correct dogmas, such as that Islam is a religion of peace and is tolerant and compatible with life in a democracy, we will be bewildered and remain without understanding.  Every Muslim is first and above all a Muslim, who accepts the dogmas of his faith before he is Algerian, a democrat, a believer in human rights or tolerant towards others.  The prospect is grim," unquote.  Before you launch the lawsuits, I'm reading from a letter in the National Post.  Okay?  I'm simply reading what the letter says.  Professor H. Klatt at the University of Western Ontario writing in today's National Post.  Now I have no idea if what the professor writes is correct.  If it is, it seems to me, as he says, a grim prospect indeed.  Certainly poses the question whether, if this is true, such diametrically opposed cultures can live peacefully together.  Your comments?  521-8255.  521-8255. 

Following a commercial break, Green spoke again about the letter published in the National Post: 

[T]his letter from Professor Klatt really disturbs me.  If in fact the Qur'an does say this, and I gather that it does, that anybody who changes from Islam to any other faith should be killed, oh.  Let me ask you, should, should Muslims, when they wish to enter this country be asked if they believe that?  And if they say that they do, should they be allowed in this country?  Can we live peacefully side by side with people who believe that anybody who switches from their faith to another should be killed?  Can we live peacefully side by side?  With that kind of a belief?  521-8255.  That really, I find that, uh, Professor Klatt says, uh, the prospect, the prospects are grim.  If that is true, he may be right. 

While a few of the initial callers addressed the suggested issues of gas prices, gang violence and the Prime Minister's sartorial choices, others concentrated on the news story about the accused terrorists arrested in Newmarket.  Thereafter the greatest number of callers focussed on the National Post letter by Professor Klatt and issues flowing therefrom, such as Canada's multiculturalism and immigration policies, activities in the Middle East, and a case of apostasy in Afghanistan, which the show tied closely to various provisions of the Qur'an.  In the end, the great majority of callers in the final two hours focussed on the issue of apostasy and Islam's response to it.  The transcript limited to just the most relevant portions of the dialogue throughout the three-hour program is too lengthy to provide here, but it can be found at the end of this decision document.  A far more complete transcript can be found in Appendix A.  The most immediately pertinent excerpts are, of course, provided in the body of the decision text. 

The CBSC received a complaint dated March 31 from a listener who was concerned about the comments broadcast about Muslims and the Qur'an.  Attached to that complaint was a copy of a letter the complainant had sent directly to CFRA (the full text of the correspondence can be found in Appendix B): 

Mr. Green tacitly incited hate by blatantly suggesting believers in the Qur'an are a physical threat to Canadians because of their belief in the Qur'an.  He purposely juxtaposed the Qur'an to The New Testament (NT) claiming that the NT does not ever support whimsical or religious based killing, unlike the Qur'an.  He used this to clearly separate the two faiths in an effort to incite hate towards one particular group based upon their religious beliefs.  This is not acceptable for any public broadcaster.

 

Here is a copy of a letter I have mailed to Mr. Green & CFRA:

 

Mr. Green,

 

Today you claimed the New Testament, unlike the Qur'an, does not contain passages which support whimsical murder.

 

Let's take a look at Mark 7:1-13.  Jesus accused the Pharisees of "neglecting the commandment of God" so they could "hold to the tradition of men" (7:8).  They set "aside the commandment of God in order to keep [their] tradition" (7:9).  The commandments Jesus was referring to were OT commandments:  "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death'" (7:10).  Here we see Jesus applying Exodus 21:17 and Leviticus 20:9 in a NT context.  The same account is found in Matthew 15:1-14, the same NT book where you claim there are no references to faith based killing.  Therefore, according to the New Testament, Jesus believed anyone who speaks evil of their parents should be killed ... well, isn't that nice of you Jesus.  Obviously Canada is under threat of Christians who support their God.  I suspect this passage would pose at least as much threat as any found within the Qur'an.  Just quoting the good book here, Lowell, not making this up.

 

Yes, the Qur'an, as an ancient text, is derived from a time far different from ours.  It does include passages which support killing non-believers and converts; however, the New Testament is certainly not without its own convictions of death.  As well, like in all of your one-sided ceterus [sic] paribus arguments, you entirely ignore context.  As the New Testament is an evolution of the beliefs put forth by God himself, as is the modern Muslim an evolution of the days in which the Qur'an was revealed.  True believers (in all religions) understand the failings of literal following.  These holy books are texts, not isolated paragraphs. 

CFRA sent the following response on April 7: 

Respectfully, if you heard the entire Lowell Green program, you will be well aware that the discussion centred very specifically and exclusively around those people who consider it acceptable to kill a person who has converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity.

 

That is the position taken by extremists in volatile parts of the world, the profile of which was raised most notably by the case of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, where the Muslim-led parliament demanded that Mr. Rahman be put to death instead of being allowed to travel out of the country for refuge in Italy.  Given the constitution of Afghanistan and the very public demands of the death penalty for converting to Christianity, it is not unreasonable to conclude that such extremists do indeed pose a physical threat - particularly to converts.  This is an international story, and it is entirely appropriate to discuss this issue as a matter of public concern in Canada.

 

Throughout the program, Lowell made it abundantly clear he was addressing only the extremists who want to emigrate into Canada, and who support the practice of executing Muslim-Christian converts.  Not surprisingly, Muslim callers agreed that such extremists should not be allowed to import their extremist views into Canada, and that Canada has every right to pose the question.

 

There is no need for you to defend the Qur'an "as an ancient text, derived from a time far different from ours."  Mr. Green did not attack the Qur'an - indeed he has often praised the Prophet Muhammad as a visionary man of true love and peace.  Mr. Green was dealing only with those who interpret passages literally, to call for putting Christian converts to death in 2006, not in "ancient times."

 

Mr. Green did not suggest "all believers in the Qur'an are a physical threat to Canadians because of their belief in the Qur'an."  It is clear throughout the program that he never said or implied any such thing.  Nor did he breach any provisions of broadcast regulations or codes.  It is regrettable that you missed his point.

 

To delve into your personal interpretations of biblical passages is not germane to the matter at hand.  If extremist Christians were to begin rioting in the streets demanding the execution of converts to Islam, it would be appropriate to further delve into their extremism as well.  Of course even under such circumstances, Mr. Green would make it just as clear that he is not referring to all Christians, but rather those who harbour extremist and violent views. 

The complainant replied to that letter on April 7: 

Unfortunately your explanation entirely fails to address the purpose of Mr. Green juxtaposing the Qur'an to the New Testament.  As you yourself have already stated in defence of Mr. Green, the New Testament or its interpretations are not germane to the discussion you claim was being introduced by Mr. Green.  Yet it was he who stated, matter-of-factly, that unlike the Qur'an, the New Testament does not condone faith-based killing.

 

Therefore it is reasonable to believe that the intention was to draw a distinction between faiths.  It is reasonable to foresee this could, whether or not intentionally so, incite hate or fear within one (majority) group towards or for another (minority) group.  This is a time of great upheaval, a time in which Canadian soldiers are dying in a Muslim country.  It is important for public broadcasters to frame public comments with a consideration for the perils of the times.  As Mr. Green, for reasons only he can explain, chose to introduce this comparison, I feel his judgment, and role as a public broadcaster requires further review by the CBSC.

 

I did not hear the entire broadcast of this discussion.  Like, I am sure, the vast number of those who listen to your station, I was in my car when tuned to CFRA.  If 35 minutes of a publicly broadcasted discussion does not provide sufficient context, then possibly the selection or content of your topics of discussion should be more stringently considered before being introduced into your chosen format.

 

[.]

 

Please note this clean link, as it best demonstrates the foundation for my concerns surrounding the comments of Mr. Green.  I no longer believe Mr. Green necessarily intended to incite hate.

 

http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/dehumanization/

 

excerpts from above site

 

"An enemy image is a negative stereotype through which the opposing group is viewed as evil, in contrast to one's own side, which is seen as good.  Such images can stem from a desire for group identity and a need to contrast the distinctive attributes and virtues of one's own group with the vices of the 'outside' group.  In some cases, evil-ruler enemy images form.  While ordinary group members are regarded as neutral, or perhaps even innocent, their leaders are viewed as hideous monsters.  Enemy images are usually black and white.  The negative actions of one's opponent are thought to reflect their fundamental evil nature, traits, or motives.  One's own faults, as well as the values and motivations behind the actions of one's opponent, are usually discounted, denied, or ignored.  It becomes difficult to empathize or see where one's opponent is coming from.  Meaningful communication is unlikely, and it becomes difficult to perceive any common ground.

 

"Once formed, enemy images tend to resist change, and serve to perpetuate and intensify the conflict.  Because the adversary has come to be viewed as a 'diabolical enemy,' the conflict is framed as a war between good and evil.  Once the parties have framed the conflict in this way, their positions become more rigid.  In some cases, zero-sum thinking develops as parties come to believe that they must either secure their own victory, or face defeat. New goals to punish or destroy the opponent arise, and in some cases more militant leadership comes into power.

 

"While deindividuation and the formation of enemy images are very common, they form a dangerous process that becomes especially damaging when it reaches the level of dehumanization.

 

"Once certain groups are stigmatized as evil, morally inferior, and not fully human, the persecution of those groups becomes more psychologically acceptable.  Restraints against aggression and violence begin to disappear.  Not surprisingly, dehumanization increases the likelihood of violence and may cause a conflict to escalate out of control.  Once a violence break over [sic] has occurred, it may seem even more acceptable for people to do things that they would have regarded as morally unthinkable before.

 

"Indeed, dehumanization often paves the way for human rights violations, war crimes, and genocide.  For example, in WWII, the dehumanization of the Jews ultimately led to the destruction of millions of people.[9]  Similar atrocities have occurred in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the former Yugoslavia."

 

Or the creation of Japanese Internment camps in Canada ... we all know what they say about history. 

CFRA provided a second response to the complainant on April 10: 

Thank you for acknowledging that Lowell did not mean to incite hatred.  The argument then centres around whether he unintentionally incited hatred, and unequivocally, he did not.

 

No, it is not reasonable to conclude that Lowell's comments would incite hatred or fear toward all Muslims, as you posit.  I have received advice from a biblical scholar who says your examples are so far out of context and so weakly interpreted that they add no weight to your argument.  Again, however, debating the Bible and your interpretation of it is side-track which our correspondence will not resolve.

 

The fact remains that the issue at hand is that some extremists are interpreting the Qur'an literally and using that to justify the execution of Muslim-to-Christian converts.  Even if your argument about the Bible were to hold true [...], the argument becomes moot because it is not being interpreted literally, nor is it being used by Christians to justify killing people for faith conversion.

 

To suggest that asking the questions about extremism somehow "dehumanizes" all Muslims is folly.  No reasonable person would fear (nor hate) all Muslims because a specific extremist group among them mis-uses the holy writings to justify killing converts.  Lowell made it clear throughout that he was referring to that very specific group of extremists, and not to all believers.

 

Lowell's discussion was timely.  He made it clear that he was not discussing all Muslims.  His examination of a very specific group of people (extremists) was appropriate.  And there was no breach of any codes or regulations.

 

I'm sorry that we disagree, but unless there are new issues to review, this will - respectfully - conclude our correspondence on this matter. 

The complainant wrote again to CFRA on April 10: 

To be perfectly clear:

 

1.         It is not the interpretation of the New Testament, it is the comparing of the New Testament to the Qur'an, which placed the Qur'an in a morally inferior light, to which I have taken issue.  You have in no way addressed this concern.

 

2.         I did not say Mr. Green did not intend to incite hate, I said I do not believe he NECESSARILY intended to incite hate.  I cannot knowingly speak to Lowell's intentions.  His actions are, however, suspect. 

The complainant also submitted his Ruling Request to the CBSC on April 10 with the following additional remarks: 

Unfortunately CFRA refuses to, or does not understand the point of my complaint.  My concern centres not at all on the Qur'an itself, or the New Testament itself.  My concern is the juxtaposing of one religious text to another in order to highlight a key difference in that the Qur'an, which represents a targeted minority in Canada, preaches murder, and the New Testament, which represents the entrenched majority, does not.  I am of neither religion, and could honestly care less about religion at all.  I do care that history has shown that hate is promoted by isolating the minority through differentiating them from the majority in a way which clearly demonizes the minority.  If, as CFRA claims, the discussion Mr. Green was having had nothing to do with the New Testament, but only the Qur'an, why did he compare the two?  What was the motivation of the comparison?  It is only reasonable to conclude that some may take advantage of such obviously irresponsible and erroneous comments to vilify the minority, while using their own religion as a pillar of higher morality.  A clear moral delineation among cultures.  This is how hate works; the weight of evidence to support my concerns is overwhelming.  I trust the CBSC has the breadth of experience and arms length relationship to draw a similar conclusion.  I am not seeking a ban on the topic being discussed by Mr. Green; it is a topic of legitimate concern.  His introduction of the New Testament as a clear separation of faiths is my concern.  Muslims in this country are already at risk of hate due to current geo-political circumstances; juxtaposing their faith to the majority faith in a negative way is anything but constructive or exploratory to the discussion of the topic raised.

 

I have made two attempts to explain my concerns to CFRA, however they are focused more upon the accuracy of my interpretation of the NT than the purpose in the comparing of the Qur'an to the New Testament.

 

I feel VERY strongly about this.  I have never complained to the CBSC before, and I assure you Mr. Green and I do not see eye to eye on many topics.  This is not about political differences; this is not about a grudge; this is about the tacit promotion of hate in a very sensitive environment.

 

Point blank:  Why the comparison?  CFRA never addressed this central concern. 

CFRA sent another note to the complainant on April 11: 

1.         Lowell's comparison of the Bible and the Qur'an was based on his interpretation and he is perfectly free to do so [sic].  Whether your interpretation and his are similar is irrelevant.  The phones were open and people of all views were invited to participate.  Everyone was afforded opportunity to present their opinions and interpretations.  Very divergent views have been presented on CFRA to a reasonably consistent listener over a reasonable period of time.  (That is the requirement - verbatim - contained in the regulations.)  Lowell handled this polemic issue entirely within the bounds of regulations and codes.

 

2.         Thank you for clarifying your use of the qualifier "necessarily."  As you can see from my reply that is the interpretation I afforded your original statement. 

The complainant and station engaged in further written dialogue, which focussed primarily on whether they had understood each other's precise words in previous correspondence.  CFRA sent additional information directly to the CBSC on April 13: 

[...]

 

To the central issue of the complaint, then:  It is not reasonable to conclude that Lowell's comments would incite hatred or fear toward all Muslims, as [the complainant] argues.

 

The fact remains that there has been extensive news coverage of some extremists who interpret the Qur'an literally and use that to justify the execution of Muslim-to-Christian converts.  Even if [the complainant]'s argument about the Bible were to hold true (which it does not), the argument becomes moot because it is not being interpreted literally, nor is it being used by Christians to justify killing people for faith conversion.  The government of Afghanistan wanted to put a convert to death, and Lowell asked callers whether it was appropriate to ask newcomers to Canada whether they support the idea of putting a person to death for converting from Islam to any other faith.  Even his Muslim callers this day and others agreed that it is a fair question, and that Canada has a right to pose it to immigration applicants.

 

[...]

 

Lowell's discussion was timely.  This was a legitimate matter in newspapers, on TV and radio newscasts.  He made it clear that he was not discussing all Muslims.  His examination of a very specific group of people (extremists) was appropriate.  And there was no breach of any codes or regulations. 

CFRA sent another letter to the CBSC on May 9.  That letter reiterated much of the material of their April 13 letter, but added the following points: 

In the Letters section of the Ottawa Citizen May 9, 2006, Muslim writer M. Husain Sadar writes ("Canadian Muslims must stop hijacking of their Faith":)

 

... there is sinful silence adopted by other Muslims, including most of us in North America.  Unfortunately this leaves the field wide open for some fly-by-night kind of Organizations, especially the Canadian Islamic Congress, to issue outrageous statements to get self-publicity ....

 

... terrorists, especially al-qaeda and its supporters too often use the "Islamic umbrella" to justify killing innocent people ...

 

... Muslims need to ask themselves:  how can we claim that Islam stands for peace when some of its followers are engaged in death and destruction on an hourly basis?"

 

Clearly, most Muslims are reasonable and moderate, and have no problem rooting out extremist views to improve understanding and relations with other Canadians.  This is illustrated by many letters to the editor such as Mr. Sadar's, and by numerous Muslim participants in CFRA open-line programs.  No reasonable person would argue that such opinions are racist or discriminatory, or that people should be prohibited from expressing them.

 

Even if Mr. Green's personal opinion of the Bible and Qur'an comparisons were faulty, he is entitled to them, and callers are always welcome to call and challenge those opinions.  Lowell was asking the public whether it would be reasonable to ask immigrants whether they felt it was acceptable to kill Christian converts.  The very fact that Muslim Canadians have supported these and other steps to root out extremism in their midst is concrete proof that such a discussion is in no way abusively discriminatory. 

 

the decision 

The Ontario Regional Panel examined the complaint under the following provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics: 

Clause 2 - Human Rights 

Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability. 

Clause 6 - Full, Fair and Proper Presentation 

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster.  This principle shall apply to all radio and television programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers. 

