A free Dominion
Sunday, 09 December 2007
David Warren gets to the nub of it in today's Ottawa Citizen:
For more than twenty years, in this column and elsewhere, I have been writing against the human rights commissions, which have quasi-legal powers that should be offensive to the citizens of any free country. They are kangaroo courts, in which the defendant's right to due process is withdrawn. They reach judgements on the basis of no fixed law. Moreover, “the process is the punishment” in these star chambers -- for simply by agreeing to hear a case, they tie up the defendant in bureaucracy and paperwork, and bleed him for the cost of lawyers, while the person who brings the complaint, however frivolous, stands to lose nothing.
My hope is that this case against Mark Steyn and Maclean's will be fruitful. It will be, if it inspires enough people -- especially journalists, of all political persuasions -- to express outrage at what has been done; and inspires Canada's free citizens into the necessary political action to put an end to the human rights commissions themselves.
Speaking of which:
To: The Parliaments of Canada and all Provinces and Territories
A Free Dominion
We, the undersigned Canadians, declare our firm and unequivocal support for free speech. We categorically reject any effort on the part of the government or any of its organs to limit free expression of opinion...
From deep in the wreckage of Jim Henley's shattered blog post, Kathy Shaidle uncovers a comment worth preserving:
I am sick and tired of white liberals apologizing for the subhuman filth that has degraded my beautiful religion. The Islam that I practice stresses self-discipline and tolerance for one’s neighbors. I have fought the Wahhabi scum in both Afghanistan and Iraq and will be going back to Iraq soon to finish the job. I personally find it pathetic to find that I am fighting in Iraq to give Iraqis a right to free speech, while Canada seeks to chill legitimate political discourse.
It's hard to expect "moderate Muslims" to speak out when the broader "moderate" community sounds like Jim Henley.
The plaintiffs respond
Saturday, 08 December 2007
Muneeza Sheikh, Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan, Daniel Simard and Ali Ahmed, the law students who claim their "human rights" have been breached by Maclean's have a letter in today's Globe & Mail:
Margaret Wente says law students like us should be concerned about free speech (So Who's Fuelling The Prejudice? - Dec. 6). She's right! Which is why when Maclean's published the Mark Steyn article The Future Belongs to Islam last year, we met its editors and asked that they publish a response to its Islamophobic content from a mutually acceptable author, from inside or outside the Muslim community. The intention was to engage Mr. Steyn about his views on Muslims.
Maclean's said it would rather go bankrupt than publish any response - hence, our human-rights complaints. The issue is whether minority communities have the right to be part of the free speech that directly relates to them and not to be excluded. Our research indicates Maclean's published 18 articles with similar Islamophobic content between January of 2005 and July of 2007. How many articles have been published in response by mainstream Muslim organizations? None.
The irony is, if we had responded to the Steyn article by throwing rocks at the offices of Maclean's, we would have heard: If only Muslims would use the avenues available in a free and democratic society to engage in civilized debate. When we do, Canada's largest newsmagazine says it would rather go bankrupt and right-wing journalists wail about law students asserting their rights as citizens of a free and democratic society.
The publisher and editor-in-chief of Maclean's is Ken Whyte. His version of events is a little different:
The student lawyers in question came to us five months after the story ran. They asked for an opportunity to respond. We said that we had already run many responses to the article in our letters section, but that we would consider a reasonable request. They wanted a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, to run without any editing by us, except for spelling and grammar. They also wanted to place their response on the cover and to art direct it themselves.We told them we didn't consider that a reasonable request for response. When they insisted, I told them I would rather go bankrupt than let somebody from outside of our operations dictate the content of the magazine. I still feel that way.
Why did the "victims" wait five months before demanding a right of reply? By that time, Maclean's had already published 27 responses to the story - more than on any other Maclean's cover story.
A sporting offer
Friday, 07 December 2007
Ali Eteraz asks whether you can be "pro-Muslim and also pro-speech", and then makes an offer to the Canadian Islamic Congress:
Why don’t they just go publish their rebuttal elsewhere? In fact, if they are willing to drop their Human Rights complaint I will help them get published in The Guardian.
"Toothless Canada borrows crescent fangs"
Friday, 07 December 2007
Abe Greenwald thinks Maclean's and I are going to have our work cut out winning in British Columbia. This point struck a chord:
This is from “The Future Belongs to Islam”:
In a few years, as millions of Muslim teenagers are entering their voting booths, some European countries will not be living formally under sharia, but -- as much as parts of Nigeria, they will have reached an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the "tolerance" of pluralist societies.
So, is that “flagrant Islamophobia” or a tragically prescient summation of the predicament in which Steyn now finds himself (sooner than “in a few years” I may add)? In fact, this case is more than a potential misstep for Canadian lawmakers; it’s also an example of “tolerant” Europe’s ability to team up with “tolerant” Canada and “tolerantly” force Canadians to be more “tolerant.”