Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih donated $25,000 after a big win in a defamation lawsuit last year. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Ontario court fines Islamophobe zealot $2.5M

Share

Like a lot of other places, Canada is no stranger to anti-Muslim crusaders who fancy themselves ready to lead their fellow citizens into political battle.

One of them is a self-styled media personality and former candidate for mayor in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga named Kevin J. Johnston.

Johnston likely may have a better understanding today about just how much his ideas are worth.

In a decision released Monday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane Ferguson ordered him to pay a total of $2.5 million in damages for defamation to Mohamad Fakih, the founder and owner of a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants called Paramount Fine Foods.

In 2017 Johnston, who once had website called FreedomReport.ca,, and another man shot a series of videos outside a Paramount restaurant in Mississauga during a fundraising event for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision Monday against Kevin Johnston and FreedomReport.ca for defamatory statements against Mohamad Fakih and Paramount Fine Foods. (YouTube)

The videos–posted online–showed Paramount’s facade and a doctored photograph of Fakih with blood on his hands.

Johnston called Fakih an “economic terrorist” backed by the Pakistani spy agency.

He also alleged the chain barred staff from admitting anyone who wasn’t a “jihadist.”

Fakih sued.

Justice Ferguson wrote that when served with notice of the defamation suit, Johnston doubled down on his claims in a series of new videos, describing Fakih as a “radical Muslim” who “hates white people.”

Tensions further escalated in April 2018, she wrote, when Johnston allegedly approached Fakih while he was at a Mississauga shopping mall with his children,

Johnston briefly posted the encounter to his online platforms.

Justice Ferguson said Johnston’s words amounted to hate speech that called for particularly strong condemnation from the court.

Mohamad Fakih sued Kevin J. Johnston and his online publication, FreedomReport.ca, for a series of videos and online posts made beginning in July 2017 featuring false comments about him and his Paramount restaurant chain. On Monday a judge ordered Johnston to pay Fakim $2.5 million in damages. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

“In this fractious 21st century — where social media and the internet now allow some of the darkest forces in our society to achieve attention — (issues raised by the case) are numerous and profound, and their impact extends well beyond the borders of this country,” she wrote in her decision.

“Motivated by ignorance and a reckless regard for acceptable norms, the Johnston defendants’ behaviour reflects a contempt for Canada’s judicial process, an abuse of the very freedoms this country affords them and a loathsome example of hate speech at its worst.”

Justice Ferguson accepted Fakih’s contention that both his business interests and personal reputation were impacted by Johnston’s baseless claims and awarded Fakih damages based on his standing in the community, the seriousness of the defamatory statements, the extent of their publication, the lack of an apology from Johnston and the defendant’s conduct.

The other man who appeared in Johnston’s videos, Ron Banerjee, was originally named in the defamation suit.

The action against him was later dismissed after he issued an “unqualified apology” for his words and actions.

Following that ruling, Fakih donated $25,000  to an organization dedicated to monitoring and countering hate groups.

With files from CBC, CP, Global, CTV

Share
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Religion, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*