Under CANADA'S Saskatchewan's Human Rights Code, Hugh Owens of Regina, an evangelical Christian and corrections officer, was found guilty along with the newspaper Saskatoon StarPhoenix for publishing in 1997 an ad inciting hatred and was forced to pay damages of 1,500 Canadian dollars to each of three homosexual men who filed a complaint. The decision was upheld by a Canadian court in 2002
A ruling that essentially classified references to Bible verses on homosexuality as provocations of hatred was reversed yesterday by the highest court in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.  Sask. high court overturns human rights decision on anti gay ads The Canadian Press Published: Thursday, April 13, 2006  REGINA - Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled a Regina man did not violate the human rights code when he published a newspaper ad that criticized homosexuality.   In rejecting the decision of a human rights tribunal, the appeal court ruled that while Hugh Owens' ads were no doubt blunt and upsetting, they didn't violate the code.  Owens was charged after he saw newspaper ads publicizing gay pride week in 1997.  He then published his own ad in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, which featured passages from the Bible that appeared to condemn homosexuality  There was also a drawing of two stick men holding hands surrounded by a circle with a line drawn through it.  A human rights board of inquiry found he affronted the dignity of gays - a decision that was upheld by a Queen's Bench Justice in 2002, but has now been rejected by the high court. "


HYPOCRTICAL- The Comedy Central television network barred its popular "South Park" series from showing an image of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in last night's episode but allowed a scene in which an image of Jesus Christ defecates on President Bush and the American flag.  Earlier today, conservative weblogs speculated about whether the episode's reference to censorship was part of the edgy cartoon show's gag, but a Comedy Central spokesman told Stephen Spruiell of National Review's Media Blog the network itself made the decision to not show the image.  The network issued a statement, saying: "In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision."  April 13, 2006  5:54 p.m. Eastern

 World wide

Islamic laws restricting human rights, claim international reports  WASHINGTON: An uproar over the threatened execution of an Afghan man who converted from Islam to Christianity highlights a disturbing conflict between application of Islamic laws and protection of human rights in Asia and the Middle East, US experts say.  The case of Abdul Rahman, who narrowly escaped the death penalty in Afghanistan by fleeing to Italy, reflects a bigger trend of anti-conversion legislation curtailing rights of non-Muslim minorities, the experts told a US Congress-sponsored meeting.  Rahman, 41, was spirited out of Afghanistan on March 29 after a US-led Western furore over his trial under Shariah law which says that anyone who leaves Islam must be put to death unless they recant. Though state prosecution for conversion out of Islam is relatively rare in Muslim-majority countries, at least 14 such countries considered apostasy a crime, with Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania and Comoros making it punishable by death, said Nina Shea, director of global rights group Freedom House’s centre for religious freedom.

Lesser punishments are imposed in Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman and Qatar while some states deny civil rights to those viewed as apostates. Shea faulted the United States, which has extensive influence in Kabul, for the “fatal flaw” in the Afghanistan constitution that allowed prosecution of apostasy crimes.  After all, this is “the very constitution that the United States supported and guided and about which our officials heralded as ‘one of the most enlightened constitutions in the Islamic world,’” she said. “The implication of Rahman’s case is that it points out the unresolved tension in certain Muslim countries between the application of Islamic law and protection of human rights,” said Felice Gaer, vice chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.  She said it was an irony that Islamic nations which considered conversion a crime also vowed, as UN members, to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which “cleary affirm and protect” the freedom to change religions or beliefs.

International experts entrusted with the interpretation of freedom of religion have consistently affirmed that “the freedom to adopt a religion is the freedom to change religion,” Gaer said. Islamic law or principles are “a source of, or a limitation on, general legislation” in 15 of 44 predominantly Muslim countries studied by the commission, an independent body created by Congress to monitor religious freedom.  “In the vast majority of these cases, however, no constitutional guidance is given or how legislation should be assessed against Islamic principles, or how conflicts between Islamic principles and constitutional protections for human rights should be resolved,” Gaer said.