The Ontario Regional Panel Adjudicators listened to a recording of the challenged program and reviewed all of the correspondence.  The Panel concludes that the broadcast was not in breach of Clause 2 but that it did breach Clause 6 of the foregoing Code provisions. 

 

The Issues 

In the detailed and thoughtful correspondence between the complainant and the broadcaster, there are several distinct issues raised.  Since the parties were often at cross-purposes, the Panel considers it useful to identify these issues from their total e-mail correspondence before proceeding with its analysis of those issues. 

 

The Complainant's Concerns 

The complainant raised two issues, which were for him indelibly intertwined.  His first and most consistent concern was the host's comparison of Christianity and Islam, which he saw as operating to the clear detriment of the latter religion.  It resulted from the use of that rhetorical technique that the host had, as the complainant initially put the matter, "tacitly" incited hatred, and then as a device employed in the broadcaster's "effort to incite hate towards one particular group based upon their religious beliefs."  In a later e-mail, responding to intervening points raised by the broadcaster's News Director, he noted that it was Lowell Green "who stated, matter-of-factly, that unlike the Qur'an, the New Testament does not condone faith-based killing" and, on that basis, the complainant again concluded that it was "reasonable to believe that the intention [of the host] was to draw a distinction between faiths."  This would, he asserted in slightly different terms, be likely to "incite hate or fear within one (majority) group towards or for another (minority) group."  In support of his position, he also cited several passages from the New Testament that did appear to advocate violence.  In a final bit of correspondence with the broadcaster, he did clarify his position on the host's incitement to hatred by concluding that, since he (the complainant) had no way of assessing the host's intentions, he was unable to conclude that the host "NECESSARILY intended to incite hate [emphasis original]" although, the complainant argued, the host's statements had the effect of doing so. 

The complainant also communicated a couple of important thoughts which are related to the above-described concerns.  While they do not have the effect of adding any new issues, they are nonetheless worth isolating here.  One point that is generally of concern to the CBSC in such matters is the prospect of desensitization.  Adopting words from a website to which he had referred in his second e-mail, the complainant said, "Once certain groups are stigmatized as evil, morally inferior, and not fully human, the persecution of those groups becomes more psychologically acceptable."  He also wrote, in his final e-mail to the CBSC, "I do care that history has shown that hate is promoted by isolating the minority through differentiating them from the majority in a way which clearly demonizes the minority."  On that point, he had also quoted from the website mentioned above, "While deindividuation and the formation of enemy images are very common, they form a dangerous process that becomes especially damaging when it reaches the level of dehumanization."  His concern was that the point of the religious comparison was that "erroneous comments [may be used by some] to vilify the minority, while [the persons profiting from the comparison may] us[e] their own religion as a pillar of higher morality." 

 

The Broadcaster's Issues 

The broadcaster's News Director observed that the principal burden of the challenged program was related to the issue and consequences of apostasy, focussed specifically on "those people who consider it acceptable to kill a person who has converted from the Muslim faith to Christianity."  He identified the story of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan citizen condemned to death in March 2006 for his conversion from Islam to Christianity, as an international one and appropriate for discussion as a matter of public concern in Canada as well.  In a sense, the News Director took the position that the importance of that issue justified all aspects of the host's treatment of it.  Nonetheless, the News Director explained that the host had neither "attack[ed] the Qur'an" nor argued that "all believers in the Qur'an are a physical threat to Canadians because of their belief in the Qur'an."  He also asserted that the complainant's examples of excerpts from the Bible were "so far out of context and so weakly interpreted that they add no weight to your argument."  In a later communiqué, the News Director added that "Lowell's comparison of the Bible and the Qur'an was based on his interpretation and he is perfectly free to do so [sic]."  He stated that the difference in the interpretations of the host and complainant was "irrelevant" and that the callers were all "afforded opportunity to present their opinions and interpretations."  He returned to the point in later communications, affirming that the discussion of apostasy was "a fair question" and a "timely" one.  At various points in the correspondence, he also came back to the issue of extremists and the distinction made between them and other believers. 

The News Director also did acknowledge that there was an issue related to "whether he [the host] unintentionally incited hatred," but the CFRA representative claimed that "unequivocally, he did not."  In a later e-mail in which he did deal peripherally with the complainant's comparative religion point, characterizing it as a "side-track[ing]" of the issue, he concluded that "It is not reasonable to conclude that Lowell's comments would incite hatred or fear toward all Muslims." 

 

Some Preliminary Points 

There is not the slightest disagreement relating to the importance of the discussion of the controversy itself.  The Abdul Rahman story reverberated around the world.  A matter of immense public interest, raising issues of great importance, there was no question but that current affairs talk shows would feature it.  The complainant described it as "a topic of legitimate concern" and CFRA's News Director went to some pains to justify raising the subject on the program, although there had been no challenge to its on-air discussion.  It goes without saying that the CBSC would strongly affirm the relevance and value of debating the controversy on the airwaves. 

The question for the CBSC relates not to the subject but to the treatment of the subject.  Just as there can be no doubt about the legitimacy of the broadcast of a show on the consequences of Abdul Rahman's apostasy, there can be no doubt that broadcasters are not free to launch discussions on that issue that may also have the effect of violating any other standards established in the CAB Code of Ethics (such as, but not limited to, the Human Rights clause). 

Consequently, the inquiry of the Ontario Regional Panel in the matter at hand will be limited to whether the on-air discussion constituted abusive or unduly discriminatory comment directed at an identifiable group on the basis of religion, on the one hand, or the presentation of unfair or improper opinion, editorial or comment, on the other. 

It should also be noted that there were many sensitive subjects raised in relation to the central theme of apostasy that have not resulted in regulatory problems.  This Ontario Regional Panel decision not only finds no fault with the discussion of that subject (other than aspects of how it was conducted), it finds no fault with the discussion of the following substantive issues by the host and callers (references to all of these subjects can be found in the program transcript reproduced in Appendix A): the screening of terrorists by immigration authorities; immigration from Muslim countries; the publication of the controversial Danish Islam-related cartoons in the Western Standard; the treatment of Muslim women when in the North American context; the hypocrisy of Christian groups going to the Middle East to protest Western military actions there while benefiting from the Western military efforts on their behalf; a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission and others to Human Rights Commissions generally; the acceptance of some non-Christian cultural practices (such as the Sikh carrying of the kirpan) and the corresponding non-acceptance of certain Christian practices (such as the recitation of the Lord's Prayer); the relative violence of Islam and Christianity; suicide bombers; conflicts between Muslims and Jews; the modern application of the teachings of the Qur'an; and so on. 

 

Abusive or Unduly Discriminatory Comment 

The CBSC has consistently stated that it is not the mere mention of an identifiable group that will constitute a violation of the CAB Code of Ethics.  The comments must be abusive or unduly discriminatory, or, in other terms, extremely negative or insulting towards a group, or constituting negative generalizations about the group as a whole.  The complainant considers that the comparison of the two religions by the host was invidious and had the effect of inciting hatred toward Islam, to use his term.  While, as will be seen in the following section, the Ontario Panel finds fault with the host's treatment of the issue, it is not because of the abusive or unduly discriminatory nature of his comments. 

In the first place, it should be noted that it is not a breach of any codified standard to be critical of a religious policy.  In W Network re My Feminism (CBSC Decision 01/02-1120, February 28, 2003), for example, where the National Specialty Services Panel was called upon to deal with a documentary film in which women of five separate religious backgrounds commented on their religions' treatment of feminism, the Panel said that it was 

duty-bound to point out that there is no obligation for a filmmaker or his or her broadcaster to be uncritical of the subject treated.  Criticism is not alone the equivalent of unduly discriminatory comment.  It is unjustified, unsupportable criticism that fails the test.  It is casual, gratuitous, foundation-less criticism that cannot stand the bright light of the private broadcasters' codified standards.  There is none of that here.  It is not the critical but thoughtful view of the single Irish Catholic speaker, which can fairly be considered in isolation, but the presentation of the entire documentary which must be assessed collectively.  As to the religious issue, it is reasonably balanced, fair and credible.  [Emphasis added.] 

And in CHWO-AM re an episode of Durant's World (CBSC Decision 04/05-0447, May 24, 2005), the radio host's opinion piece was critical of the Catholic Church's view of same-sex marriage.  The Ontario Panel concluded 

that Bob Durant's comment was one on an issue of policy, one on which many religions have positions, it is true.  His comments were, however, limited to the religion with which he and his wife were acutely familiar and from whose position they had personally suffered repercussions related to the very issue on which he (and many other Canadian commentators, in print and on the air) were expressing a perspective.  The Panel considers that his comments were not at all discriminatory, much less unduly discriminatory. 

In the present matter, the Panel does find that the host was critical of aspects of Islam but it is far from a blanket condemnation or denigration of the religion.  His preoccupations relate to the justification of violence.  While his evident lack of familiarity with the religion led him to conclusions that were, in some cases, unjustified, the Panel does not find that the host's comments, even in the comparison of the religions, amounted to abusive or unduly discriminatory comment.  The foregoing being said, the Panel finds that certain of the host's critical comparisons were on the edge of acceptability.  In part, these result from his willingness to adopt a double standard.  At a point, for example, he asserted, "I'm quite familiar with the Christian Bible and the, the New Testament. [.] and I'm gonna tell you that the New Testament, nowhere there does it say that anybody should be killed for switching religions.  In fact, the message of the New Testament, of Jesus Christ, is one of forgiveness."  In a later dialogue with one of the Muslim callers, Maser, the host repeated this point: 

In fact, the message of the, the Christian Bible, I'm not saying one's better than the other, but I'm telling you, that the message of Jesus Christ, which is founder of the Christian faith, is one of forgiveness.  You know, if a man asks, if, if a man strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the left. 

In his next intervention, Green stated that "the Qur'an says just the opposite."  The point is that the host was so unfamiliar with the Qur'an that the basic characteristic of forgiveness of the Prophet Muhammad appeared to be unknown to him.  Even when given that specific example by caller Alex, he glossed over this description of the forgiving Prophet (and forgiveness in Islam itself).  And caller Jessie referred to both respectfulness and the equivalent of Christian morals in Islam.  The host did not acknowledge either of these positive observations about Islam, preferring in both cases to revert to his non-contextual literal references to the Qur'an.  It is as though he has wielded the moral club of the religion familiar to him against the one less known to him.  While the Panel agrees with the complainant that Green did so to be critical of aspects of Islam, it does not consider that he was attempting to utter abusive or unduly discriminatory comment against Muslims generally.  Consequently, the Panel does not consider that that comparison constituted comment prohibited by Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Unfair or Improper Comment: The Issue 

Although the point has been made above, the Panel wishes to repeat that it considers that the question of apostasy, particularly in the circumstances in which it arose in Afghanistan in March 2006, was, and remains, a subject of undoubted public interest, and one worthy of detailed scrutiny in the media.  The Panel is equally aware that the issue was likely to provoke strong sentiments in listeners.  That does not, in and of itself, create any problem.  It does, however, generate the need for skilled navigational techniques on the part of the host to ensure "full, fair and proper" treatment of the subject.  In more basic terms, the problem is not so much "what" as "how".  Not what was the subject of the program but how did the host deal with it.  And it is here that the Panel finds the broadcaster wanting in terms of the Code requirements. 

 

Unfair or Improper Comment: The Qur'an Misrepresented 

In the first place, as has already been made perfectly clear, the host chose to base much of his discussion on a letter published that morning in the National Post.  Its author was Professor (emeritus) Heinz Klatt of the University of Western Ontario.  Although the radio host quoted much, albeit not all, of the letter, for Lowell Green, the central component of the letter was the quotation from sura 4 ayah 89 of the Qur'an.  Green cited it as follows: 

Quote, from the Qur'an, chapter four, verse 89, quote, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion," unquote. 

Perhaps in anticipation of the charged nature of the issue, he preceded that quotation with his own self-exculpatory statement. 

Professor Klatt writes, and here, I want to make this very clear before you start sending little civil libertarians after me and all the rest of it.  I want to make it clear, I am reading from a letter that is published this morning, publicly, in the National Post.  Okay?  I'm not saying I agree or disagree.  I'm reading this letter.  So before you start all of the charges and the arrest warrants and the rest of it, please remember I am reading a letter that appears in a newspaper. 

What the Panel finds curious is that the issue is not whether the host agrees or disagrees with the letter-writer.  As the CBSC Panels have said numerous times, and with respect to this very host, the Council supports talk show hosts' entitlement to hold and express an opinion.  No problem there.  The issue for the Panel is that a part, the non-opinion part, of the content required accuracy and, on this point, the host, Lowell Green, declared firmly and unequivocally that he was quoting from the Qur'an.  Moreover, he gave the point additional weight by saying that he was quoting that text from the letter to the editor of a professor who was quoting the Qur'anic text.  In fact, though, the final problematic sentence on which Green's argument of the day is based - "Kill him who changes his religion" - is not to be found in the Qur'an at all.  Nor did the letter-writer, Professor Klatt, attribute it to the Qur'an. 

What is of great importance to the Panel is that Green was very precise when he built his argument on the verse "Kill him who changes his religion".  He started with that assertion (in the terms cited just above) and then repeated the provision in numerous circumstances during the course of that morning's show.  For example, in his dialogue with caller Jerry, he said: 

[T]his letter from Professor Klatt really disturbs me because he is quoting directly from the Qur'an.  He says, quote, "The Qur'an says if they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion." 

Then, in discussing the issue with caller Madeleine, he repeated the point. 

The, the thing that really disturbs me.  And I keep coming back to this letter, if, if what Professor Klatt says is true, that, that in fact the Qur'an says that you are to kill those who convert from Islam to Christianity - 

Following the next caller and the subsequent commercial break, the host repeated his version of the extract from the Klatt letter: 

Because according to Professor Klatt, University of Western Ontario, he says the Qur'an very clearly states, and here he quotes, he says the Qur'an, uh, this would be, uh, chapter four, verse 89 says, quote, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion."  He quotes the Qur'an. 

 

The following caller was Danny and the host once again relied on the "quotation". 

This says, according to this letter-writer and he quotes the Qur'an, that, uh, that anybody who changes their religion from Islam to anything else should be killed. 

 Then, in a call with Omar, one of the first of the Muslim callers to that day's program, the host again relied on the "quotation" from the Qur'an: 

Now, did you, do you agree that the Qur'an says, uh, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion." 

There are other examples of the host's reliance on that "quotation".  The significance of the host's literal reliance on the Klatt quotation in the first place, and then on the text of the Qur'an itself when he apparently obtained a copy of that holy book later in the show, is emphasized in the exchanges with callers Alex and Jessie.  They both demonstrate the literal approach of the host.  When, for example, Alex explained the forgiving nature of the Prophet Muhammad (as mentioned above), the host replied: 

Well, I'm, I'm reading directly.  I mean, in this case, it's very clear.  I mean, there's no equivocation here.  Uh, that if, if someone leaves the faith, quote, "If they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them."  I, I don't see how you could misinterpret what he said there. 

Alex continued to challenge the host's view, but Green persisted, saying several times in succession, "Well, I, I'm just quoting from the Qur'an."  Alex and other callers gave Lowell Green the opportunity to extricate himself from this mistaken reliance on the text but he consistently refused to do so.  Jessie even said, rather presciently, "I don't know.  I, I don't know enough about this professor."  No retreat by the host ensued, despite that invitation. 

The issue is, as presaged above, that the "quotation" from the Qur'an is incorrect.  The words "Kill him who changes his religion" are simply not in the Qur'an.  The broadcaster had its own obligation to be certain, at material times, of the accuracy of the material on which it was relying.  Its failure to do so resulted in a construct of an argument or position that appeared to be more defensible than it was.  The Qur'an has an authoritative cachet, as it should, as the Bible does.  Building an argument on the apparent content of Islam's holy book puts callers and listeners in a defensive, behind-the-8-ball position from the get-go.  The host either knew or ought to have known that his position would appear stronger in such reliance.  He or someone on the broadcaster's staff ought to have verified such an important point before using that provision as the foundation for almost the entire episode.  Their failure to present the audience with accurate information about the content of the Qur'an was misleading and unfair.  They loaded the dice without disclosing the fact that they had done so, even if that choice was unintentional.  In the end, the broadcaster's constant reliance on misquoted text from the Qur'an and refusal to bend when advised of the error by Muslim callers rendered the presentation neither full, fair nor proper, and consequently in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Unfair or Improper Comment: Dealing with Callers and Context 

The host, as commander of the microphone and controller of access to the airwaves, has a disproportionate power over the course of the dialogue.  While it has been the consistent view of the CBSC that this reality is acceptable, it has equally been the view of the Council that such authority must be exercised judiciously.  Thus, in CFRA-AM re The Lowell Green Show ("New World Order") (CBSC Decision 95/96-0012, April 30, 1996), after reviewing the different styles of talk show hosts, this Panel said: 

In the Council's view, wherever the open line program falls on the spectrum, it remains the broadcaster's responsibility to guarantee the "full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, editorial and comment" as provided in [.] Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.  No one style of host has more licence than another to abuse guests or callers.  No one type of host is entitled to ignore the broadcaster's duty to ensure "full, fair and proper presentation". 

