The ETS bus ad about honor killing has snowballed into a huge controversy. It displayed the picture of a woman with slogan questioning whether the person has a fatwa on her head or she is forced to live under the Islamic honor code. The campaign was launched in Canada by the American Freedom Defense Initiative group located in New York. The objective of the group is to help women who are forced to follow the barbaric practices of Islam.
Islamic scholars complained about the ad to the city councilor Amarjeet Sohi and he forwarded the issue to the manager of Edmonton Transit. It was then pulled down from all the buses. The whole process seemed to be appeasing a particular community. John Carpay who is also a Calgary lawyer feels that the step to remove the ads was wrong as it masked the problem of honor killing among the migrants.
No matter what is the religion, every person has the right to freedom of expression. Refusing to believe that the women are suffering from the age old practice of honor killing is like brushing an issue under the carpet. Similarly removing everything offensive to a small section of the population is a direct impingement on the freedom of speech.
Pamela Geller, the head of American Freedom Defense Initiative was puzzled about the pulling down of the ads. Honor killing is pervasive among the migrants and it is a growing problem that needs to be addressed. Carpay has gone to the court with the complaint and hopes that after the win, the ads would be back on the bus.
American Freedom Defense Initiative is requesting the court to declare the action of removal in direct contravention of section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The section is related to the right to freedom of thoughts and beliefs.