10 December 2007

Targeting Mark Steyn

One of the most notable Canadian columnists, in my opinion, is Mark Steyn. His articles provoke thought – and many times laughter, however wry – about serious topics. His book, America Alone, is one to be read. I read it about a year ago and I think I ought to read it again, though this time I should look for some serious human rights abuses.

I say this after reading online that Mr. Steyn and Maclean’s (a Canadian magazine) have had complaints filed against them by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) – Steyn for his book, Maclean’s for reprinting an excerpt of it in October 2006. According to the article in Maclean’s, the CIC called the Steyn excerpt "flagrantly Islamophobic."

The pity here is that freedom of speech will be a casualty, no matter what the outcome of the hearing before the Canadian Human Right Commission. As David Warren, another great Canadian writer, points out, these commissions are more about the hearing than the outcome. Mr. Steyn and Maclean’s will be required to defend themselves against (gasp) claims of offense. The CIC wins by filing the complaint. Mr. Steyn and Maclean’s can, at best, hope for public support to rally behind them.

But really, the act of filing a complaint against offense is repugnantly offensive. Anyone offended by Steyn’s book does not have the mind to consider it on its merits; the offended person would be just as put off by cartoons, the naming of teddy bears and intellectual speeches by eminent theologians. The goal of these offended people is to silence.

If you choose to not be silent, if you want your voice to be heard (or at least have the potential to be heard), you can contact the Canadian Human Rights Commission here.

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