In this very connection, in CKTB-AM re the John Michael Show (Middle East Commentary) (CBSC Decision 01/02-0651, June 7, 2002), this Panel explained: 

Disagreement and unpleasantness are not strangers to the electronic forum.  It is here that more care must be exercised by the host.  While he and his callers are entitled to express opinions, it cannot be forgotten that not all opinions are equal.  The holder of the microphone and the related electronic controls has a distinct advantage, which must not be exercised irresponsibly.  At its best, talk radio must not be arbitrary or a one-way street.  Skilled practitioners of the art must be deft [.] 

In the matter at hand, the host appears to have had the sense that it was important to hear from representatives of the Muslim community, as is evidenced by the fact that he did make several attempts to convince Muslims to call.  The Panel agrees fully that this effort to locate Muslim callers was the proper course of action.  It does, however, find serious difficulty with the way the dialogue with some of those callers played out. 

The first attempt to encourage members of the Muslim community to call was at the start of the second hour.  The host's method was to say that Muslims often call to argue with him and that he wanted them to call now to set the record straight.  He also advised that he would give them "all of the time in the world to talk." 

I would like to invite Muslims to call.  And now, ordinarily, um, many Muslims do call this program, usually to argue with me.  But that's fine.  Do you, as a Muslim, believe that the Qur'an instructs Muslims to kill those who switch from Islam to other faiths?  Do you believe that?  Do you agree with that?  I think that we in this community have a right to know if those who live amongst us feel that anybody who switches from the Muslim faith to another faith should be killed.  [.]  Uh, you have no hesitancy in calling me to give me hell, how about setting us straight here.  Is, is this letter-writer, is this professor right or is he wrong on this?  And is it something that we should be concerned about in our society?  Uh, give you all of the time in the world to talk, folks. [.] 

After speaking with caller Dave, he put out another request.  He added a new commitment: "I won't interrupt." 

Well, it's obvious we're not going to get any calls from Muslims.  I find that disappointing.  I would like to know if, if in fact, you know, Muslims living amongst us really believe this.  One last, one last opportunity.  Please.  We'll give you all of the time in the world.  [.]  Last chance for Muslims to call.  And, and just tell us how, you know, whether this is true or not.  521-8255.  We got, we're keeping lines open for you.  521-8255.  There are thousands of you listening out there.  On other issues you have no problem calling me.  I won't interrupt.  You just explain what the situation is here.  Last call to you. 

The technique bore fruit.  The first of the Muslim listeners, Omar, called in.  He clearly disagreed with Green's reference to ayah 4:89; he pointed out that Muslims are not authorized to kill except in self-defence.  "No, no, no, no, no. [.] Okay.  Islam never asks Muslims to kill anybody as, as long as they defend themselves."  Then Jessie, a second Muslim caller, raised the issue of context.  "I think you can take any written text and, you know, take it out of context and make it whatever you want it to be."  She added that she didn't "agree with the terrorism.  That's totally anti-Islamic."  She said that she did not know what some Muslims believe but she protested that "I've never seen anything like that in the Qur'an and I've read it."  It was clear that Jessie's explanation of her religion did not jibe with where the host wished to be, so he kept repeating that he wished to "just ask the question," by which it was clear that he wished to return the argument to the territory he favoured, namely, the acknowledgment that the interests of the country would best be served by authorities being "allowed to question Muslims who come here whether they believe that those who switch from the Muslim faith should be killed?  Should we have the right to ask them that question?"  In other words, the question of the contents of the Qur'an was not at issue.  The host's interest in having the reaction of Muslims on that point was not pertinent.  When he could not elicit a view on that issue that corresponded to his, he changed the premise and got away from his declared interest in determining, "is this professor right or is he wrong on this?" 

Then caller Mike, who stated that, although he was not Muslim, he was thinking about converting to Islam, pointed out that what he had read in the Qur'an "is there's nothing at all that incites violence."  Once again, rather than pursuing that point at all, the host again said, "let me ask this question [.]".  An apparent non-Muslim, Jonathan, had a copy of the Qur'an in front of him and read ayah 4:89 aloud; it did not include the final sentence from the Klatt quotation in the letter to the National Post.  Without any acknowledgment of the difference in the text, the host declared, "Well, that clears up that."  In the view of the Panel, the issue was not "cleared up".  As Green said moments later, "I've read the Qur'an."  What is, however, material is that he had not, in any meaningful or in-depth way, read the Qur'an.  It is not that the host was trying to mislead anyone on this point.  It is just that his representation was, in a sense, irrelevant.  He had read one ayah from it (later supplemented by a couple of other ayat read by other callers) but could not, in any reasonable sense, be said to be familiar with the context of the quoted material. 

The next Muslim caller was Maser and he was the first to make that point forcefully and with examples.  The material part of their dialogue was as follows (the emphasis is added): 

Maser:  Okay, if, I'm just make a challenge to all Canada.  If you read it in context and if you have any objection, you, I'll, I'll pay whatever fine is.  So, you reading that in context -

 

Lowell:  Well I read it in context.

 

Maser:  No.  I, let me tell you this -

 

Lowell:  Well, sir, I, I have the Qur'an here in front of me.  What, what, what's the context that I didn't read it in?

 

Maser:  Okay, I am Muslim and I read it many times.

 

Lowell:  Uh huh.

 

Maser:  Let me tell you.  Let me tell you exactly what it is.

 

Lowell:  Mm hm.

 

Maser:  It's, it's about, there was, this is a description of a war.  If you read that, all is about war.  So it's a description of one war in which Muslims were, uh, had an argument with, uh, they were fighting against other faiths as well.  And what usually, and [??] too, is they become Muslim and they, they create, uh, you know, um -

 

Lowell:  Sir, sir, sir, sir -

 

Maser:  - problems, uh, problems in -

 

Lowell:  Sir, sir, excuse me.  Okay?  Uh, I, I, I, I read directly, uh, from the Qur'an, sir.

 

Maser:  You read it correctly.  You read it correctly.  But -

 

Lowell:  Yeah.  Yeah.  And it doesn't talk about, it doesn't talk about anything, uh, anything specifically about a war.

 

Maser:  It does.

 

Lowell:  No, I'm sorry, sir.

 

Maser:  Oh yes, it does. 

In what the Panel considers an astonishing turn of phrase, the host accused the good-faith Muslim caller of trying to mislead him.  Justifying his own reasoning and interpretation by saying "I have the Qur'an in front of me here," the host was taking the position that he knew more than a Muslim who declared that he had "read it [the Qur'an] many times."  The Panel considers that the host's assertion was overreaching: "I'm telling you [i.e. Maser] what Islam says.  I'm telling you, I'm reading from the Qur'an."  These statements were in utter disregard of his promise to give Muslims all the time they wanted to call for the purpose of "setting us straight here".  The Panel understands that his goal was to entice Muslims to call; however, his disregard for what they wished to explain about their religion was both unfair and improper. 

A later caller, Roshdie, raised another important issue, namely, the importance of having persons with expert knowledge in the Qur'an, to deal with the issue.  The larger contextual and historical issues, he effectively explained, required that. 

I just wanted to tell you we, if you're going to do this, if you're going to open the Qur'an and start, uh, interpreting it on, on the air, the, the least you should do is to have with you someone, caller, that can really give you better understanding.  Because people who are calling you don't have enough knowledge.   

The host retorted, taking the literal perspective, and the caller argued that one could not do so. 

Lowell:              Well, I don't see what's, I mean, they, the, the verses from the Qur'an, no one has attempted to interpret them.  We've just read them and taken them literally.

 

Roshdie:           No, it, it doesn't work that way.

 

Lowell:              Well, I'm sorry, sir.  If you, if you read a verse, that's what the verse says.

 

Roshdie:           I read it.  I read it and it doesn't tell me that.  It doesn't tell me that if you are a Muslim and you change your faith, you're going to be killed.  It doesn't tell me that.

 

Lowell:              Well, the Mus-, the, the Qur'an says that.

 

Roshdie:           No, it doesn't say that.

 

Lowell:              Well, of course it does.

 

Roshdie:           No.  That's, that's why, I mean, it's very dangerous to -

 

Lowell:              Well, how can you say it doesn't, sir?

 

Roshdie:           - [??] when it does not. 

Roshdie made an essential point regarding the original Arabic text. 

When are you just going to keep going?  I'm reading it.  In fact, it doesn't, it doesn't mention the word Islam in Arabic at all.  It, it doesn't mention the Muhammad or, or Islam or being of a different faith or any of that stuff at all. 

And Roshdie fairly concluded, as the Arabic-speaking Muslim in the dialogue, "And my understanding is the one that really counts."  Clearly unable to win the argument on the Qur'an, and being unwilling to concede any ground on its interpretation, the host again switched the dialogue to the practice of the Afghan imams who had condemned Abdul Rahman to death. 

The Ontario Regional Panel finds the tactics used by Lowell Green in dealing with the callers and the subject of the meaning of the Qur'anic ayah on which he was relying to have been unfair and improper.  The host was entitled to make his point about apostasy and had every opportunity to do so.  It was not necessary for him to resort to that provision of the Qur'an.  He chose that route.  That was his option.  Then, having invited Muslims to call the program on the basis that they could explain their fundamental religious document to him and CFRA's listeners, he disregarded their explanations of the very nature of the Qur'an, as well as their arguments about the context of the ayah he had quoted.  When one of the Muslims even explained that the Arabic, that is, the original and definitive, version of the Qur'an, which he had before him, did not contain the words the host relied on, Green changed the subject.  It is parenthetically interesting that the host was more accommodating with caller Mohammed, who was permitted to provide some explanations of the variety of interpretations of Islam (which did not, however, go to the central issue of apostasy).  All in all, the audience was left with a lopsided perspective on the meaning of the Qur'an.  They deserved more.  The broadcaster's refusal to permit callers in good faith to provide the explanation of the misquoted text from the Qur'an when he had invited them to do so rendered the presentation of that text neither full, fair nor proper, and consequently in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.  

 

Broadcaster Responsiveness 

The CBSC Adjudicating Panels always assess the quality of the broadcaster's responsiveness to complainants, which is one of the broadcaster's obligations of membership in the Council.  Although there is often more than one communication from the complainant, the broadcaster is only obliged to respond once.  The communication in the matter at hand was nothing short of exemplary.  It continued, as each of the complainant and CFRA's News Director parried the other's arguments.  No matter.  There is no obligation to agree nor even to perceive the issues the same way.  What is essential is the dialogue and the broadcaster's representative was a consistent and thoughtful participant in the process.  Nothing more could be expected from a CBSC member. 

 

announcement of the decision 

CFRA-AM is required to: 1) announce the decision, in the following terms, once during peak listening hours within three days following the release of this decision and once more within seven days following the release of this decision during the time period in which the Lowell Green Show is broadcast; 2) within the fourteen days following the broadcasts of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant who filed the Ruling Request; and 3) at that time, to provide the CBSC with a copy of that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by CFRA. 

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that CFRA breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics in its broadcast of the Lowell Green Show on March 31, 2006. On that episode of the program, the host repeatedly quoted portions of the Qur’an incorrectly, thereby leaving the audience with a distorted perspective of the meaning of verses from the Qur’an apparently dealing with conversion from Islam. By not permitting Muslim callers in good faith to uninterruptedly provide their explanation of the misquoted text from the Qur’an when the host had invited them to do so and by failing to take into account relevant contextual considerations suggested by them, the broadcaster rendered the presentation of that Qur’anic text neither full, fair nor proper, and consequently in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

 

This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.


Transcript and Notes of Relevant Portions of the Program 

 

The first caller to the program talked about gas prices.  The second caller, Ron, chose to discuss the terrorist issue:

 

Ron:                 I wonder if our, if our good Prime Minister Harper turned up the screws to get these Al-Qaeda guys to, to be servicing or something.  Uh, something's going down here and, and it seems like now in the paper we have this morning about these two taxi drivers in Toronto that were, that were also being looked into.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.  But you know, you know, it begs the question, Ron.  I mean, h-, how can it be that people wanted for very serious crimes in the United States including terrorism and fraud and human smuggling, how can it be they live free in this country?

 

Ron:                 That's a good question.  And, you know, I'm very angry when I heard you said, say this morning that the Trudeau boys, the Trudeau family are -

 

Lowell:              Well, it's one of the sons.  I forget which one it is.  One of the brothers.

 

Ron:                 - are trying to help and trying to talk to these people and give them encouragement.  You shouldn't even be near those people.  As far as I'm concerned, they're building a brand new, um, jail up at Millhaven for these terrorists.  By golly, go ahead and get them all corralled up and do something with them and get them the hell out of this country.  But how the hell are they coming in here?  This is, you know, this is scary.  And, and, and something's gotta be done with these characters.  You, you know?  Like she says "Oh, I haven't seen my husband in, in, in so many months."  That's b.s.  You know that and everybody else knows that.

 

Lowell:              Well, here, I'll just read you the, uh, the story in The Sun today about that.  Uh, "two taxi drivers, one with alleged terrorists links and the other facing outstanding charges in the U.S. were nabbed two weeks ago outside a modest townhome", ta da, de da, ta da, de da.  Secrecy, mystery surrounding the arrest.  We've gone through this.  "Meanwhile The Sun learned last night that Mustafa entered Canada about eighteen months ago using a fake name of Raja Ghulam Murtaza, obtained refugee status."  Lovely, eh?  Surprise, surprise.  Refugee status.  "When first approached by The Sun at the home where she lived with her husband and Mustafa, a woman who identified herself as Nuzrat Sheikh claimed she had not seen Syed since she had separated from him in Pakistan five years ago and bare, barely knew Mustafa.  'I hadn't seen him in a year.'  She'd made these claims despite having three of Syed's children in the house.  Neighbours say the children are a five-year-old girl, three-year-old twins, boy and a girl.  Neighbours also confirmed that two men they identified as the husband and brother-in-law lived at the house and have not been seen since a small fleet of unmarked cruisers descended on the house during the March Break."  So, the neighbours are saying "Hey, wait a minute.  These guys were living with her."  So, like, I mean, are they, it's, it's just wild.

 

Ron:                 Well, you know, Lowell.  You know, the question, uh, here is, if you're a customs officer and you see some character like this comin' across there with a name that's as long as your arm and he's looking for immigra-, he's looking for, for status, would you not really say "Hey, there might be a problem here"?

 

Lowell:              Well -

 

Ron:                 Like, how in the hell does this guy even, even think -

 

Lowell:              Well, how, but, but, but listen to this though, okay?  This guy, this guy was a captain with Osama Bin Laden.  He was trained by Bin Laden in Afghanistan as a terrorist, as a captain in a terrorist army.  You know, in Al-Qaeda.  So, he comes to Canada and he changes his name.  He presents a fake name, which means that he must've had fake documents of some kind and they let him into the country.

 

Ron:                 Isn't that wonderful?

 

Lowell:              I mean, is that, are you trying to tell me that all it takes to get into Canada is just make up a name and come on in?

 

[...]

 

Ron:                 Apparently so.  I, you know, I'm going, I'm going away for quite a while here, uh, in a week.  And maybe when I come back through Canada I'm gonna, I'm gonna change my name and see what happens to me as a white man.

 

Lowell:              God almighty.  I, I, I hope, I hope that this new government starts to clamp down against this.

 

Ron:                 Well, Lowell, I, I think, I think from what I see with our new government and our Prime Minister down there right now in Mexico and the way he's presenting himself, I think we're going to see changes.  And if the lefties don't see that there's something happening here with this guy, then they're, then, you know, we really are in trouble.

 

Lowell:              Thank you, Ron. 

After a call about Stephen Harper's Mexico trip and another commercial break, Green took a call from Jerry who also discussed the terrorist case and immigration issues: 

Jerry:                I can see your frustration regarding these, um, Al-Qaeda, uh, people, uh, Lowell.  But, you know, somehow, when you look at our country, we have this family who came in and have been [?] by the previous government whose, um, son was injured in the firepower -

 

Lowell:              You're talking about the Khadrs?

 

Jerry:                Yes, I am.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Jerry:                And, and we're supporting these people.

 

Lowell:              Oh yeah.

 

Jerry:                Uh, we have [??] whose son is, uh, uh, making bombs in London.

 

Lowell:              Well, that's what the charge is, yes.

 

Jerry:    Yeah.  And we had the previous government holding hands with the Tali, well, not the Taliban, but the Tamil Tigers.

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              And Hezbollah for a long time.

 

Jerry:    Yes.  So the point is, we're putting the cart before the horse.  And I think you were, you were, brought this out to us:  we've lost 35,000 illegal immigrants in this country.  But we don't know where the hell they are.

 

Lowell:              No, it's a lot more now.  But it's 35,000 we know of, yes.

 

Jerry:                Yes.  But why, if we're at war, with these people - and we are at war, let's, let's take our bloody heads out of the sand - why are we continuing to bring in people from these Muslim countries?  And, and, I think until, do you think, for instance, in the Second World War would've immigrated Japanese and Germans into their country?  When we're at war with them?  But we do that here.  And it makes no sense.  Now I'm not sayin' they're all, they're all terrorists.  But how the hell do you know?  How do you know the guy next door to you who may be a Muslim is not a terrorist?  I mean, these guys we've picked up, their neighbours say, oh they were nice people, were very nice.  Of course they were very nice!  They'd a job to do.  They didn't want to be, make you suspicious and say "look I'm a terrorist" -

 

Lowell:              You, you think that we should just stop all immigration?

