Government officials in Canada say that the reason a “Draw Mohammed” event in Ottawa was canceled last Wednesday was because it did not receive a permit – although organizers claimed that they had indeed received a police permit to hold the event on the steps of Parliament.
“Despite having received prior approval for this event from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Hill security last week, less than 24 hours before the event a bureaucrat from Canadian Heritage had called to inform me that this event is cancelled due to security concerns,” wrote one of the organizers. “Please do not come to try and exercise your freedom of speech in Canada – the bureaucrats have cancelled it.”
The event was similar to others that have been held in the U.S., where contestants vie for recognition for their portraits of the prophet of Islam. It was at just such an event that Texas police officers shot to death to terrorists who had opened fire on caricaturists on May 4th. The American Freedom Defense Initiative was hosting a contest that would award $10,000 for the best cartoon depicting the prophet. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack, saying that “We tell America that what is coming will be even bigger and more bitter, and that you will see the soldiers of the Islamic State do terrible things.”
According to the Department of Canadian Heritage, no permit was ever issued for the Canadian event last week. “The Committee bases its decision on the requester’s compliance with the rules and guidelines on use of the Hill, including security,” the department said. “All Canadians are welcome to use Parliament Hill to make their views known. However, this must be done within the framework of the rules established not only to preserve and protect this national institution, but also to protect the people who visit and use the site.”