Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Maple Leaf Stasi

Via a tip from Reader, I've been reading the indictment of Mark Steyn, and the magazine that published him, in Canada for "Islamophobia." The story's been fairly well documented in the blogs, but if you haven't read the actual allegation, take the time to do so.

I especially wish our neo-progressive friends could read it, all the while changing, say, "Muslim" to "Christian" in their minds every time they encounter the word. I doubt many will. But perhaps even a bigoted partisan can feel the ice from an attempt to silence a magazine because a writer seems to believe "Oriana Fallaci is really a fearless and heroic figure who is being harassed by law enforcement for no good reason."

This is a woman who took up a gun and fought fascists in her teens; worked as a war correspondent in Vietnam; and was shot, dragged down stairs by the hair, and left for dead by Mexican armed forces during the 1968 riots. She was one of the only journalists of any gender who ever busted Henry Kissinger's balls in an interview. So go and dismiss her bravery and earn my further contempt. Not that you care. As a writer and an infidel, I already am your sworn enemy, as you are mine.

I don't care who you vote for, reader. I don't care what faith you have, or none. If you are a "reader," that is common ground enough between us. Read this report, and take a stand.

I never want to hear from a Canadian again about America's "fascism" and "repression." Just like I never want to hear from a European about our support of Israel (a nation made necessary by Europe's incurable taste for pogroms).

Here's the short list of the transgressions:

It is submitted that Macleans’ publications vis-à-vis the Muslim community are: (1) promoting Islamophobia and fear of Muslims; (2) representing Muslims as violent people who are prone to engage in violence and are incapable of living peacefully in their host societies; (3) casting suspicion on Muslims at large as potential terrorists, extremists, and radicals; (4) representing the presence and growth of Muslims in Western societies as a threat to the Western values of democracy, freedom, and human rights; (5) Attempting to import a racist discourse and language into mainstream discourse in Canadian society; (6) Attacking multiculturalism and religious freedoms; (7) attacking laws that provide protection to identifiable communities from the type of discriminatory journalism that Macleans is engaging in; (8) condemning any and all efforts by politicians, law enforcement, media and other institutions to reach out to Muslim communities and to exercise sensitivity.

Here are some of the details on #5, "Attempting to import a racist discourse and language into mainstream discourse in Canadian society." This consists of "the publication of alleged statements of facts and generalizations about Muslims which can only be described as racist and xenophobic" and of "an attempt to promote the work of writers and 'intellectuals' broadly recognized as promoting hatred and Islamophobia."

Among the evidences for this sin are these:

  • The assertion that Muslims utilize useful products imported from the West while providing only extremism and terrorism in return.

  • The assertion that Canadian Muslims have a culture and “community of religion” in which they hand over their children to radical imams so that they may be radicalized.

  • The assertion that Muslims are prone to going berserk, that a Muslim mob is one of the easiest things to ignite, and that Muslims are prone to rioting.

  • A recognized Islamophobe (Oriana Fallaci), broadly recognized by several European countries and global institutions as a promoter of hate and racism against European Muslims, is depicted as a heroic figure who is trying to save Europe from an impending Muslim takeover and whose views need to be paid attention to by Canadians.

  • Recognized Islamophobes such as Robert Ferrigno, Bruce Bawer, and Claire Berlinski are accorded broad coverage. The credentials and qualifications of these individuals are praised in order to convey their racist views as fact and truth and in order to provide them the guise of legitimacy.

In other words, if you should even suspect any of those statements may be broadly true, you had better zip your lip when you cross our northern border. Just nod politely and explain you have no opinions that are worthy of suspicion.

Note particularly the last two. Muslims went gunning for Fallaci in Europe's courts, while she died a Cassandra, defending the exceptional dignity of the West and decrying what she saw happening in Europe. Once they succeed in getting some spineless judge to affix the "Islamophobe" label to her there, they will carry that to Canada and used to muzzle anyone who praises her work.

With Bawer and the other two, the equation is reversed, since the muzzlers have got the label in place first, before most people have heard of these writers. There, they can play the defensive game. "We've called these people Islamophobes, therefore any attempt to promote their writing or define them as anything but Islamophobes is itself Islamophobia."

