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Stifling Mark Steyn, part III: Fight back

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 19, 2007 09:20 AM

The lip-service free speech activists on the Left aren’t going to stand up for him, so it’s up to the rest of us (see here and here for background). Read Mark’s summary with links to the case documents at SteynOnline. Stanley Kurtz has been vigilant in raising awareness of the case (see here and here). Robert Spencer urges: “Stand by Steyn.” National Review publishes an editorial this morning on the continued efforts by jihadi-sympathizers and sharia thugs to stifle columnist/author Mark Steyn in the name of “human rights:”

Even if the human-rights commissions eventually rule for Steyn and Maclean’s, the proceedings will be costly, and will intimidate others who wish to express controversial views. To his great credit, one conservative Canadian cabinet minister, Jason Kenney, has spoken in defense of Steyn. Some of the Canadian press is coming to Steyn’s defense as well. We hope the chorus swells.

And we hope Americans raise their voices too. So far the U.S. media have paid little attention to the case, but it should matter to us. Steyn’s writings — even those in Canadian publications — have a large and influential American readership. We trust those readers prefer that Canada remain free.

The NYPost weighed in on Sunday:

Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone.”

The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean’s reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt” for Muslims.

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean’s advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada’s liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech.”

Of course, a ban on opinions – even disagreeable ones – is the very antithesis of the Western tradition of free speech and freedom of the press.

Indeed, this whole process of dragging Steyn and the magazine before two separate human-rights bodies for the “crime” of expressing an opinion is a good illustration of precisely what he was talking about.

If Maclean’s, Canada’s top-selling magazine, is found “guilty,” it could face financial or other penalties. And the affair could have a devastating impact on opinion journalism in Canada generally.

As it happens, Canadian human-rights commissions have already come down hard on those whose writings they dislike, like critics of gay rights.

Nor should Americans dismiss this campaign against Steyn and Maclean’s as merely another Canadian eccentricity. Speech cops in America, too, are forever attempting similar efforts – most visibly, on college campuses.

Support Mark: Do the job the ACLU won’t do.

***

I’ll repeat a suggestion I made before: Support his work–and stock up on last-minute Christmas gifts–by shopping at his bookstore.

Conservative Hipster has Support Steyn blog buttons.

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