 

Jerry:    I think we should stop all immigration and we should stop bending backwards and trying to please these people.

 

Lowell:              Or just immigration from Muslim countries?

 

Jerry:                From Muslim countries!  [...]  And, Lowell, as I say, if, if Canadians aren't going to get their heads out of the stand, out of the sand, it's time, and, and, and demand that the new government stops immigration from these countries -

 

Lowell:              Well, I'm going to tell ya.  I, I don't know if I want to go that far.  But, I am, this, this letter, and I wish I could get some more comments on it, this letter from Professor Klatt really disturbs me because he is quoting directly from the Qur'an.  He says, quote, "The Qur'an says if they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion."

 

Jerry:                Well.

 

Lowell:              And if we, if people are coming to Canada with that belief, that really disturbs me.

 

Jerry:                Well, you've listened to your, if you've listened to, to, uh, Muslims who have called you and, and, uh, want you to have your head chopped off, I'm just being, you know, uh, because you're, you're talking about them.  I mean -

 

Lowell:              Well, on the other hand we've got very mi-, mo-, very many moderate Muslims who disagree.  But I, I, ah, this, if in fact they, they really believe this, because apparently the Qur'an says if they desert you, in other words you leave the Is-, the Muslim faith, they should be killed.  If people really believe that and they're coming here, boy that's disturbing. 

A few moments later, Green took a call from Steve who raised the issue of the cartoon depictions of Muhammad that had caused controversy.  Steve stated his support for the Western Standard, the Canadian magazine that had published them. 

Steve:               One thing I'd like to comment on, on another thing is the, uh, the Alberta Human Rights Commission -

 

Lowell:              Oh yeah.

 

Steve:               - investigation on, on the Western Standard, which is absolutely ludicrous.  I mean, I, I laud the Western Standard for publishing the cartoons.  They had the intestinal fortitude to publish the cartoons.  I, I subscribe to the Western Standard.  And I'm seriously considering, uh, donating money on behalf of their, uh, defence fund.

 

Lowell:              Well, I think we should.  I -

 

Steve:               Because the fact of the matter is it's a small magazine.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Steve:               It's extremely well-written.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Steve:               And, uh, they could go under.

 

Lowell:              Not only that, but it's, excuse me, it's one of the few publications in all of Canada that presents any kind of an alternative point of view.

 

Steve:               Exactly.  And, in the meantime, they, they could go, but the, the mainstream, uh, media, the big, uh, newspapers didn't have the intestinal fortitude to publish these cartoons.  And that's right through, across North America.  This is -

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Steve:               - absolutely scandalous and that we're abandoning our democratic principles.

 

Lowell:              Well, you see, these people know that if they go to the, uh, Human Rights, whatever, whatever province it is, that nine times out of ten, these are, these people are on the hard left, on the Human Rights Commission.  They're, they're extreme leftists.  Socialists.  Some of them Marxist.  And, they, they know very well that one complaint can very well put an entire smaller operation out of business.  Do you know that to defend in court somebody who, one person who complains about me and it goes to court or goes to lawyers, you're looking at about $25,000.

 

Steve:               Oh, I, I don't doubt it whatsoever.  But I really think people should seriously consider maybe a, you know, I'm certainly going to send some money to, to the magazine and that's not my character to do so, but I, I'm going to do it.

 

Lowell:              Good.  Well, it's defend freedom of speech. 

The next caller, Linda, further commented on the immigration issues raised earlier: 

Linda:               Well, I'm sayin' is, no, I'm not saying to ban, but you're, you're allowing these other people that come in with five and six kids who drain the system, who don't work, who send money back to support Al-Qaeda and all this, these, these groups.  They know they're here.  They hide terrorists in their families.  They don't work.  And yet you're goin' after people who work?

 

Lowell:              But surely, but surely what you're talking about is a system that's like a sieve, that lets virtually anybody in.  Very clearly.  I mean, this guy is a terrorist.  This guy was a captain with Osama Bin Laden.

 

Linda:               Yeah.

 

Lowell:              He changes, he changes his name -

 

Linda:               Yes?

 

Lowell:              And we let him into the country as a refugee.

 

Linda:               Yeah, but that's what I'm sayin'.  No flags go off at immigration?  Nobody opens their ears?  You know, nobody picks up on these things?  And yet you have people comin' in from other, from European countries that they're goin' after?

 

Lowell:              No, but, but you've made this point three or four times.  All I'm trying to say -

 

Linda:               What I'm sayin' is, is that the system has to be, has to be changed because we know these people are comin' in, no flags go up. 

The subsequent caller, named Madeline, offered her thoughts on the same topic: 

Madeleine:        Yes, I was just a-, agreeing with all the pre-, previous callers about the, about the Muslims in this country.  I'd like to kick them all out, but I guess we can't.  But I -

 

Lowell:              Well why would you want to do that?  There are many very fine Muslims here.

 

Madeleine:        Well there's lots of good ones, but how do you tell the difference?

 

Lowell:              Well, I mean, I have a good friend who's Muslim and I don't want the guy to leave.  The, the guy is a wonderful person.

 

Madeleine:        No, I know.  I just said I'd like to, but I know we can't do it and, and there are a lot of good ones.

 

Lowell:              But the thing that -

 

Madeleine:        They hide the bad ones.

 

Lowell:              The, the thing that really disturbs me.  And I keep coming back to this letter, if, if what Professor Klatt says is true, that, that in fact the Qur'an says that you are to kill those who convert from Islam to Christianity -

 

Madeleine:        Mm hm.

 

Lowell:              And he said, not only that, but he says every Muslim is first and above all a Muslim.

 

Madeleine:        Yes.

 

Lowell:              Who accepts the dogmas of his faith.  So if this is true, that all, if, if all Muslims who come here think that anybody who converts to Christianity should be killed, I find that very disturbing.  I hope that's not true.

 

Madeleine:        So, so all the good Muslims believe that?

 

Lowell:              I don't know.

 

Madeleine:        They all, they all believe in Islam -

 

Lowell:              No.

 

Madeleine:        - before they believe in Canada?

 

Lowell:              No, no.  What I'm saying is, I don't know if that's true, but if it is, I find it very disturbing.

 

Madeleine:        And there's another thing that disturbs me, I'll tell you.  And I, I'm tired of these women that subjug-, sub-, subjugate themselves to their men and wear, they wear their headscarves here and our women go over there and wear headscarves over there.  And these are the women that are really, uh, strong women.  They go over and, and submit to their rules over there.  Yet we, they come over here and we're supposed to submit, we're supposed to, we're supposed to give in to what they want in, in this country.  Although they're -

 

Lowell:              In other words, what you're saying is we change our cultural habits -

 

Madeleine:        Yes!

 

Lowell:              - in order to, to meet their requirements.

 

Madeleine:        That just, that just drives me crazy that the, they'd, and the women, -

 

Lowell:              Well, you know what?  Can I tell you something?

 

Madeleine:        - it'll take another five hundred years -

 

Lowell:              Can I tell you something, Madeleine?  I'm glad we're finally about to have a debate on it.

 

Madeleine:        Yes.

 

Lowell:              Because until now we couldn't even talk about it.  Uh, you know, it would be just too risky for me to do it.

 

Madeleine:        That's right.  And there's one more thing about those people that go over there to, to, like, so-called Christians that go over there.  They hate the Armed Forces, they'll, they'll go on the street and demonstrate them -

 

Lowell:              They hate, they hate the West.

 

Madeleine:        - and yet, my God, they'll ask them to come and save them when, and I think we should tell them, they go over there, they're on their own.

 

Lowell:              All right.  Thank you for calling. 

The following caller, Bruce, commented on the issue raised by Madeleine towards the end of her call, namely, the members of Christian peace groups who travel to the Middle East to protest the West's military presence there.  Bruce and Lowell Green suggested that it was hypocritical of these people to protest military action, but then rely on the military to help them escape when they are in danger.  Then, following a commercial break, Green indicated that he would like to hear from Muslims on the issue of the Qur'an's position on apostasy: 

I would like to invite Muslims to call.  And now, ordinarily, um, many Muslims do call this program, usually to argue with me.  But that's fine.  Do you, as a Muslim, believe that the Qur'an instructs Muslims to kill those who switch from Islam to other faiths?  Do you believe that?  Do you agree with that?  I think that we in this community have a right to know if those who live amongst us feel that anybody who switches from the Muslim faith to another faith should be killed.  Because according to Professor Klatt, University of Western Ontario, he says the Qur'an very clearly states, and here he quotes, he says the Qur'an, uh, this would be, uh, chapter four, verse 89 says, quote, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion."  He quotes the Qur'an.  Now I have, uh, one very good Muslim friend.  I've never questioned him about this.  He's out of the country right now, but I want to, but I'd like to talk with some of the rest of you.  Is, is this something that you believe?  521-8255.  521-8255.  Uh, you have no hesitancy in calling me to give me hell, how about setting us straight here.  Is, is this letter-writer, is this professor right or is he wrong on this?  And is it something that we should be concerned about in our society?  Uh, give you all of the time in the world to talk, folks. 

That request was followed by a call from Danny who stated he was from India and provided his thoughts on Islam and the Western Standard case: 

Danny:              Um, I'm kind of surprised that in Western culture we don't know what you just read in the letter.

 

Lowell:              Well, I, I hope that some Muslims will call because they're not hesitant to do it on other issues.

 

Danny:              Okay.

 

Lowell:              And I can only, if, if Muslims don't call on this, then I can only assume that in fact what the letter-writer says is true and they just don't want to admit it.

 

Danny:              Well, in India we've known this for hundreds of years.

 

Lowell:              Wh-, known what?

 

Danny:              Known that, uh, some Islam, the pure Islam is very severe, harsh, mostly that, and does not have forgiveness in, in, its, ah ha, in its teachings.

 

Lowell:              But this is, this is a little different.  This says, according to this letter-writer and he quotes the Qur'an, that, uh, that anybody who changes their religion from Islam to anything else should be killed.  And what, what prompts this of course is what happened in Afghanistan with that man.

 

Danny:              Right.  No, I don't know specifically about this one, but if you read history of India with the Sikhs and Muslims.

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Danny:              This kind of thing has been happening for hundreds of years.  And most of us from India, who have come here from India, know this.  So, so I won't be surprised if it's true.  I don't know myself.  The second thing I'd like to, uh, say is, whoever is listening, please contribute to Western Standard.  Because this really burns me up.

 

Lowell:              Yeah, this is pretty bad.  The, uh, very obvio-, and, you know, I've done some investigation.  There was one complaint and it was a wild, rambling complaint, filled with misspellings et cetera, et cetera.  I mean, everybody has equal rights, but it seems to me that the Alberta Human Rights Commission should've dismissed this as frivolous.  One complaint and they could very well put this publication out of business, trying to defend itself.

 

Danny:              I think they have nothing else to do.  That's my opinion.  [laughs]

 

Lowell:              You see, this is something a lot of people, well, there's, yeah, but this is seri-, very serious because a lot of people in this country don't realize, you know, that it's very easy to really put tremen-, this is why the, the press in this country is, is so silent on these issues.  It's out of fear.  Because, you know, if you, if you have to go to court, you're talking huge sums of money.  And, unless you're a huge corporation like CHUM, you just can't afford it.  So, you either keep quiet or you just go out of business. 

Caller Neil then offered his opinion on the case of the individuals who had been arrested in Toronto for allegedly having terrorist connections.  Neil expressed his concern that one of the men had been tipped off about his impending arrest.  Green agreed that that was disconcerting and that "the tentacles of some of these organizations go pretty deep."  Green then reiterated his desire for Muslims to phone in, insisting that "I'll give you Muslims all the time in the world."  Caller Dave phoned in to make the following comments: 

Dave:                Uh, two things.  Um, is, (a), is Islam is a very violent religion and has been for 14 hundred years.

 

Lowell:              Well, so, Christianity's been very violent as well.

 

Dave:                Yes, it has been very violent.  But it's recommended it.  The things you say about the Qur'an or in the Qur'an are very true.

 

Lowell:              Sir, sir, I didn't say this.  I, I knew this was going to happen.

 

Dave:                No, somebody else did.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Dave:                I'm sorry.

 

Lowell:              Okay, please, because this, otherwise it's going to cost us -

 

Dave:                Yeah.  No.

 

Lowell:              - hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Dave:                You did not say that.

 

Lowell:              I was simply reading from a letter in the National Post this morning.

 

Dave:                Uh, what I really phoned for, Lowell, -

 

Lowell:              Uh huh?

 

Dave:                - was to say, because you deal with this, uh, Islam and, uh, the war over there a whole bunch, there's a book that you should probably read.  It's called Jerusalem Countdown by John Hagee.

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.  Well there's all sorts of books on that.

 

Dave:                There's all sorts of books, yes.

 

Lowell:              Yeah, yeah.

 

Dave:                But I found this, I've read about half way through this one and it describes a lot of the stuff that you deal with.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Dave:                And I've left the book name with your producer.

 

Lowell:              Okay.  Well, it's obvious we're not going to get any calls from Muslims.  I find that disappointing.  I would like to know if, if in fact, you know, Muslims living amongst us really believe this.  One last, one last opportunity.  Please.  We'll give you all of the time in the world.  Is what this professor writes in the Post this morning, is it accurate?  And you as a Muslim, how do you feel about this?  Do you agree that this, first of all, is a ruling?  And that, uh, that those who convert from Islam to other faiths should be killed?  Last chance for Muslims to call.  And, and just tell us how, you know, whether this is true or not.  521-8255.  We got, we're keeping lines open for you.  521-8255.  There are thousands of you listening out there.  On other issues you have no problem calling me.  I won't interrupt.  You just explain what the situation is here.  Last call to you.  We'll be back, CFRA. 

Following another commercial break, Green read a letter than had been published by the editor of the Western Standard defending his decision to publish the controversial cartoons: 

Several people have made mention of the fact that the Western Standard is in some difficulty.  Let me read you just a little bit of a letter that is being published by the Western Standard:  "As you know, the Western Standard was the only mainstream media organ in Canada to publish the Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.  We did so for a simple reason.  The cartoons were the central fact in one of the largest news stories of the year.  We're a news magazine.  We publish the facts.  We let our readers make up their minds.  Advertisers stood with us.  Readers loved the fact that we treated them like grown-ups and we earned the respect of many other journalists in Canada who envied our independence.  In fact, according to a Compas poll last month, fully 70 per cent of Canada's working journalists supported our decision to publish the cartoons.  But not Syed, but not Syed Soharwardy, a radical Calgary Muslim imam.  He asked the police to arrest me for publishing the cartoons.  They calmly explained to him that's not what police in Canada do.  So then he went to a far less liberal institution than the police, the Alberta Human Rights Commission.  Unlike the Calgary police service, they didn't have the common sense to show him the door.  Earlier this month, I received a copy of Soharwardy's rambling, hand-scrawled complaint.  It is truly an embarrassing document.  He briefly complains that we published the Danish cartoons, but the bulk of his complaint is that we dared to try to justify it.  That we dared to disagree with him.  Think about that.  In Soharwardy's view, not only should the Canadian media be banned from publishing the cartoons, but we should be banned from defending our right to publish them.  Perhaps the Charter of Rights that guarantees our freedom of the press should be banned too.  Soharwardy's complaint goes further than just the cartoons.  It refers to news articles we published about Hamas, a group labelled a terrorist organization by the Canadian government.  By including those other articles, he shows his real agenda:  censoring any criticism of Muslim extremists.  Perhaps the most embarrassing thing about Soharwardy's complaint is he claims our cartoons caused him to receive hate mail.  Indeed, his complaint includes copies of a few e-mails from strangers to him.  Some of those e-mails even go so far as to call him humourless and tell him to lighten up.  Perhaps that's hateful, but all of the e-mails were sent to him before our magazine even published the cartoons."  So, uh, he goes on in this vein.  What he points out is, is that, while it will likely be thrown out, he said "Our lawyers tell us we're going to win the case, but not before we have to spend hundreds of hours and up to $75,000 fighting this thing at our expense."  "Soharwardy, on the other hand," he says, "doesn't have to spend a dime because the taxpayers will pay for his side of it."  So, and, uh, he's, he's asking subscribers and others who are interested in freedom of the press and real democracy to help them out.  Can you imagine?  In this country, our country, that's what it's come to, folks. 

The first declared Muslim caller to the program that day was Omar, who gave his perspective on the topic: 

Omar:               Yes, I want to talk about, uh, issues about Islam and, uh, -

 

Lowell:              Are you a Muslim, sir?

 

Omar:               Yes.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.  Now, did you, do you agree that the Qur'an says, uh, "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them.  Kill him who changes his religion."

 

Omar:               Not at all, not at all, uh, Lowell.  It's, uh, there's a sentence saying exactly, very clear in the Qur'an, God talking to Muhammad and tell him "Are you the one [??] the people?"

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              But now he quotes, he says the Qur'an, this is chapter four, verse 89 says "If they desert you, seize them and put them to death wherever you find them."

 

Omar:               No, no, no, no, no.  This, uh, -

 

[ ...]