Here, by the way, is the latest from the "Islamophobe" Bawer:

One familiar response is: “Well, non-Muslims beat up gays, too!” Yep – indeed they do. Yet for a while there, in much of Western Europe, homosexuality was on its way to being a non-issue. In Amsterdam in the late 1990s, I was delightfully surprised to discover that when groups of straight teenage boys passed gay couples in the streets, they just walked past without any reaction whatsoever. The sight of gay people didn’t upset, threaten, amuse, or confuse them; the familiar, insecure urge to respond to open homosexuality with some kind of distancing, disdainful word or gesture – and thereby affirm to one another, and to themselves, their own heterosexual credentials – was simply not part of those kids’ makeup. For me, it was a remarkable experience. Amsterdam then seemed to me the leading edge of a new wave in the progress of human civilization.

Alas, it is now very clearly the opposite. The number of reported gay-bashings in Amsterdam now climbs steadily year by year. Nearly half Muslim, the city is a front in the struggle between democracy and sharia, under which, lest it be forgotten, homosexuality can be a capital offense. Things have gotten so bad there that even on the part of the exceedingly politically correct, there has been a degree of acknowledgment that something has changed, and is still changing. After a group of Amsterdam Muslims beat up Chris Crain, the six-foot-five editor of the gay newspaper The Washington Blade, in May 2005, the head of the Netherlands’ leading gay-rights organization admitted that tolerance of gay people in that city was “slipping away like sand through the fingers” and that “gays and lesbians are less willing to walk hand-in-hand because they might be beaten up.”

Does that sound like an Islamophobe? Or does it sound like a gay man who wishes to live in peace and security in Europe, where he's chosen to make his home amid traditionally tolerant peoples?

Indictment #6 particularly interests me: "Attacking multiculturalism and religious freedoms." Perhaps because I'm a knuckle-dragging American, I fail to see how a modern elitist social philosophy -- multiculturalism -- ranks as equal with a natural right. Canadians are so much more advanced than me, so maybe they can explain it.

Here is the alleged crime: "A central theme of these articles is the message that multiculturalism and its social impact is facilitating a Muslim takeover of Western societies and threatening national security and Western values."

Specifically, that includes:

  • The assertion that social democratic states are susceptible to being taken over by Muslims as a result of their social democratic policies. ...

  • The assertion that a policy of multiculturalism is incapable of making Muslims citizens in the West loyal to their countries of citizenship and that it encourages Muslims to join the “Jihad” being waged by Muslims to takeover the world including the West.

  • The allegation that a growing Muslim population in Western countries facilitates the propagation of the Muslim “Jihad” against the West.

  • The allegation that Western values are under threat due to the accommodation of the religious practices and rituals of Muslims at universities and other public places.

  • The allegation that the promotion of multiculturalism in Canadian schools and universities is permitting “propaganda” to be taught, and is facilitating the Muslim takeover of Canadian society.

"Asserting" and "alleging." None of these is a statement of an activist policy or an incitement to any specific action. It is the mere observing and recording of such statements about the world as it is, or as it seems to be, that is verboten.

Also on the list are allegedly Islamophobic statements that actually are plot elements of a book of speculative fiction by Ferrigno, reviewed by Steyn. Yes, retelling the plot of a novel in a book review is now not only lazy reviewing, it's a potentially costly thought crime.

But the capstone on the whole satanic temple has to be #7: "Attacking laws that provide protection to identifiable communities from discriminatory journalism."

A prominent feature of these articles is a consistent attack on human rights codes and other laws that are meant to protect Muslims and other identifiable groups from the kind of discriminatory material being published by Maclean’s and that provides Muslims and other groups the means to seek a legal remedy when they are subjected to such discriminatory publications.

If you object to being muzzled by the state, that defines you as an enemy of the state who deserves to be muzzled.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission, one of the government bureaucracies weighing Steyn's fate, has considerable, if vague powers:

The Commission investigates complaints, attempts to facilitate a resolution between the parties if appropriate and refers matters for which a resolution cannot be found to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal which holds hearings and hands down rulings. Where appropriate, the CHRC may a prosecutorial role in Canadian Human Rights Tribunal much like a Crown Attorney.

And as Ezra Levant, who is caught in its webs and for the same reasons, notes, the process is the punishment:

Even if I was eventually acquitted, I would still lose — hundreds of hours, and tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills. That's not an accident, that's one of the tools of these commissions. Every journalist in the country has been taught a lesson: Censor yourself now, or be put through a costly wringer.

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