Lawsuit against Benhabib: Muslim school in Montreal dismissed

The Muslim school, which pursued Djemila Benhabib libel, lost his case in Superior Court.

In a lengthy judgment of 43 pages made Tuesday, Judge Carole Hallée concludes that M me Benhabib has given his opinion on a controversial issue, without defamation.

The lawsuit involved an interview that Ms. Benhabib, columnist, author, speaker, blogger and feminist activist, was given to the facilitator Dutrissac Benoit, on the airwaves of 98.5 on 8 February 2012. It had criticized the teaching Islamic delivered to the Muslim school in Montreal. They teach the suras, it is inappropriate for young children, because it is about “violent, sexually explicit and discriminatory.”

Moreover, students are veiled and girls are separated from boys for some activities. She felt that there was teaching values ​​far from those of Quebec society. She was among others compared it to a “indoctrination worthy of a military camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan.” She held further about that shocked the Muslim School.

In the process, Muslim School decided to continue Ms. Benhabib. This is M e Julius Gray, better known as a defender of freedom of expression, who piloted his appeal that Ms. Benhabib interpreted as a continuation gag. The trial was held in September.

Ms. Benhabib describes his career and expressed its views. Ahmed Khebir, the school representative, said for his part he was horrified and humiliated by the remarks. He argued that parents and students had suffered, and that enrollment had declined thereafter. The judge concluded that the evidence did not support their statements and that there was no damage to the reputation of the school.

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“A reasonable person would not conclude that the remarks made on air by Djemila Benhabib are diffamatoires.Cette person would understand that it is expressed in good faith his honest opinion and sincere belief, it is free to share or not,” notes Hallée the judge, dan ssa decision.

“Clearly Djemila Benhabib has not acted intentionally within the meaning of the law, prosecute the judge. It merely accepted an invitation to participate in a radio show, as she used to do in order to discuss and debate on issues which it dedicates his professional life. ”

Ms. Benhabib, who is currently in Europe, is happy with the decision, said his lawyer, Marc-André Nadon. “She has the feeling that justice has been done. This is an important judgment, which advances the rights to freedom of expression. ”

M e Julius Gray was not immediately available for comment.

“Djemila Benhabib tackled the educational choices, dogma, but no one is paris to children attending the EMM. She was found on the school website, the suras were taught to elementary school children. It was the same for the veil. She expressed her opinion. ”

From the judgment
“The wearing of the veil and the Quranic memorization at the primary teaching are certainly of public interest justifying a freedom of expression. These are topics that raise a debate in our society and we must allow everyone to express themselves as freely as possible on these issues. ”

From the judgment

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