 

Omar:               Okay.  Islam never asks Muslims to kill anybody as, as long as they defend themselves.  Okay, what I'm saying is -

 

Lowell:              I'm sorry, I don't, why then, can you explain to me why then, uh, the, the, the imams and, and the other clerics in Afghanistan wanted to put to death that man who changed to Christianity?

 

Omar:               No, no.  The real problem is now, Lowell, it's, uh, radicals now, they are representing the Muslims, which is not right.  There's a billions, three hundred millions of Muslims and, and five or ten percent of radicals representing the Muslims in the world.  They are talking about Islam in the world.  It's not right.  There's more than a billions, more millions -

 

Lowell:              No, I know that, sir.  But my question -

 

Omar:               They are, they are -

 

Lowell:              My question, sir, is what does Allah say?  He says that the Qur'an, this is, uh, chapter two, verse 217, says "Allah will punish every apostate from Islam with eternal hell-fire."  Is that true?

 

Omar:               You will never find anything in Qur'an.  That's peoples judging others in believing.  It's, it's not right.

 

Lowell:              So, is it -

 

Omar:               God -

 

Lowell:              Is -

 

Omar:               God will judge everybody, not only Muslims.  God will, God will judge everybody and it's not between our hands to judge anybody's beliefs.  Everybody has the right to believe whatever he wants.  That's in Islam.  I, I believe in, uh, Islam, I believe in Christianity, I believe in Judaism, whatever I want.  I have a right to choose and God will judge everybody -

 

Lowell:              So, so I want to get this clear, though, so that you as a Muslim do not agree that those who converted from Islam to Christianity or Buddhism, you do not agree they should be killed?

 

Omar:               Not, it's, it's against, it's against humanity.  It's against believing, it's against -

 

Lowell:              No, no, no, sir.  Answer my question.  Do you believe that those who -

 

Omar:               No, I don't believe in that at all.

 

Lowell:              Okay.  Thank you.

 

Omar:               No, it's, it's, uh, it's not right at all. 

Caller Fred then attempted to suggest that Christianity has its own radicals who interpret the Christian Bible differently from others.  Fred also attempted to say that Muslims' failure to phone Green's program was not an indication that they believed apostates should be put to death, but rather than they did not share those views and so did not see any point in calling. 

Fred:                 Yeah, Lowell, uh, I'm a Christian.  Remember Bill Phipps?  Remember the United Church guy there a few years ago?  Sayin', claimin' that Jesus wasn't, uh, wasn't God?  I, I didn't get all excited about that, Lowell.

 

Lowell:              I'm, I'm not sure what your point is here, sir.

 

Fred:                 Well, there's all kinds of, within Christianity, there's all kinds of sects, sects shall we say?

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Fred:                 Catholics, there's, uh, Lutherans, there's Seventh Day Adventists -

 

Lowell:              No, but, but we do not, but, Fred, before you go further, sir, um, you can't dismiss it that lightly.  We, we had a situation in Afghanistan where it was widely agreed by the clerics and the govern-, and government and the Crown prosecutor that this man should be put to death.  They very clearly said that the Qur'an states that anybody who converts from Islam -

 

Fred:                 No, but, Lowell, Lowell -

 

Lowell:              Wait, let me finish.  That anybody who converts from Islam should be put to death.  We do not have the Christian faith, not today, saying things like that.  Any sect of it.

 

Fred:                 No.  No, but just because part of the Christian faith, you know, Bill Phipps, United Church, said that Jesus is not God.

 

Lowell:              No.

 

Fred:                 Jesus was just a man.

 

Lowell:              This is a, this is a very -

 

Fred:                 What does that have to do with me?

 

Lowell:              No, but, sir, this is -

 

Fred:                 I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna respond, Lowell.  That's what I'm saying.

 

Lowell:              But Fred, Fred -

 

Fred:                 Muslims aren't calling to respond -

 

Lowell:              Fred, Fred -

 

Fred:                 - because they don't care.  They think the people are, are espousing their own beliefs.  If Bill Phipps wants to believe that Jesus is only a man -

 

Lowell:              Fred, will you forget -

 

Fred:                 - that has nothing to do with me.

 

Lowell:              Come on, Fred.  Let's, let's talk about this sanely and maturely.  We're not talking about one guy.  We are talking about the Crown prosecutor.  We are talking about most of the clerics in an entire country said, very clearly, the Qur'an says he should be put to death.  We're not talking about one rogue minister, sir.  We're talking about, uh, we're talking about most of the clerics in Afghanistan and the legal system.

 

Fred:                 No, but -

 

Lowell:              They, they, they had to remove the guy surreptitiously in the dead of night or he would've been killed.

 

Fred:                 No, but like Omar said, like, Lowell, that, was, that the guy's name that just called, Omar.

 

Lowell:              Uh huh, uh huh?

 

Fred:                 Said there's millions of Muslims, right?  Th-, there's billions of Muslims.

 

Lowell:              Uh huh?

 

Fred:                 And there's billions of Christians that believe that, that interpret the Bible differently.

 

Lowell:              But, sir, excuse me, sir.  I, I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to get this through your head.  We, this is a situa-, to my knowledge, there is not a single Christian sect, Buddhist sect or Hindu sect that says that those who convert should be killed.  I have never heard that in modern times said by any other faith.  Anybody.

 

Fred:                 No, I agree.

 

Lowell:              Anybody.

 

Fred:                 Absolutely.  Absolutely.  But, but if your opinion about something in, in the Christian Bible is different than mine, I, I don't feel it necessary to phone.

 

Lowell:              Okay.  Sir, I'm not gettin' through to you -

 

Fred:                 And -

 

Lowell:              Okay, I'm not gettin' through to you. 

The next caller, Mark, then described his experiences living in the Middle East.  He indicated that he was not Muslim, but that many of his friends there were: 

Mark:                Okay.  So, I'm just, uh, calling, uh, to tell you I'm coming from, I'm coming from Middle East, uh, uh, area, to this country -

 

Lowell:              Are you Muslim?  Are you Muslim?

 

Mark:                No, no, I'm not Muslim.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Mark:                But I lived, I lived in Middle East and I, I go home with these people, I grew up with these people.  I know what I'm talkin' about.  So, uh, in my country there are, if somebody change their religion from Muslim to any kind of religion, uh, they gonna kill him right away.  So they don't, they don't, uh, they don't do anything.  I didn't see, for like 23 years I lived that country -

 

Lowell:              What country is that, sir?

 

Mark:                That's Iran, sir.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Mark:                Yeah. And I didn't s-, saw anybody change their religion.  If they want to do, they have to escape from the country to, to the United Nations or any country around, uh, around the border, so, and then they change, they change their religion.  That's what I saw.  I'm not saying, um, that the Qur'an says that or the Qur'an not says that.  But this is, this is happened to those countries, which is the government is a Muslim government living there, so, and, uh, nobody can change their religion.  And even, any woman or any girl, they cannot marry just anybody who says they're not Muslim.  So if they do, they, I think the, the, the law is doing the same thing to h-, to her.  So, and that, that, that's a truth.  I lived with it, I saw with my eyes and I know this is, this is totally true there.  So they do it.  So, I'm not saying the Qur'an says.  Maybe Qur'an didn't says that, but they, they do this. 

The following caller, Betty, asked Green about the Christian peace groups and if he knew exactly what they do in the war-ravaged countries they visit.  Lowell stated that he did not have details about their specific activities, but "they are very clearly anti-Western" who "hate the way we live and yet are quite pleased to take all the advantages of living here." 

Caller Jessie then identified herself as a Muslim and engaged in the following dialogue with Green: 

Jessie:              Um, yeah, I'm just, uh, uh, calling to maybe give, uh, uh, my perspective as well.  As a -

 

Lowell:              On what?

 

Jessie:              - a Muslim person.

 

[...]

 

Jessie:              Yeah.  And, um, I think, um, you know, I don't know that's for, for a fact what was, what's written in the Qur'an.  I read it when I was younger.  Uh, but, um, it's not supposed to be killing people.  You're supposed to respect people.

 

Lowell:              Well, but if, if in fact the Qur'an does say this, this, this seems to me to explain a lot, a great deal of what has happened.

 

Jessie:              Well, I, I doubt that, you know, I mean, I think you can take any written text and, you know, take it out of context and make it whatever you want it to be.

 

Lowell:              No, but this goes, but this goes beyond that, Jessie.  If we didn't have the terrorism, uh, that we have today.  If we didn't have situations where people are, are threatened to be killed because they're changing their religion, then it wouldn't be an issue.

 

Jessie:              By the way, I don't agree with the terrorism.  That's totally anti-Islamic.

 

Lowell:              Right, right.

 

Jessie:              Um, I, I completely don't agree with the terrorism.  You're not supposed to kill people.  That's just the way it is.

 

Lowell:              And yet, according to this professor, that's what the Qur'an says should happen.

 

Jessie:              Yeah.  I don't know.  I, I don't know enough about this professor.

 

Lowell:              Let me ask you this then.  He says the Qur'an contains the will of all-merciful God.  Would you agree with that?

 

Jessie:              Yeah.

 

Lowell:              And he says it has been deposited on tablets in Heaven, guarded by angels, even before the creation of the universe.  Is that, is that accurate?

 

Jessie:              We don't know.  I mean, how do I know?

 

Lowell:              No, but is that what, is that what the Qur'an states?

 

Jessie:              You know what?  I have not studied the Qur'an, so I really can't comment on that.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Jessie:              All I can comment on is my own, uh, understanding of the, the religion.

 

Lowell:              Right.

 

Jessie:              And -

 

Lowell:              Let me ask you this.

 

Jessie:              It's supposed to be peaceful.

 

Lowell:              Oh, okay, I under-

 

Jessie:              It's supposed to be respectful.  It's basically Christianity.  Um, it's, it's the same morals.

 

Lowell:              Can I ask you a question, Jessie?

 

Jessie:              Yeah, yeah.

 

Lowell:              In light of the fact that very clearly some Muslims, we don't know how many, but some Muslims believe this, would you agree with that?

 

Jessie:              Believe?

 

Lowell:              Believe that the Qur'an a-, advocates murder.

 

Jessie:              I don't know what they believe because I've never seen anything like that in the Qur'an and I've read it.

 

Lowell:              Well, you know that before, well, you know that before a suicide bomber kills himself and tries to kill others, they say "God is great".

 

Jessie:              Yeah.  You know, a lot of people do a lot of things in this world -

 

Lowell:              No, no, but -

 

Jessie:              - in the name of God.

 

Lowell:              I know.  I realize, well.

 

Jessie:              You know?  I mean, wars have been fought in the name of God.

 

Lowell:              Well, we're talking about today.  We're talking about today, though.  I mean, it's, it's almost exclusively radical Muslims who are doing this.

 

Jessie:              Yeah.  And, and they've waged a war -

 

Lowell:              C-could I just ask the question, can I just -

 

Jessie:              I guess they've waged a war.  You know?  And .

 

Lowell:              Just ask the question -

 

Jessie:              And I don't agree with that war.

 

Lowell:              Can I just ask a question?

 

Jessie:              Sure.

 

Lowell:              In light of the fact that very obviously some Muslims believe this, believe that, uh, that, uh, uh, that, that the Qur'an says this , -

 

Jessie:              You know, I -

 

Lowell:              Can I, can I just please ask my question?

 

[...]

 

Jessie:              Go ahead.

 

Lowell:              Should we, at the borders, have the right to ask Muslims who want to come to this country if they believe that?

 

Jessie:              If it, you mean when they're coming into Canada?

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              That anybody who converts from, from Islam should be killed.  Should we do, should we have the right to ask 'em if they believe that?

 

Jessie:              Well, you know, it depends on the laws of the country.

 

Lowell:              No, but, but, what I'm -

 

Jessie:              Sure, if you want to create those kind of laws for this country -

 

Lowell:              No, but I'm saying would you agree with that?

 

Jessie:              You know what?  I think there should be tremendous amount of screening done on -

 

Lowell:              But should that be part of the -

 

Jessie:              - people from all countries -

 

Lowell:              But, Jessie, Jessie, uh, I think it's a fair question.

 

Jessie:              - to get legitimate, contributing, you know, uh, uh, nation, which, um, -

 

Lowell:              Jessie, you're not being fair here.

 

Jessie:              - where people.

 

Lowell:              Jessie, you're not being fair here.

 

Jessie:              Oh no, no, no, no.

 

Lowell:              I'm asking you -

 

Jessie:              I'm saying that, I am saying "yes" because, and we need to tighten controls on who gets in here and why.

 

Lowell:              Okay, let me, okay, let me, please let me finish the question.  Okay, afford me the courtesy of that.  All right, my question is direct.  In your opinion, should we be allowed to question Muslims who come here whether they believe that those who switch from the Muslim faith should be killed?  Should we have the right to ask them that question?

 

Jessie:              You know what?  You can ask whatever you want.  This is our country.  We're allowed to screen.

 

Lowell:              My question, my question to you is would you suppor-, would you agree with that or not?

 

Jessie:              Absolutely.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Jessie:              Because, you know what?  We want a Canada that is peaceful, where people are here to contribute and make a positive impact.  Right?

 

Lowell:              I couldn't agree more. 

That dialogue was followed by a call from Mike who stated that words are open to interpretation: 

Mike:                I just want to co-, comment on a couple of things.  Uh, regarding Islam, see the thing is, I think Islam is under attack now.  Like if you want to, uh, you know, read something like that, I mean, is this not basic, uh, li-, like you have to read into it and study it and find the meaning of why it says that, if it does in fact say that.  Now -

 

Lowell:              Well, are you, are you a Muslim?

 

Mike:                No, I'm not, but I'm thinking of converting to Islam.

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              Why, why are you thinking of converting?

 

Mike:                My personal belief.  But that's not why I'm calling.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Mike:                The reason I'm calling is because, I mean, yeah, you can nit-pick.  I mean, not nit-pick, but you could, you know, bring out the negatives of Islam and judge the religion by the people.  But then on the same note, you can -

 

Lowell:              Well, how else would you judge it?

 

Mike:                Well, you can't judge Christianity on the fact that a lot of Klan members are racist and go kill, you know, anybody that's of any other colour -

 

Lowell:              Well, very clearly, sir, very clearly, sir, that is wrong and we arrest anybody that does that.

 

Mike:                Exactly.  And now, and the priests, you know, I'm not gonna mention this, but they, the, a high percentage of priests molest children.  Now, you're not going to, uh, you know, it wouldn't be fair for people to call and say, well, Christianity supports molestation of children.

 

Lowell:              Well, no, but nobody questions whether, nobody, nobody questions whether those priests or whoever it is molesting children shouldn't be -

 

Mike:                Exactly.

 

Lowell:              - shouldn't be arrested and thrown in jail.

 

Mike:                Exactly.

 

Lowell:              But that, but that's, that's not the issue here.  The issue here is, is there something in the religion itself that inspires violence?

 

Mike:                Not at all.  And, um, not at all.  Okay?  And -

 

Lowell:              Well, then, sir, have you read the Qur'an?

 

Mike:                I, I haven't read the full Qur'an.  That's why I can't comment on that.  Okay, but, but what I've read so far is there's nothing at all that incites violence.

 

Lowell:              Then why then, let me ask this question then, sir.

 

Mike:                Yeah, sure.

 

Lowell:              If that is true, why then did so many clerics in Afghanistan say that the Qur'an does say this and there was so much effort put to finding this guy and putting him to death?

 

Mike:                Because unfortunately, you know, as in Islam, and as in many, and even the prophet [??] said so, is that, uh, you know, Islam co-, is going to be, there's going to be 60 sections of Islam, there's going to be one true section that's left.  I mean, just like any other religion, like Buddhism or -

 

Lowell:              No, it's not like any other religion.

 

Mike:                Yeah.  And, and, no, but in terms of -

 

Lowell:              No, I'm sorry.  Buddhists, Buddhists are, Buddhists are not suicide bombers.

 

Mike:                No, no, but I, my point is, in terms of misinterpreting the religion and practising it in the wrong way, a lot of people out there interpret it the wrong way.

 

Lowell:              Then let me, then let me ask you, then, excuse me then.  Let me put it this way to you then.

 

Mike:                Sure.

 

Lowell:              Why does it appear that almost all of those who are misinterpreting their religion today are Muslims?

 

Mike:                No, no.  It's not almost all.  There's a billion plus Muslims in the world.  I mean, yeah, -

 

Lowell:              No, sorry, no.  Listen, listen to my question again.

 

Mike:                Sure.

 

Lowell:              Is it not true that almost all the terrorism in the world today, the suicide bombing, is being carried out by Muslims?

 

Mike:                Well, I say that most of the terrorism, okay, and now this, this is where you and I are going to differ on our views, most of the terrorism, I mean, you may look at it as terrorism and other people may look at it as these people are defending themselves because, if you do look at the reality of it, the Americans are the ones that are there -

 

Lowell:              Excuse me.  Excuse me, sir.  I'm not going to buy this for a moment.

 

Mike:                I'm not, I'm not -

 

Lowell:              You know, are you suggesting, just a minute.  No, it's time that you were challenged.  Are you telling me that those people who went in with bombs strapped to them, and blew up innocent men, women and little babies in the London subway were somehow defending themselves?

