The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Steyn Cleared by Canadian National "Human Rights" Commission
Great news for free speech fans that likely won't get reported much of anywhere outside the rightosphere: the national Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has declined to prosecute a "hate speech" allegation against columnist and author Mark Steyn and the magazine Maclean's.Read the rest here.
The allegation, brought against Steyn as part of an effort by the Canadian Islamic Congress (that country's resident apologists for radical Islam comparable to CAIR here) to use the government to censor critics of Islam, was the second of three motions before three separate bodies to be dismissed. Steyn still awaits the decision of the British Columbia provincial commission.
Also--don't miss this commentary on the state of "free speech" in Canada--from Canadian columnist Christie Blatchford, who has been covering several Canadian Islamist terror trials (emphasis mine):
Welcome to Orwellia...
A couple of nights ago, I found myself in discussion about what I will call the jihadi trials going on in Canada at the moment - one the trial of a youth charged in the Toronto 18 case, the other the case of Momin Khawaja in Ottawa.
I'd spent three days on the Khawaja case and several weeks immediately before it writing about the Brampton case.
I was pretty weary of being surrounded by hatred, which is what lies behind the criminal charges in both cases. ...
Anyway, while waiting for my flight home at the Ottawa airport, I was on my cell talking to my pal Rosie DiManno, the gritty Toronto Star columnist just returned from another trip to Afghanistan, where she travelled the country all on her own but for a young interpreter.
We were meant to figure out the guest list for an upcoming party, but she said, "That's a great trial you've got going there," and off we went, soon discussing our shared frustration with those who persist in believing that youthful goofiness or general haplessness are incompatible with terrorist aims and missions. They never have been with ordinary criminals - that's why most of them get caught most of the time - so why would it be any different with terrorist criminals?
To illustrate this, Rosie mentioned a book she was reading which notes that two of those wanted in the Oct. 12, 2000, attack by an al-Qaeda cell on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden are also wanted in an earlier unsuccessful attempt to blow up the USS The Sullivans in the same harbour, an attack averted only because the thugs - oh, those goofy kids! - overloaded their small boat such that it sank.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice indictment, Jamal Ahmed Mohammed Ali al-Badawi and Fahd al-Quso were among those who allegedly salvaged their explosives, regrouped, built a better boat - and eureka, less than nine months later, pulled alongside the USS Cole and blew a 40-foot hole in its hull, killing 17 sailors.
In the same vein, I told Rosie about some evidence at the Khawaja trial, particularly the testimony of a key witness, himself a convicted al-Qaeda operative, about the loose connections between the Khawaja group and others who had succeeded - one was a London Tube bomber, and two unnamed others were described as completed a mission in Israel, presumably a suicide bombing.
It was at that point that the Air Canada clerk at Gate 27 approached me.
"Excuse me," he said, "you can't say those words. Those words are illegal."
"What words?" I asked, bewildered, given that by then I'd said probably 2,000 words.
"Suicide bombing," he whispered.
Now, I know of course one is not to make jokes or threats about bombs at airports, and properly so. But I hadn't been doing that, rather recounting some of the public evidence heard that day at a public trial in the nation's capital.
"That's not illegal," I snapped, barely restraining myself from adding "You ninny." Besides, I told him, I was a reporter telling another reporter about my work day, which was true enough.
"Do you want me to call security?" he asked primly. "I'm supposed to call security in these situations."
"You do what you like," I said, talked to Rose a bit longer, then sat down and resumed reading my book.
About 10 minutes later, a fellow passenger warned me that she thought the clerk had called security. I couldn't believe it, and kept reading, and sure enough, within a few minutes, a young woman with a walkie-talkie in her hands (I guess so if I suddenly turned into a human missile she could call for help) asked to speak to me. She'd had a report about "an incident," she said. So I told her through gritted teeth what had happened, she magnanimously agreed it was "not illegal" to say what I'd said, apologized and went on her way.
When we boarded a little later, I asked for the ninny's name. He refused and hissed, "If you make a scene, I'll call the pilot and you won't be flying tonight."
I was so very tempted to tell him to go ahead, but I knew he probably would do it and I wanted badly to get home, so held my tongue. I was quietly praising myself for my steely calm when another passenger remarked, "I didn't know you were an anarchist, Christie."
The book I was reading that night, and for the past week, is Mark Steyn's America Alone (The End of the World as We Know It). It is an excerpt from this book - equal parts wildly funny and alarming - which appeared in Maclean's magazine two years ago and sparked a rash of complaints to human-rights commissions from coast to coast to coast, as they like to say on the CBC.
The general complaint is that Mr. Steyn, a Canadian who lives in the States, is spreading hate and contributing to "Islamaphobia" by taking note of A) the falling birth rates of most Western nations, except for their Muslim populations, B) the increasing spread of Islamic-inspired violence, including the homegrown sort, in the world and C) making the link between them to suggest the West is under attack - oh, and D) aiding and abetting the attacker with the exquisite sensitivities of multicultural politics.
I think that's it in a nutshell, and suddenly, I felt I was smack in the midst of Mr. Steyn's description of our silly world, "where you need retinal-scan ID in order to rent Mary Poppins but you're liable for prosecution if you express your feelings too strongly after the next bombing." Or, in my case, merely say the words aloud.
I am off for a bit of a break, and no, I shall not be memorizing Koranic passages during my holiday.