Steyn Article

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In rebuttal: Squashing debate like mosquitoes

Mark Steyn, For the Calgary Herald

Published: Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Naseem Mithoowani, Khurrum Awan, Muneeza Sheikh and Daniel Simard write that “some clarifications are in order” re: The Calgary Herald’s coverage of their complaint to at least three of Canada’s many “human rights” commissions about an excerpt from my book, America Alone, published by Maclean’s.

So, in that spirit, let me clarify one point of their column,”Debate denied over Maclean’s Muslim article,” which ran Saturday. They cite the following quote as an “extract from Steyn’s article”: “The number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.”

That line certainly appears in my text, but they’re not my words. Rather, they were said by a prominent Scandinavian Muslim, Mullah Krekar, to a respectable Norwegian newspaper. The imam was boasting at how Islam would outbreed Europe: “We’re the ones who will change you . . . Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children.”

This is the nub of Messrs Mithoowani, Awan, Sheikh and Simard’s complaints against Maclean’s: They’re objecting to a Canadian magazine quoting accurately the statements of leading Muslims. And at least two of Canada’s “human rights” commissions, to their shame, have accepted their absurd proposition that accurately quoting leading Muslims is somehow “Islamophobic.”

The complainants were not “denied debate.” They could — as many Maclean’s readers (infidel and Muslim alike) did on the letters page — have had all the debate they wanted in the weeks after the article appeared. Instead, they waited five months before going in to see Maclean’s editors, which is only marginally less ridiculous than me wandering in and demanding a right of reply to the Calgary Herald’s rotogravure special on the Relief of Mafeking. They then demanded, among other ludicrous conditions, money for their “cause.”

They and their friends at the Canadian Islamic Congress are seemingly not interested in stimulating debate, but only in shutting it down, by making it more trouble than it’s worth for editors to run articles on one of the central questions of the age: Islam’s relationship with a dying West. In using quasi-judicial coercion to squash debate, they make one of the central points of my argument — that a proportion of Islam is inimical to western traditions of freedom — more eloquently than I ever could.

It is puzzling to me, even granted the cobwebbed modishness of these misbegotten creations of the Trudeaupian Seventies, why the Canadian and British Columbia “Human Rights” Commissions regard it as within their jurisdiction to regulate the editorial decisions of privately owned magazines. But any Canadian interested in freedom of expression should be deeply concerned by the commissions’ willingness to hear this “case.”

Mark Steyn is a syndicated columnist and author of the best-selling book, America Alone. Excerpts from his book, which were published in Maclean’s, are now the subject of two human rights complaints lodged by the four men whose column on this issue was published Saturday.

Comments

  • Mike Savant  On February 4, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I think many people do not understand why a complaint was filed against Macleans Magazine. The following YouTube link provides an interview from Khurrum Awan *himself* on the Mike Duffy Live Show explaining the facts.

  • Nick Milne  On March 23, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    First, I’ll admit that the following takes some liberties with both the arguments at stake and the things that have actually been said, not to mention the HRC’s response to the whole deal, which is too stupid to be poetic anyway (thus the highly fanciful envoi at the poem’s end). Because we live in the country in which we do, what’s more, I should say at once that the words here “attributed” to Messrs. Levant and Steyn are in no way actually and literally being attributed to them, but are rather versified paraphrases of things they have or might have said.

    Also, I know that the last word of the seventh line of the first stanza doesn’t really rhyme with the rest of it properly; you’re welcome to try to write some manly and coherent alternative that ends with “pearled,” “curled,” “twirled” or “swirled,” then, and get back to me.

    Ballade on the Imprudent Utterances of Two Gentlemen

    Said Ezra: “Well, it’s newsworthy, for one;
    People are dying all around the world.
    To what was meant for freedom, and for fun,
    These killers flock as to a flag unfurled.
    But more than this, such grim invective hurled
    By foaming imams at unfettered speech
    Confirms what I have long and always held:
    That thoughts and words should lie beyond their reach.”

    Said Mark: “Of all the subjects of the age,
    The long, slow western suicide is one
    That should, with Islam’s worldwide rise, engage
    The minds of all who toil beneath the sun.
    When imams say their battle’s just begun,
    When pundits milquetoast tolerance beseech,
    It’s vital, then, when all is said and done,
    That thoughts and words should lie beyond their reach.”

    But no: “That’s only your opinion, sirs;
    We live in a plural society,
    Where those whose ideas differ much from yours
    Can drag you here, before this HRC,
    And, laying out their grievances for free,
    Suborn you to their feelings, each by each.
    And all this done, how then, sirs, could it be
    That thoughts and words could lie beyond our reach?”

    Dear sirs, you have but thirty days to close
    Your mouths, or failing that, perchance, to reach
    Some amicable settlement with those
    Who’d have your thoughts and words within their reach.

  • Nick Milne  On March 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Okay, so, I had two tabs open and I posted in the wrong one. I’ll put it in the right one now. Please disregard.

    shit :-/

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