 

Mike:                I'm not saying, I'm not justifying what, what happened that day.

 

Lowell:              You tried to.

 

Mike:                No, no, no, no.  Not at all.  Okay?  I'm saying what's, that, of course that is wrong.  But, I mean, Bill Clinton, okay?  And I'll tell you something.  If, you know, -

 

Lowell:              No, sir.

 

Mike:                - if you do know, and I know your history, Bill Clinton blew, he bombed a pharmaceutical factory in the country of Sudan, which is a, and ended up killing millions, and not millions, but thousands of innocent workers because he suspected that it was a drug company.  And later on when they did investigation was done, it turns out that it was just a medicine company.

 

Lowell:              So, so this -

 

Mike:                So he did the same thing.

 

Lowell:              So, so this, so this is, this is the rule of equivalency?

 

Mike:                It's not equivalency.  But how come, why do people only, you know, why do people only, if you're going to be fair [??] -

 

Lowell:              Sir, -

 

Mike:                - equal, you know?

 

Lowell:              Sir, sir?

 

Mike:                Yeah?

 

Lowell:              Bill Clinton is not the president of the United States today.

 

Mike:                He's not the president, but he did a similar action.  Did he or did he not?

 

Lowell:              All right.  Sir, who is, excuse me, sir.  Who is it that is doing almost all the acts of terrorism around the world today?  And not just against Americans.  Who is it that blew up the nightclub in Bali?  Who is it that blew up the bus in Spain?  Who is it, er, the bus in Britain?  Who is it blew up the train in Spain, sir?  Who is it -

 

Mike:                Yeah, but Lowell.  What I'm saying -

 

Lowell:              No, no, no.  Who is it?!

 

Mike:                It's people that're doing it in the name of Islam.

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Mike:                But what I'm telling you is that the people that do -

 

Lowell:              Why?  Why?

 

Mike:                Yeah, but this is not Islamic, this is not the Islamic [??] -

 

Lowell:              But why, why -

 

Mike:                - there's a lot of people that -

 

Lowell:              No, but, sir.  My question is why does it, why does it appear that almost exclusiary [sic], uh, er, is it Muslims who are doing it today?

 

Mike:                I, I don't believe it's all, it's most, mostly Muslims.  I believe, you know, there's mil-, millions of more Muslims and there's millions -

 

Lowell:              Sir, that's not what I said.  I said why is it that almost all the acts of terrorism today are being carried out by Muslims?

 

Mike:                I don't think it is. 

Following the next commercial break, caller Jonathan telephoned with a copy of the Qur'an in front of him: 

Lowell:              Now I understand, Jonathan, you have a Qur'an there?

 

Jonathan:          Yes, um, Lowell, I have an official Arabic-English, uh, Qur'an here from, uh, in fact it says right on the front cover, it's from Islamic University in Medina.

 

Lowell:              All right.

 

Jonathan:          You can't get more official than that.

 

Lowell:              All right.  This, um, he quotes, uh, I guess it's, is it chapter four, verse 89?

 

Jonathan:          That's right.  I can give you a quote to that one verse.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Jonathan:          Okay, and here's what it says:  "They wish that you reject faith, as they have rejected faith and thus that you all become equal like one another.  So take not protectors or friends from them 'til they emigrate in the way of Allah to Muhammad.  But if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them.  And take neither protectors or friends nor helpers from them."

 

Lowell:              Good lord.

 

Jonathan:          End quote.

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              This, this is, um, this is ch-, now I have a Qur'an in front of me here.  This is, uh, what page is that on?

 

[...]

 

Jonathan:          Okay, this one is, this is an official one from, uh, from Medina.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

[...]

 

Jonathan:          And it's in Arabic and English and, and that's what it plainly says.

 

Lowell:              Read it again, would you?

 

Jonathan:          Okay.  It plainly says this:  "They wish that you reject faith as they have rejected faith and thus that you all become equal like one another.  So take not protectors or friends from them 'til they emigrate in the way of Allah to Muhammad.  But if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them.  And take neither protectors or friends nor helpers from them."  Now, that's, that's quite plain.  Now, I would like to know, where are these leftists, lousy human rights commissions with, with this kind of stuff circulating in Canada?  Where are they?

 

Lowell:              Mm.

 

Jonathan:          It just goes to show you the double standard and how these, these human rights commissions are not human rights commissions.  They should be gotten rid of.  They're just trouble-makers.

 

Lowell:              All right.  Well.

 

Jonathan:          I mean, this kind of stuff is going on.  That's, that's sura four, uh, 89 and I can give you the quote, the, the, uh, the translator is Doctor Mohammed Muhsin Khan, Islamic University, Medina.

 

[...]

 

Lowell:              All right.  Just to confirm what you're saying here.  Um, sura four, where are we here?  Holy smokes.  I can't seem to find it.  Um, [sound of flipping pages] yeah, it goes backwards.  Okay, I'm finding it here, I'm finding it.  Seventy-eight.  Eighty-nine.  Yeah, you're absolutely right.  You're absolutely, "when they turn, but if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them.  And take neither protectors or friends nor helpers from them."

 

Jonathan:          Yes.

 

Lowell:              Yeah, you're absolutely right.  Thank you very much, uh, Jonathan.

 

Jonathan:          You're welcome.

 

Lowell:              Thank you.  Well, that clears up that. 

Caller Terry then expressed his surprise that the Qur'an contained that verse: 

Terry:                Um, wow, he just took the punch away from me 'cause I was gonna, I was gonna make a couple of comments as far as the, uh, the way it was written.  Uh, 'cause you know it's a fact that the Bible has been re-written in certain parts of the country in order to accommodate where the Bible is.  So I'm assuming that the Qur'an has been re-written in order to accommodate, I guess, Canadians, Americans or whatever.  But I'm assuming that the true Qur'an and the way it was written is back, like, in Afghanistan, Iraq and back in the, uh, Middle Eastern countries there.  So they follow the original rules because if that's the case, why would they run after this man who tried to convert from, uh, Muslim -

 

Lowell:              Oh, I mean, very clearly this is, this is a translation.  Uh, by the way, er, the translation includes both the English version and the Arabic.  And very clearly that's what it says.  "If they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them."

 

Terry:                That's scary.  That's really unbelievable.  I mean, he, he just took the punch away from me 'cause I was gonna, but, wow, when I heard that, that, and that's written in black and white.

 

Lowell:              Yes, it is.

 

Terry:                And, and, I mean, to me, if you want to convert from Christianity to, Christianity to Muslim, you kinda would wonder why they would not ban that because now an outsider's coming into their religion.  But it's okay for that.  You can do that.  Because look what happened to Ray Stevens or Cat Stevens, who, uh, I can't remember his name, the, when he changed his name to a Muslim now and he's, uh, he's welcomed with open arms.  So now if he wants to leave the Muslim clerics, go back to Christianity, is he gonna be killed?  You wonder that.

 

Lowell:              I, I, um, I'm just reading more here, um.  It's, uh, it's very clearly, uh, you're not supposed to kill another believer because, uh, 92 says "It is not for a believer to kill a believer except that it be by mistake.  And whosoever kills a believer by mistake, it is ordained that he must set free a believing slave and compensation, that's blood money, be given to the deceased's family, uh, unless the grace and mercy of Allah upon you." 

Listener Kamal, who said he was trained in the Islamic faith, then telephoned to provide his point of view on the topic: 

Kamal:              You know, you believe and you're asking what you believe, isn't that?

 

Lowell:              I don't know, sir.

 

Kamal:              This is a logical way.

 

Lowell:              All I know is that I have the Qur'an in front of me -

 

Kamal:              That's right.

 

Lowell:              And very clearly this is -

 

Kamal:              That's right.  I am, I'm going to agree with you.  When my manual says you have to behave this way, if I believe in that manual, that's how I behave.

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Kamal:              And I want somebody to show me in the world today, in a Muslim country, that they don't do anything that this book says.  Because there is not one Muslim country that they do not kill the converted ones.  And I can give you evidence after evidence, uh, -

 

Lowell:              Well, they don't do it, I must tell you this, sir.  They do not do it in Turkey.  And the new constitution of Iraq very clearly states that those who convert from Islam to another faith shall not be put to death.  So, there are some Muslim countries that, that forbid this.

 

Kamal:              But let me, in the constitution it says -

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Kamal:              - that the constitution is not overrule, er, is not overruling, uh, governor.  The Qur'an is the overriding rule for the, all decisions at the Council of Islamic -

 

Lowell:              But on the other, but on the other hand, we've gotta, we have to be fair here.  And that is that, just as with the Christian faith, I mean, even though you may declare yourself to be a Christian, there are many who do not believe all of the teachings of the Bible.  And I suspect that this is the same with Muslims.

 

Kamal:              I understand that.

 

Lowell:              But the problem is, is that obviously we have a large number of at least fundamentalist Muslims who do believe this.

 

Kamal:              That's right.  That's the problem.  And today these are the ones, the majority that they come here with those fundamental understandings of Islam.  And when you asked that lady if we have the right at the border to ask these guys "Do you believe in this fundamental, uh, uh, basic?" yes, we have the right.  We should have the right to ask them.  Because this country was based on understanding of all people, right?  Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and who, whosoever comes here come to find shelter and refuge.  And if we allow these things come in and is spread all over the country, soon, and very soon, we will have these troubles at hand as well. 

A call from Johnny began the final hour of the program.  He directed Lowell to other verses from the Qur'an that mention killing: 

Johnny:             Well, I, I'm flabbergasted at, uh, most of these calls that you're having.  But, um, let me tell you something.  Uh, those are facts.  Eighty percent of Muslim people haven't read the Qur'an.  Now, that's one, it's one, the other twenty percent that read the Qur'an, eighty percent of them don't, don't even understand it.  Now the most important point here is, the Qur'an that you have in your hand is the official translation.  Do you know that, and you're not allowed to translate, any other country is not allowed to translate the Qur'an unless that translation is from Saudi Arabia.  This is one.  Two, if you want to see the verses that exist in the Qur'an - and I hate to see you from now on calling it radical or fundamental - because if you read these verses, I don't know what you're going to be calling this religion.  Look at, uh, verses eight, number 65.  Verses two, number 217.  All what you see there is verses that calling for the killing.

 

Lowell:              I'm sorry, ver-, verses, it's sura, sura eight?

 

Johnny:             Sura eight, verse 65.

 

Lowell:              Sixty-five.  All right.

 

Johnny:             Sura two, verse 217.

 

Lowell:              Okay.

 

Johnny:             Sura 74, verse four to six.  Sura 74, ver-, verse [85?]

 

Lowell:              What do you say you will find there?

 

Johnny:             You, all, all these suras will, uh, uh, Muhammad the prophet or, I don't know, maybe Gabriel gave him, uh, those suras.  It tells the Muslim people go ahead and kill.  Kill and kill because God will be with you.

 

Lowell:              By the way, in reference to your saying that it all has to be printed in, um, in what count-, in what country did you say?  In, um?

 

Johnny:             Saudi Arabia.  It has to be.

 

Lowell:              In Saudi Arabia?  Okay, I'm just, I'm just reading this.  It says, okay, this is the, the prefix to the Qur'an that I have.  It says "With the help and guidance of Allah, the printing of this noble Qur'an with a translation of its meanings was accomplished at King Fahd Complex for the printing of the Holy Qur'an" da da, da da, da da, "under the supervision of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [Endowments?] and guidance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the year 1420."  Okay.

 

Johnny:             Exactly.  That is, there's no other translation because it's illegal for any other country to translate it because if, if other countries do, does a exact translation, then you're gonna see words in there that will boggle your mind.  And that's why nobody's allowed to translate it and the official translation comes only from Saudi Arabia.  So if you are to look at the Arabic transl-, er, Arabic, uh, Qur'an, uh, the way it's read and you are to translate it to English, you're gonna be amazed at some of the words that are in there.  So that's why Saudi Arabia has the only right to translate that, uh, that book.

 

Lowell:              I'm looking for, uh, eight 65.  Uh, it says "Prophet Muhammad urge the believers to fight.  If there are 20 steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome 200.  And if there be a hundred steadfast persons, they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve because they, the disbelievers, are people who do not understand."

 

Johnny:             Exactly.  Now, go to verse two, uh, two, number 217.

 

Lowell:              Uh, well I haven't got time now.  I, I don't find that as, as offensive.

 

Johnny:             Yeah, well, there is, the other ones are more offensive than this one.  This one is, you know, it's kind of, uh, a medium-sized, uh, killing there.  But the others ones does exactly.  He says the words.

 

Lowell:              But, but, I mean, we have to be fair.  And that is that if you read, particularly the Old Testament, you're going to find, uh, a lot of admonitions to kill there as well and a lot of violence.  Now, it's not true of the New Testament, but.

 

Johnny:             That, that's the Old Testament.  Now, go to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ.  The only, the only book, the only book that most, uh, the Qur'an that believes in as the right book is, uh, the, the New Testament.  And the only woman that is mentioned in the Ol-, er, in the Qur'an is the Virgin Mary.  The only woman.  And that Muhammad has 27 wives.  His third wife was six years old when he married her.  And the only woman that he speaks of in the Qur'an is the Virgin Mary.

 

Lowell:              Interesting.

 

Johnny:             And Jesus Christ is the only prophet that he speaks of most of the time.

 

Lowell:              All right.  I have, uh, this is, uh, sura two, uh, verse 217.  Quote, "they ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months, i.e. first, seventh, eleventh and twelve months of the Islamic calendar.  Say fighting herein, therein is a great transgression, but a greater transgression with Allah is to prevent mankind from following the way of Allah, to disbelieve in him, to prevent access", da da, da da, "and to drive out its inhabitants.  Is worse than killing.  And they will never cease fighting until you turn back from your religion, Islamic, if they can.  And whoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the hereafter and they will be the dwellers of the fire.  They will abide therein forever."  Ooh.  So it says if, if, in other words, if you turn from the Muslim faith, you will abide in, in eternal hellfire.

 

Johnny:             And, if you want to go to, uh, 74, four to six.

 

Lowell:              Mind you, I, I don't want to go into any more, sir.  But as, I just want to point out that, uh, that there're admonitions of that nature in the Old Testament of the Bible as well.  Got to move on here.  Thank you.  Uh, to West Carleton.  Donald, you're on CFRA. 

Caller Donald then suggested that the Qur'an be examined by a human rights commission for promoting hatred: 

It seems that, uh, the nation of Islam is in a serious problem, having a serious problem nowadays.  Um, this imam from Alberta, if he can, if he can go to a human rights tribunal, uh, for these, you know, this trump, this charge he, he's laying, then maybe the Qur'an should too.  If it preaches murder, and I've read a little, uh, snippets of the Qur'an and, in general it's a marvellous book and I feel very sorry for the, the, the moderate Muslims.  Um, if this book preaches murdering because, you know, because you've gone away from the religion, it should be, uh, they should have a, a, a commission on it and study the thing.  'Cause it seems that a lot of Muslims don't even know their, their own Qur'an.

 

Lowell:              Well, it, the same would be true of Christians, sir.  How many Christians, uh, do you think have ever read the Bible?  Not too many.

 

Donald:             True.  But when, when, if it preaches murdering, uh, people on site basically because they're not, because they've changed that religion, there, there's a serious problem that should be looked at legally as far as a hate crime. 

Another caller by the name of Jerry telephoned to question whether the verse that was the focus of Green's criticisms was merely an admonition to maintain one's faith in general, rather than Islam in particular: 

Jerry:                Interesting topic today.  Uh, I just, like, I don't really follow any religion specifically, but what I find is, like, all religions are the same, so -

 

Lowell:              Well, not really.  Not really, sir.  No, no that's not true.

 

Jerry:                Well, the reason why I say that is just to bring up my point, which is, first we've just got to look back, this is kind of scary, people actually believing this, but what is a Muslim?  If a Muslim, if a good Muslim is the same as a good Christian, so anyone that's away from Islam could be someone that -

 

Lowell:              Well, this I can tell you, sir.  Because I, I'm quite familiar with the Christian Bible and the, the New Testament.

 

Jerry:                Yeah, that's if someone -

 

Lowell:              Can I just finish?  Can I just finish, please?

 

Jerry:                Yeah.

 

Lowell:              Uh, and I'm gonna tell you that the New Testament, nowhere there does it say that anybody should be killed for switching religions.  In fact, the message of the New Testament, of Jesus Christ, is one of forgiveness.  You know, Jesus -

 

Jerry:                Are you sure?

 

Lowell:              Mm, okay.

 

Jerry:                Sorry to cut you off again.  I just learned that from you.  But, um, does it say that anyone that switches religions or anyone that turns away from Islam?  'Cause maybe they mean by "Islam" the way of, of every religion, like Christians and the way that -

 

Lowell:              No, no, no, no, no.  It's very clear that it's talking about, talking about Islam.  Very clear, sir.

 

Jerry:                Oh, okay.  'Cause I just thought it might be that they're trying to -

 

Lowell:              No, not at all.

 

Jerry:                You need to define what, what Islam is first and then explain that if anyone lives, goes away from that -

 

Lowell:              No, no.  We've already got that clear.  We've read you, we've read you directly from the Qur'an, sir.  Thank you for calling. 

