The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112062   Message #2377732
Posted By: pdq
30-Jun-08 - 04:50 PM
Thread Name: BS: Free speech, eh?
Subject: RE: BS: Free speech, eh?
Here is what this thread is actually about:

Free speech, eh? Why is Canada prosecuting Mark Steyn?

Last Updated: Friday, June 13, 2008 | 6:54 PM ET
By Neil Macdonald CBC News

The bookshop across the street from my office here in Washington is once again offering America Alone, Mark Steyn's 2006 polemic about the Muslim diaspora in the West. But it now carries this splash on the cover: "Soon to be banned in Canada."

Inside the latest edition, Steyn, a conservative New Hampshire-based columnist who writes regularly for a number of Canadian publications, advises the reader: "If you're browsing this in a Canadian bookstore, you may well be holding a bona fide 'hate crime' in your hand."

That is a bit of self-promotion, of course, designed to sell even more copies of a book that is already a New York Times bestseller. It also happens to be true.

Steyn, at the moment, is effectively being tried, by a quasi-judicial panel in Vancouver, for insulting Islam. Normally, that's the sort of proceeding you'd expect to hear about in Saudi Arabia or Iran, not the West. But the British Columbia Human Rights Commission, in the cause of protecting minorities, asserts its right to judge and even restrict speech.

Currently, it is hearing a complaint about Steyn's book from Mohamed Elmasry, head of the Canadian Islamic Congress. Elmasry is going after both Steyn and Maclean's magazine, which excerpted his book when it was published two years ago.
The complaint states that the article "discriminates against Muslims on the basis of their religion. It exposes Muslims to hatred and contempt due to their religion." Elmasry complains that Steyn's book tars entire Muslim communities as complicit in violent jihad.

In Canada, such a proceeding is evidently unremarkable. With the exception of Maclean's and the National Post, the two national outlets that Steyn writes for, coverage in the Canadian media has been notably limited.

Here in the U.S, though, where freedom of expression and the public right to know is taken very seriously, it is front-page news when an organ of government — a neighbouring Western government at that — hauls a journalist before its bar to judge his writings. ...{see link in initial post for whole story}