“The Rahman case is unfortunately only one example of a larger trend of anti-conversion and anti-blasphemy laws throughout Asia and the Middle East,” according to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which held the forum last week.

Religious minorities in mostly Islamic states are in a “precarious” position because laws there “do not provide adequate protection” to them, said the bipartisan caucus.  In addition to imposing criminal penalties, some Islamic states are accused of denying civil rights to those considered apostates, including dissolution of marriages, interference with child custody, inheritance and property decisions, as well as difficulties in obtaining crucial identity documents.

In Malaysia, for example, the courts have ruled that ethnic Malays could not renounce Islam at all because they were defined by the Federal Constitution to be persons of the Islamic faith, said Angela Wu of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.  One Malay Muslim woman who converted to Christianity was asked to apply to the Shariah court for permission to legally renounce Islam before she could change the Muslim designation on her national identification papers, she said. But Malaysian Shariah courts reportedly have never granted permission for a Malay Muslim to convert out of Islam and Wu said the Muslim designation had prevented the woman from marrying a Christian and placed other restrictions on her.  “I believe that punishing those converting out of Islam is absolutely unIslamic, absolutely illegal under Islamic law and unQuranic and contradicts the teaching of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in whose teachings we believe,” said Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain of Washington-based Georgetown University.

The Palestinian-American told the Congressional forum that “there is not a single verse in the Quran that talks about apostasy and that those who convert out of Islam should be killed.   “On the contrary five verses of the Quran say that those who convert out of Islam have the right to do so,” he said. AFP" 

Church forced to close by mob Despite constitutional guarantees, Indonesia law could ban Christian fellowship  Posted: April 11, 2006 1:00 a.m. Eastern  2006  Hundreds of radical Muslims who converged on a church filled with Christian worshippers in West Java on March 26, causing distress to many with their hostile demonstration, were convinced to disband only after police were called and the pastor of nine years agreed to close the church and cease all its Christian activities, reports the Voice of the Martyrs, a leading monitor of Christian persecution.    According to the report, a mob numbering around 200 came to the Church of Pentecost in Gunung Putri, Indonesia, during the Sunday morning service to protest the property being "misused" as a church building. The five-hour demonstration became so hostile, some of the women among the 190 congregants began crying hysterically.  Pastor Daniel Fekky was told by representatives of the Muslim mob, in a meeting arranged by police, the church would have to be closed based on a pending revision of the 1969 Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) which dealt with church buildings and government approval. The pastor was able to get the mob to leave only by agreeing to shut the doors to his church.  The revision, announced by the Religious Affairs Minister and the Home Minister, will need the signature of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono before coming into effect.  The revised regulations set three conditions before a church building can be built or a congregation legally established:  Proof of at least 90 existing members with official ID cards Signatures from 60 neighbors of different faiths approving of the establishment of the new Christian congregation Approval from local authorities Indonesian Christians say the new law will make it more difficult to open new churches, especially in rural, predominantly Muslim areas. They also point to already-established churches which have tried for years to get government approval, without success.  Article 29(b) of the Indonesian constitution guarantees Indonesian citizens the freedom to choose their own religion and to worship according to the dictates of that religion.  Pastor Daniel has led his church's services for nine years, but the residents of Gunung Putri and the local government did not protest his ministry until a year ago.  "If this church is closed down, where can my congregants and their children worship the Lord?" said the pastor

The  Islamic laws are falsely restricting human rights, AND DO OUR Canadian MPs such as Peter MacKay  PROTEST IT TOO? 
 (CBS) Although Americans believe they are better informed about Islam than they were five years ago, a new CBS News poll finds fewer than one in five say their impression of the religion is favorable. Forty-five percent of respondents queried April 6 - 9 said they have an unfavorable view of Islam, a rise from 36 percent in February. And the public’s impression of Islam has diminished even more compared with four years ago. In February 2002 – less than six months after the terrorist attacks of September 11 – the country was evenly divided in its impression of Islam.