The next caller was Maser who brought up the point that context is important in understanding the verses: 

Maser:              How're you doing?  Um, I don't know where to start, um, because there's lot of things here and people quoting without any reference and, um, -

 

Lowell:              I'm sorry, what, sorry, what is it that you just said?

 

Maser:              Uh, I, I said that there are lots of things that people are quoting, especially the Christians, uh, about Islam which is totally not correct.

 

Lowell:              Well, I just read from the Qur'an, sir.

 

Maser:              Yes.

 

Lowell:              Is the Qur'an not correct?

 

Maser:              Uh, Qur'an is absolutely correct.

 

Lowell:              Okay.  Well, the Qur'an is, then you know what the Qur'an says about killing people who switch from the Muslim faith.  Very clearly it says kill them.

 

Maser:              Yeah, can, can I describe it, what exactly it is?

 

Lowell:              Well, I, I, how can you describe?  I've read the Qur'an.

 

Maser:              Okay.

 

Lowell:              I've read what the Qur'an says.

 

Maser:              Okay, if, I'm just make a challenge to all Canada.  If you read it in context and if you have any objection, you, I'll, I'll pay whatever fine is.  So, you reading that in context -

 

Lowell:              Well I read it in context.

 

Maser:              No.  I, let me tell you this -

 

Lowell:              Well, sir, I, I have the Qur'an here in front of me.  What, what, what's the context that I didn't read it in?

 

Maser:              Okay, I am Muslim and I read it many times.

 

Lowell:              Uh huh.

 

Maser:              Let me tell you.  Let me tell you exactly what it is.

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Maser:              It's, it's about, there was, this is a description of a war.  If you read that, all is about war.  So it's a description of one war in which Muslims were, uh, had an argument with, uh, they were fighting against other faiths as well.  And what usually, and [??] too, is they become Muslim and they, they create, uh, you know, um -

 

Lowell:              Sir, sir, sir, sir -

 

Maser:              - problems, uh, problems in -

 

Lowell:              Sir, sir, excuse me.  Okay?  Uh, I, I, I, I read directly, uh, from the Qur'an, sir.

 

Maser:              You read it correctly.  You read it correctly.  But -

 

Lowell:              Yeah.  Yeah.  And it doesn't talk about, it doesn't talk about anything, uh, anything specifically about a war.

 

Maser:              It does.

 

Lowell:              No, I'm sorry, sir.

 

Maser:              Oh yes, it does.

 

Lowell:              I, I, it's, it's talking about general.

 

Maser:              Okay, [?] -

 

Lowell:              He says, okay, let's go to, all right, let's go to 95.  "Not equal are those are the believers."  They're talking about believers and non-believers.

 

Maser:              Yes.

 

Lowell:              And stri-, and stri-, and what, talking about the war, the war they're talking about is the war, uh, against, against non-believers.  I mean, that's, that's what the war you're talking about, sir. Wh-, I wish you wouldn't try to mislead me.

 

Maser:              No, but -

 

Lowell:              I mean, I have the Qur'an in front of me here.

 

Maser:              No, sir.  You can, you can write down my name and my number and I can, you can, I can challenge you that there's -

 

Lowell:              But I'm reading from the Qur'an, sir.

 

Maser:              No -

 

Lowell:              And not only that, it says "and whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is held to abide therein and the wrath and curse of Allah upon him and a great punishment is prepared for him."  Seems to me that there are gonna be a lot of Muslims who are killing other Muslims out there who're gonna be spending a lot of time in purgatory, sir.  In hell.  But -

 

Maser:              Sir, sir, let me say one thing.  Uh, this is exactly what the difference between a, uh, radical Muslims and, uh, the Muslims with -

 

Lowell:              No, but, but that's, that's fine, sir.  But, please, -

 

Maser:              Okay.

 

Lowell:              - I mean, don't try to mislead us because that's not right.

 

Maser:              Oh -

 

Lowell:              You know, at least -

 

Maser:              I'm not trying to mislead you.

 

Lowell:              No, but the, the, the Qur'an that deals with this is talking about a war e-, in essence, between non-believers and believers.  It's all about believers and non-believers.  He says, quote, here's the verse:  "They wish that you reject faith."  Not talking about a war, except he's talking about non-believers.  "They wish that you reject faith as they have rejected faith.  And thus that you all become equal like one another.  So take not awliya, that's protectors or friends from them 'til they emigrate in the way of Allah to Muhammad.  But if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them and take neither protectors or friends nor helpers from them."

 

Maser:              It's absolutely correct.  But, but this is the difference between me and Osama Bin Laden.  That he understands these things as literal, just like you're doing it right now.  And I read it in context.  The context is that, this is, this is actually the difference between a good Muslim and a bad Muslim.  They, they read the words and just take it as it is.  And it's, I can quote many things from Bible that if you take it out of context -

 

Lowell:              Not from the New Testament.  There's no place in the New Testament that says you should kill non-believers.

 

Maser:              [?] get too many things [?] -

 

Lowell:              In fact, the message of the, the Christian Bible, I'm not saying one's better than the other, but I'm telling you, that the message of Jesus Christ, which is founder of the Christian faith, is one of forgiveness.  You know, if a man asks, if, if a man strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the left.  If a man asks that you walk a mile with him, walk yet a mile.

 

[...]

 

Maser:              And, and, sir, let me tell you.  Uh, -

 

Lowell:              But here the Qur'an, the Qur'an says just the opposite.  He says they wish that you reject faith and if, and if, uh, they do reject their faith, kill them.

 

Maser:              No.  Let me tell you, sir.  This is not my faith.  This is what you're telling is not my faith.  My faith is I do believe in all books, first of all.  I believe in Bible, more than you do.

 

Lowell:              Sir, the, sir -

 

Maser:              I believe in Bible more than you do.

 

Lowell:              Wh-, you know?

 

Maser:              Yeah?

 

Lowell:              I mean, for you to tell me that you believe more than I do, I mean, stop the damn nonsense, okay?  You're not talking to a five-year-old child here.

 

Maser:              No -

 

Lowell:              You don't, you have no idea what I believe and what I don't believe.  All I'm telling you is what the Qur'an says and very clearly large numbers of Muslims believe that.  And that's a problem, sir.  You got to face it.  It's a problem.

 

Maser:              Sir, no, sir, exactly you are doing exactly that thing in Christianity what Osama Bin Laden doing in Islam.  Like, the radical thing.  No.  We, what we want here in Canada, we don't want any radicalism.  If you don't want in Islam, then don't try to attack Islam like in the [?] -

 

Lowell:              I'm not attacking Islam.  I'm telling you what Islam says.  I'm telling you, I'm reading you from the Qur'an.

 

Maser:              No, no, but I'm listening to you, like, like, you know, uh, you know, red-neck people, uh, you know, comment about other people.  You know, this, this is not the way we, we want, uh, [?] in Canada.

 

Lowell:              Well, sir, sir, would you agree with this?  You sound like a reasonable man.  Would you agree that that verse at the very least is resulting in the deaths of thousands of people?

 

Maser:              Exactly.  And I totally agree with you and I, I, -

 

Lowell:              All right.  That's, that's -

 

Maser:              - I was the first person, I was the first person who -

 

Lowell:              All right.  At least we agree, at least we agree to that, sir.

 

Maser:              Yeah -

 

Lowell:              We'll be back on CFRA. 

Following the commercial break, Green spoke with Alex who stated that both the Qur'an and the Christian Bible contain both positive and negative things: 

Alex:                 Hi, Lowell.  Um, I have, uh, I really disagree with, um, what you were saying before about the killing.  Um, there is a lot of forgiveness in this religion.  Islam is not only about killing.  It's very, very forgiving.  There are many people who tried to kill the prophet and he forgave them.  Right away.

 

Lowell:              Well, I'm, I'm reading directly.  I mean, in this case, it's very clear.  I mean, there's no equivocation here.  Uh, that if, if someone leaves the faith, quote, "If they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them."  I, I don't see how you could misinterpret what he said there.

 

Alex:                 No, it's not about misinterpretation.

 

Lowell:              What is it then?

 

Alex:                 Well, I just feel like you're just pointing out every negative thing you possibly can about the religion.

 

Lowell:              No.  I'm, I'm quoting, wh-, if it's in the Qur'an, why is it negative?

 

Alex:                 Excuse me?

 

Lowell:              It's in, I, I'm quoting you the Qur'an.  Are you suggesting the Qur'an is negative?

 

Alex:                 No.

 

Lowell:              Well, I, I'm just quoting from the Qur'an.

 

Alex:                 Well, if you quote things from the Torah or from the Bible that are very negative as well.

 

Lowell:              Quote, quote me something from the New Testament.

 

Alex:                 From the New Testament?

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Alex:                 Have you read Timothy?

 

Lowell:              Uh, Timothy?  Yes.

 

Alex:                 Okay, there is something in there.  It's not about killing, but it's very offensive to women.  Basically it's saying that women -

 

Lowell:              Oh, you'll find, you'll find some offensive stuff in, in the, uh, in Paul's epistles.  Paul didn't like women.  There's no question about that.

 

Alex:                 Okay.

 

Lowell:              But there's no, there's no, there's nothing in there about killing people.

 

Alex:                 No, but that's because every prophet had their own message.  Every prophet had their own -

 

Lowell:              No, I realize that.  But what I'm saying to you is, is that we have a serious problem in the world.  Obviously there are a number of Muslims who really believe this chapter, this verse in sura four, 89.  They believe this.  Because they are killing people all over.  And I think that, you know, we, we've gotta tell the truth.  This is what the Qur'an says.

 

Alex:                 But a lot of, most modern Muslims don't believe that.

 

Lowell:              But some -

 

Alex:                 And I think you're just scared that this is going to happen in Canada, that there's all these Muslims in Canada that really believe this.  And there really aren't.  [??] -

 

Lowell:              Well, I must point out that there are over 3000 people killed just a few hundred miles to the south of us, including 25 Canadians.  They have just arrested, uh, perhaps two, perhaps three terrorists who have been hiding out in Canada.  We have another one who is on trial.  And we have another one that was apparently trying to make, uh, bombs on, on model airplanes.  These people are all Muslim.  Why, why wouldn't we be concerned?

 

Alex:                 I don't know.  But I just want to tell you there are really nice things in the Qur'an.

 

Lowell:              I'm sure there are.

 

Alex:                 And I just want to point them out because I feel like you're just, you're just pointing out the negative things and I just want to tell you this.  Um, "And you will find the nearest in love to the believers, those are the Muslims, those who say 'We are Christians'.  That is because amongst them are priests and monks and they are not proud."

 

Lowell:              Which, uh, which verse and, and uh?

 

Alex:                 That's, it's chapter five.

 

Lowell:              Okay, sura five.

 

Alex:                 Verse 82.

 

Lowell:              Verse 82.  Okay.  And, uh, but, but one of the things I noticed, that I find disturbing, is that he makes, Allah makes a great distinction between believers and non-believers.  And which verse are you talking about here?

 

Alex:                 I was talking about 82.

 

Lowell:              Eighty-two.

 

Alex:                 When, when he's talking about the believers versus the non-believers -

 

Lowell:              Mm hm?

 

Alex:                 - he's really not so much talking about Christians.  Like, everyone thinks that Muslims think that Christians and Jews are evil, but that's not true.  He's really talking about the people who were worshipping -

 

Lowell:              Well, here.  Just a minute.  This is sura five and verse 82?

 

Alex:                 Yes.

 

Lowell:              It says, quote, "Verily you will find the strongest among men in enmity to be the d-, the, uh, to the believers Muslims, the Jews.  You will find the nearest in love to the believers, Muslims, those who say 'We are Christians'."  So the, what, what -

 

Alex:                 The biggest problem, the biggest problem -

 

Lowell:              Excuse me, uh, that doesn't sound very loving to me.  It says you will find the strongest among, among men in enmity to be the be-, the, the believers of Jews.  In other words, he's saying -

 

Alex:                 It says that.  It says that, Lowell, because -

 

Lowell:              Why would you advance that?

 

Alex:                 Lowell.

 

Lowell:              As a, as a defence?

 

Alex:                 Can I, can I explain?

 

Lowell:              I hope so.

 

Alex:                 It says that because, the reason why there's so much conflict between the Jews and the Christ-, er, and the Muslims, I believe, is because, uh, it also says that the Jewish people, they didn't accept Jesus Christ as the messiah.

 

Lowell:              No, but, but -

 

Alex:                 That's the biggest problem.

 

Lowell:              - you advanced, but, sor-, but sorry, I'm sorry.

 

Alex:                 That's why -

 

Lowell:              No, but wait a minute, hold it.  But I am, I am astonished and shocked that you would advance that verse as a defence of, of the, uh, forgiveness of the, of the Qur'an.  When, when it says -

 

Alex:                 The Qur'an is a clear guide.  It's just, it's just plain words.

 

Lowell:              No, but it's saying -

 

Alex:                 There's so many things, we're supposed to follow the examples of prophets.

 

Lowell:              No, but you advanced this -

 

Alex:                 The prophet married a Jewish woman.  He, they, there's no hatred there.  It's just.

 

Lowell:              Well it says, um, I'll read you again.  It says, verily -

 

Alex:                 I know what it says.  Lots of people know what it says.  Anyone who reads it can know what it says.

 

Lowell:              Well, this is not one of the reasons perhaps that there is such enmity between Jews and, and Muslims then?

 

Alex:                 No, it's not because of what's written here.  It's because -

 

Lowell:              Well, I mean, the Qur'an says.

 

Alex:                 It's not because of what's written here.  This, this was already written a long time ago.  That's not the reason why there's so many problems.  It's that -

 

Lowell:              Okay, well, I, I just, I think you chose a very poor verse to convince me.  That's, that's not forgiveness.

 

Alex:                 Well, that's not the part I was talking about.  I was talking about -

 

Lowell:              That's the verse you quoted me.

 

Alex:                 I quoted you "You will find the nearest in love to the believers, those who say 'We are Christians'."

 

Lowell:              Yeah, but you forgot the part about -

 

Alex:                 I didn't forget it.  It's right there.

 

Lowell:              Well, yeah, but you didn't mention it until I, you didn't, huh.  Come on, Alex.  The, the verse very clearly says that the biggest enemies we have are the Jews.

 

Alex:                 It's the, it's not, it's not enemies.

 

Lowell:              Well, that's what it says.  "Men in enmity" means enemies.  It very clearly says the biggest enemies are Jews.

 

Alex:                 Because they denied, they denied one of the most important prophets -

 

Lowell:              Whatever.

 

Alex:                 Jesus.

 

Lowell:              Whatever.  It's hardly -

 

Alex:                 How can you deny that?  How can you ignore that so -

 

Lowell:              Deny what?

 

Alex:                 - blatantly?

 

Lowell:              No, but you advanced this -

 

Alex:                 This is, this is your most important person in your religion, in Christianity.

 

Lowell:              Excuse me.  I, I, I went to the verse that you suggested as an example of how the Qur'an preaches forgiveness and I find there a verse that says our biggest enemies are the Jews.  Huh.  I, I, uh, it's, we'll be back, CFRA. 

Following another commercial break, Green read another verse from the translated Qur'an and then spoke with Mohammed: 

Lowell:              Several callers have mentioned the fact that, uh, Jesus and Mary are mentioned in the Qur'an.  Let me just read you the, uh, the verse.  This is, uh, sura five, verse 78.  Quote, "Those among the children of Israel" - that would be the Jews - "Those among the children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary.  That was because they disobeyed Allah and the messengers and were ever transgressing beyond bounds."  So it's very clear.  'Cause this was written long before the state of Israel was ever formed.  Very clear that the animosity between Muslims and Jews started long before the state of Israel.  Uh, let's go to, uh, Mohammed, uh, in Montreal.  Mohammed, you're on CFRA.

 

[...]

 

Mohammed:      I'm a Muslim of course.

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Mohammed:      Uh, I think, for you it's very difficult to, to, to understand the Qur'an because I read Qur'an twice and I am confused now more than I'd, I was before reading it.

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Mohammed:      A lot of contradiction in Islam.  And, uh, so-, uh, in, in some sura you read that it is, uh, Christianity and Jew, Jew, like, the Jews and Christian people, they are people of, of the book, they call them.  Like they have -

 

Lowell:              Well, very clearly the, the verses that I have seen here, uh, makes it very clear that the Jews are no friend of Muslims.

 

Mohammed:      Yeah.

 

Lowell:              I don't think that comes as a surprise.

 

Mohammed:      That's in one verse, but the others -

 

Lowell:              Well, no, it's actually in more than one, sir.

 

Mohammed:      Yeah, yeah, no -

 

Lowell:              I just read, I mean, here, here is sura five, verse 78.  Quote, "Those among the children of Israel" - that would be Jews - "Those among the children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of David and Jesus, son of Mary.  That was because they disobeyed Allah and the messengers and were ever transgressing beyond bounds."

 

Mohammed:      Exactly.  I agree with you.  It's, uh, so that's why Bin Laden and other people, they look from, like, a different angle, like, the, the moderate peoples.  So what we need, actually, we need a courageous cleric or religious people denounce the, the bad aspects of the Qur'an.  We said it can't adapt itself to the, the 21st century.  For example, I can't marry a nine-year-old girl because Prophet Muhammad did.  So this is unacceptable now.  And, uh, when this lady, the, Alex I think, the previous caller, mentioned that Muhammad, uh, married a Jewish woman, he married her the same night he killed her husband, so -

 

Lowell:              He killed her husband?

