The Toronto Star – April 4, 2012
Two ads that have drawn public complaints because of their religious messages will continue to run on the TTC. One ad for the Walk-in Islamic Info-centre has offended some because it states, “There is no god but Allah.” The other is a bus stop ad that counsels prayer as the answer to a child’s abusive domestic circumstance.
“There is nothing that violates any of our policies, and we do have policies around our advertising (based on) the Ontario Human Rights Code, not promoting hate or violence,” said TTC spokesman Brad Ross. “You don’t have to agree with the message, you don’t have to like the message of the advertiser. Our suggestion would be that if somebody takes issue with the ad they take it up with the advertiser,” he said.
Canadian law students Muneeza, Sheikh, Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan and Ali Ahmed, and CIC (Canadian Islamic Congress) president, Dr. Mohamed Elmasry both filed complaints to the Ontario Human Rights Commission about an article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” (an except from Mark Steyn’s American Alone: THE End of the World as We Know It) appearing in Maclean’s Magazine, a weekly current affairs publication, in October 2006. The article suggested that Muslims pose a threat to North American life. While the Commission stated that this “media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Canadians,” it announced that it will not proceed with legal action. In Ontario, magazines are not covered under the Human Rights Code. Related complaints against Maclean’s have been filed with the British Columbia and Federal Human Rights Commissions. Its code covers publications. Hearings have been scheduled before the BC Commission from June 2-6, 2008 under s. 7(1) of the BC Human Rights Code, which prohibits publications that subject identifiable communities to hate. The Federal Commission is currently in the process of investigating similar complaints.