Thursday, April 19, 2007

Islamists Attack Canadian Journalist

A journalist for the Mississauga, Ont.-based newspaper The Pakistan Post was assaulted by two men, one armed with a cricket bat, who warned him to stop "writing against Islam" and a Pakistan-based religious organization, the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) reported Thursday.

Journalist Jawaad Faizi was attacked on the evening of April 17 while sitting in his car outside the home of the newspaper's editor, Amir Arain. The two men smashed the car windows, and repeatedly hit Faizi. They fled when they saw him call 911 on his cell phone.

During the attack, Faizi said, the men told him to stop writing critically of the religious organization Idara Minhaj-ul-Quran and its leader, Cleric Allama Tahir-Ul-Qadri. Allama Tahir-Ul-Qadri is a frequent visitor to Canada, CJFE said.

The attack followed telephoned threats to Faizi and Arain. The night before the attack, the two filed a complaint with the police, also reporting threats they received in January.

"That this attack happened here in Canada is of great concern to us," said CJFE Executive Director Anne Game. "We call on the police to treat this matter extremely seriously and ensure that a full investigation into the attack is initiated immediately."

Faizi had to be treated in the hospital for injuries to his left arm, and lost two days of work. Wednesday, the vice principal of the school his three children attend asked him to keep them at home, saying they may be a security risk, CJFE reported.

"I had so many problems back home [in Lahore, Pakistan] as a journalist, but I'm shocked that this is happening here," Faizi told CJFE.

"This is a cautionary tale for us, and points to the need for vigilance in the protection of press freedom not just in other countries, but in Canada as well," a statement from CJFE said.

Story here.

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