 

Mohammed:      Yeah.  They, they raided the, the town and, uh, her husband was, he was the chief of the tribe and they, he was killed.  And the same night, he married her.  So this is unacceptable now.  Uh, maybe but at that time it was.  But now what we need is we need, uh, a new version of Islam which can adapt itself to the 21st century.  And that's, actually we don't have it because most of the religious people intimidated by the radical Muslim, like Bin Laden and things because they, they will tell him, "Go back to the, the origin or to the real Islam".

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Mohammed:      So this is the problem among Muslim more than between the Muslim and the, the West.  And because now it's poli-, it's politics, that's why the West becoming the enemy number one.  Because, uh, they feel that the, you know, the democracy of the West will, will overrule or will dominate the, the Muslim countries.  That's why they, they are desperate to fight the Western countries.  Because they feel that they are the, the main, uh, challenge for, for their backward beliefs.  So I don't think you can understand anything from Qur'an because -

 

Lowell:              Well, well, we do.  But, but -

 

Mohammed:      It contradicts itself actually.

 

Lowell:              Well, what, we can't, excuse me, sir.  What, it seems clear to me that we can understand is that it certainly leaves itself open -

 

Mohammed:      Yeah.

 

Lowell:              - to a lot of the radicals to use it as their sword and their shield.

 

Mohammed:      Exactly.  So, so actually I think -

 

Lowell:              Just, just as the, as the Christian Bible did in earlier days.

 

Mohammed:      Exactly.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Mohammed:      So, I, what I think is, is that, uh, well, the circumstances actually played a big role in, in these verses.  So, when, uh, in the beginning, he needed, like, the, the Jewish and, uh, Christian people because, uh, he took most of the, the Qur'an is most, uh, you read the Qur'an, most of it is from the, the Old and New Testament.  It's almost similar.  But later on, it, uh, became, like, more, um, uh, more, uh, it, by itself.

 

Lowell:              Well, sir, the only, I haven't read it all obviously, but, uh, I see it mentions Moses, that threw his stick and it became a serpent.  That obviously is part of the Christian faith.  The, the thing, there's, I mean, there's a radical departure between the Old and New Testaments in the Christian faith, as you know.

 

Mohammed:      Yeah.

 

Lowell:              I mean, the Old Testament, essentially is a history of the Jewish peoples.  And it's very violent.  But the New Testament essentially is saying, hey, you know, you have heard it said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but I say unto you, you know, if a man strike you on the right cheek, turn to the left.

 

Mohammed:      Yeah.

 

Lowell:              In other words, listen, no, what we want, what God really wants is love, charity and forgiveness.

 

Mohammed:      Exactly.  That's -

 

Lowell:              That's, but I don't s-, I don't see that from what I have seen in the Qur'an.

 

Mohammed:      Yeah, yeah, especially, well, 50 years ago, we had this version of Islam.  You, but since Khomeini, you know Khomeini in Iran and became politics -

 

Lowell:              Yes.

 

Mohammed:      - and then Bin Laden Al-Qaeda took over, it became very aggressive.  It became very, very -

 

Lowell:              Now did the Qur'an change or was it just the interpretation?

 

Mohammed:      No, that, that's what, because there are a lot of contradiction in Islam, so if you look it from one angle, it's a very, you know, merciful, it, it, because, uh, there's one, one, one sura in Qur'an, says, he's citing certain peoples, certain tribe, he said they became Muslim and then they deserted Islam and then they became Muslim again and then deserted Islam and God is the greatest merci-, you know, so he didn't mention killing them.  But on the other hand, you just I think mentioned that everyone -

 

Lowell:              Yeah.

 

Mohammed:      - or every Muslim who deserts Islam -

 

Lowell:              So what you're saying is that there's a sort of a more radical element that is taking this, the more violent aspects of the Qur'an, and espousing that.  Sir, it's been a very interesting conversation.  I thank you for calling.

 

Mohammed:      You're welcome. 

The next call came from Carl who made some comments about Christianity: 

Carl:                 Yeah, um, uh, let's see, where to start?  Uh, yeah, I have a comment in regards to, uh, you said in the Qur'an it talks about, uh, an enmity between the Jews and the Christians and the Muslims.

 

Lowell:              Very clearly.

 

Carl:                 Right.  Well, throughout Chrisitan prosecution of the Jews during, you know, the, back in the Middle Ages and whatnot, it was actually the Muslims that were protecting the, the Jews for most of, you know, -

 

Lowell:              Sir, there, you know, there, there, hist-, history has many twists and turns.

 

Carl:                 Of course it does.

 

Lowell:              All I am telling you is that this is the book that is obviously being used by some radical Muslims who, as I say, they're, they're using it both as their sword and their shield.

 

Carl:                 Mm hm.

 

Lowell:              That's what's, that's seem, and this last Muslim caller agreed with me.

 

Carl:                 Oh, I agree with you as well.

 

Lowell:              Yeah.  So whatever, whatever history says, sir, the book is still there and obviously I believe it, it's being misused by some people.

 

Carl:                 Yeah, but he, I also believe too it's, it's being misused in the media as well because we're gettin' -

 

Lowell:              In what way?

 

Carl:                 - misinterpretations sometimes.  It's out of context.

 

Lowell:              Uh, where, wh-, I don't, I don't recall ever having seen that, sir.  What, in what regard?

 

Carl:                 Well, um, you stated earlier something in regards to, um, anybody that, that if they, if the non-believe, the non-believers, right?

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Carl:                 If, uh, they don't believe then they'll be all killed.  We have to remember that this God of the, of the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims, is all the same God.  So, Allah is the same God to the Jews as it is to the Christians.

 

Lowell:              Well, very clearly the, uh, the Qur'an doesn't agree with that, sir.  The, the Qur'an talks about believers and non-believers, uh, throughout it.  In fact -

 

Carl:                 Right.  But these -

 

Lowell:              - they even -

 

Carl:                 - believers is all believers all in one God.

 

Lowell:              No, actually they, uh, er, I'm even reading another one here where it very specifically talks about the Jews.  Uh, "They, the Jews, quraysh pagans, idolaters did not estimate Allah with an estimation due to him."  So very clearly they're making, the, the Qur'an makes the definition, sir.  I, I'm just reading you what's there.  Uh, got to take a break.  We'll be back.  CFRA. 

Caller Richard then directed Green to portions of the Christian Old Testament: 

Richard:            I, I looked back into the Old Testament in Deuteronomy.  In 13:7-11 it says that if you're asked to join another religion, you shall kill them.  You shall stone them to death.

 

Lowell:              Yeah, that's in the Old Testament.

 

Richard:            Yes.

 

Lowell:              Now, obviously that -

 

Richard:            Okay.

 

Lowell:              The Christ-, the founder of the Christian faith says no, don't do that.

 

Richard:            But why do we have it in our Christian Bible?  That they have that in there.

 

Lowell:              Well, because the Old Testament essentially is the history of the Jewish peoples and their beliefs.  The, we are Christians, we, this, you know, so our faith was founded with the birth of Jesus who very clearly says, look, that's not the way it should be.  It's love, forgiveness.

 

Richard:            But I have Bible-spouters comin' to me -

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Richard:            - who are spouting Old Testament to me.

 

Lowell:              Well, that's fine.

 

Richard:            And, and if they really bel-, I mean, you're talkin' about not bringing in Muslims because they believe this.  We should then not bring any, uh, fundamentalist Christians in who believe -

 

Lowell:              Well, sir -

 

Richard:            - in the Old Testament.

 

Lowell:              They, the problem is is that fundamentalist Christians are not suicide bombers these days.

 

Richard:            Well [chuckles], you got the one guy who's goin' out onto the, you know, he's maybe not a Christian in that sense, but -

 

Lowell:              No, but, but sir -

 

Richard:            - he's down on the ice -

 

Lowell:              No, but you're not, no, but you're dealing with this far too lightly.  I mean, the, the world is under attack.  They killed over 3000 people in New York.

 

Richard:            I think we got the third world war goin' right now.

 

Lowell:              But, sir, who is the war with?  It's not with fundamentalist Christians.

 

Richard:            But the fundamentalist Christians are part of the problem.  Because -

 

Lowell:              That, we're, we're not at war with fundamentalist Christians.

 

Richard:            We aren't, but the Muslims are.

 

Lowell:              Well, if they are it's because -

 

Richard:            The Muslims are in, in, in -

 

Lowell:              No.

 

Richard:            - full pursuit of the fundamentalist Christians -

 

Lowell:              No, sir, the Muslims are in full pursuit, uh, uh, radical Muslims are in full pursuit of even of their own people.  I mean, they're killing fellow Muslims.

 

Richard:            But I think that the reason they are is because you go back to the Crusades all, all told and what's going on today and it's the radical Christians that are causing the Muslims to do what they're doin'.

 

Lowell:              I don't believe it for a moment, sir. 

That call was followed by one from Roshdie who accused Green of misinterpreting the Qur'an.  Green spoke with Roshdie, but eventually cut him off to switch to caller Timothy: 

Roshdie:           I just wanted to tell you we, if you're going to do this, if you're going to open the Qur'an and start, uh, interpreting it on, on the air, the, the least you should do is to have with you someone, caller, that can really give you better understanding.  Because people who are calling you don't have enough knowledge.  And you don't really have even the, the, uh, the skills of talking on the air.  Like you -

 

Lowell:              Well, are you suggesting that, that everybody, including in the Muslim world, who reads this, uh, has the skills to interpret it, sir?

 

Roshdie:           No, but the, but actually -

 

Lowell:              But isn't that one of the problems?

 

Roshdie:           In controversial issues like this -

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.

 

Roshdie:           - we listen to this caller and this callers when they interpret these things -

 

Lowell:              Mm hm?

 

Roshdie:           They don't just -

 

Lowell:              Well, I don't see what's, I mean, they, the, the verses from the Qur'an, no one has attempted to interpret them.  We've just read them and taken them literally.

 

Roshdie:           No, it, it doesn't work that way.

 

Lowell:              Well, I'm sorry, sir.  If you, if you read a verse, that's what the verse says.

 

Roshdie:           I read it.  I read it and it doesn't tell me that.  It doesn't tell me that if you are a Muslim and you change your faith, you're going to be killed.  It doesn't tell me that.

 

Lowell:              Well, the Mus-, the, the Qur'an says that.

 

Roshdie:           No, it doesn't say that.

 

Lowell:              Well, of course it does.

 

Roshdie:           No.  That's, that's why, I mean, it's very dangerous to -

 

Lowell:              Well, how can you say it doesn't, sir?

 

Roshdie:           - [??] when it does not.

 

Lowell:              How can you say that it doesn't when it does?

 

Roshdie:           Because, actually, this, this war was the beginning of, of Islam.  The, the Muslim were actually the very weak and the very poor.  And they were very weak and they were, and God gives them, uh, permission to defend themselves.  That is the basis, that is the only permission to fight back.

 

Lowell:              But, sir, but sir -

 

Roshdie:           That's all.

 

Lowell:              But, sir, I, all I've done is read what the Qur'an itself says in that regard.

 

Roshdie:           The way they do it, sir, is they take, if you want to look at the issue if -

 

Lowell:              All right, let me read it to you again, sir.

 

Roshdie:           No, no, no.  I, I know what, what it is.

 

Lowell:              Well, don't, don't you -

 

Roshdie:           If you want us to take the issue -

 

Lowell:              What does it say?

 

Roshdie:           If you want to take the issue of [?], you have to get everything in, in the context.  All of the -

 

Lowell:              Sir, I'm reading the whole verse.  Quote, "They wish that you reject faith as they have rejected faith."

 

Roshdie:           Under what conditions did this happen?  Under what conditions?

 

Lowell:              "And thus, thus that you have all become equal like one another."

 

Roshdie:           Under what conditions?

 

Lowell:              "So take not protectors or friends from them 'til they emigrate in the way of Allah to Muhammad.  But if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them -"

 

Roshdie:           No, it doesn't say that.

 

Lowell:              "- and kill them -"

 

Roshdie:           It doesn't say -

 

Lowell:              "- wherever you find them and take neither protectors or friends nor helpers from them."

 

Roshdie:           When are you just going to keep going?  I'm reading it.  In fact, it doesn't, it doesn't mention the word Islam in Arabic at all.  It, it doesn't mention the Muhammad or, or Islam or being of a different faith or any of that stuff at all.

 

Lowell:              Well -

 

Roshdie:           It doesn't say that.  I must know.  I'm telling you that's -

 

Lowell:              Sir -

 

Roshdie:           - that's not my understanding.

 

Lowell:              Well, sir -

 

Roshdie:           And my understanding is the one that really counts.

 

Lowell:              Well, what is your, what is your understanding of that verse?

 

Roshdie:           My understanding, they are actually in the context of, of, of a war and you are gonna be wiped out.

 

Lowell:              Wh-, a war against whom?

 

Roshdie:           W-, war against the, the [?] people that lived at the time.

 

Lowell:              No, there was a war against, it's a war, it's a war against non-believers.

 

Roshdie:           No!  [??]

 

Lowell:              All right, so it's, so, so what, who -

 

Roshdie:           [??]

 

Lowell:              So whoever it is they are, they're in a war against, sir, does it not say "kill them if they leave the faith"?

 

Roshdie:           No, it doesn't say that.

 

Lowell:              Well what does it say?

 

Roshdie:           It doesn't say "leave the faith".

 

Lowell:              What does it say?

 

Roshdie:           Those, those are the people actually, they come to stop the, the spread of, of the word of God.  That's how to interpret it and sometimes they try to pick them by saying "we are Muslim" and stuff like that, and, but we are not.  So, it would be -

 

Lowell:              Then, sir, let me ask you this.  Roshdie?  Okay?

 

Roshdie:           Yeah?

 

Lowell:              Then, if in fact that's not what this chapter says, why is it that so many clerics in Afghanistan were adamant demanding that the man who, who switched from Muslim to Christian faith be killed?

 

Roshdie:           I don't [?].

 

Lowell:              But, sir, they're the imams.  These are the clerics.  You're, you're accusing me of not having experts.  Are not the clerics the experts?

 

Roshdie:           Not of, of, the Afghanistan -

 

Lowell:              You are, but they are not?

 

Roshdie:           [??]

 

Lowell:              You are, but they are not.

 

Roshdie:           And they are, they are, uh, uh, [?].  There are a lot of things that they are doing wrong.  Like go, for example, to the [?] and talk to them.  And, and you won't find any of them [??].

 

Lowell:              I, I hope not, sir.

 

Roshdie:           Okay.

 

Lowell:              But all I'm -

 

Roshdie:           Or, or the entire Eastern world -

 

Lowell:              Sir, let, would you, sir -

 

Roshdie:           [??]

 

Lowell:              Excuse me.  Excuse me.

 

Roshdie:           Yes?

 

Lowell:              We're running short of time.  Excuse me.  Is it not true -

 

Roshdie:           Mm hm?

 

Lowell:              - that there are many radical Muslims -

 

Roshdie:           Absolutely.

 

Lowell:              Excuse me.  Who are using verses like this as an excuse to kill?

 

Roshdie:           Yes.

 

Lowell:              Thank you, sir.  That's all the point I'm trying to make here.

 

Roshdie:           No, no -

 

Lowell:              Timothy, you're on CFRA.  Good morning.

 

[...]

 

Timothy:            I believe that, uh, [?] more than I believe, like, the New and Old Testaments are inspired by reading them literally and bigotedly.  But, if you go to, uh, if you have a Bible at home, it might be good to check out, uh, John 16. 

The final caller of that day's program was Asad: 

Asad:                Yes, sir.  The copy of the Qur'an you are reading -

 

Lowell:              Uh huh?

 

Asad:                - actually, there are not too many people, when they become educated, highly educated, they interpret the Qur'an their own way.

 

Lowell:              Mm hm.  Well, this was co-, this was interpreted by -

 

Asad:                [??] own way.  But I can tell you just -

 

Lowell:              Well, sir, before you go further -

 

Asad:                [??].

 

Lowell:              Stop the nonsense, okay?  This, excuse me, sir.  This, this, this is the, this is the interpretation that has been approved by King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, sir.  It's the official version that was done in 1420.

 

Asad:                Yes.  But I don't [??].  There is a different meaning, interpretations are there.  And you know the true followers, if you [?] the [?] of the Qur'an, you will think they are [?] copying of the Prophet.

 

Lowell:              Sir.  Fine.  Sir.

 

Asad:                [?] copy of the Prophet!

 

Lowell:              Sir.  Asad, is it not true that radical Muslims are using this as an excuse to kill?

 

Asad:                Yes.

 

Lowell:              That's what we're talking about, sir.

 

Asad:                They are, they are.  But they are not the believers Muslims.

 

Lowell:              Well, that -

 

Asad:                You know there are [?].  In every nation there are evil, there are non-believers.

 

Lowell:              So, sir, are you telling me that the clerics in Afghanistan, they are non-believers?

 

Asad:                Yes, they can be.