Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ontario Thought Police: Maclean's mag "contributing to Islamophobia and promoting socieal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians"

Robert Spencer

This weaselly, mealy-mouthed statement from the Thought Police comes from April 9, but I just saw it today, and so although I don't usually post archived material, I believe it provides important background on what the Thought Police are thinking as they close in on free speech. "Commission Statement Concerning Issues Raised By Complaints Against Maclean's Magazine," from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, April 9 (thanks to Alan): In a recent decision, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) decided not to proceed with complaints filed against Maclean’s magazine related to an article “The future belongs to Islam”. The complainants alleged that the content of the magazine and Maclean’s refusal to provide space for a rebuttal violated their human rights.

Denying a service because of human rights grounds such as race or creed can form the basis for a human rights complaint. However, the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) does not give the Commission the jurisdiction to deal with the content of magazine articles through the complaints process.

It is good that they're not proceeding with the complaint. But they're doing it not because the complaints represent an attempt to quash freedom of speech and impose Sharia restrictions on the free West, but on narrow, weaselly jurisdictional grounds.

Nevertheless, the Commission has a broader mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario, forward the dignity and worth of every Ontarian and take steps to alleviate tension and conflict in the community, including by speaking out on events that are inconsistent with the spirit of the Code.

While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.

Truth, as Peter Worthington points out, is not a defense. If there are Sharia supremacists in Canada working to subjugate non-Muslims as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law, you must not speak about it! To do so could provoke "Islamophobia"!

The Commission intends to further consider these issues in the coming months as it embarks on its new mandate, which places a renewed emphasis on addressing human rights tension and conflict through inquiries, consultation, public education, policy development and constructive debate and dialogue. [...]

Yet while ignoring jihadism and Islamic supremacism, the Orwell Commission declares that we must acknowledge the existence of racism, which actually plays no part in the assertiveness of this supremacist Islamic ideology -- except as a vehicle to advance that ideology in the cowed and pusillanimous West:

The Commission has long emphasized that forms of racism exist in all of society’s institutions. In order to effectively respond to racism, it is necessary to clearly acknowledge its existence.

Racism exists in the media and the media has a significant role to play in either combating societal racism or refraining from communicating and reproducing it. Islamophobia is a form of racism that includes stereotypes, bias or acts of hostility towards Muslims and the viewing of Muslims as a greater security threat on an institutional, systemic and societal level.

The Commission is concerned that since the September 2001 attacks, Islamophobic attitudes are becoming more prevalent in society and Muslims are increasingly the target of intolerance, including an unwillingness to consider accommodating some of their religious beliefs and practices.

Maybe some people realize that there is always more Sharia to accommodate, and once you get into the habit of accommodation, there's no telling where you could stop -- unless you're willing to draw the line somewhere.

Unfortunately, the Maclean’s article, and others like it, are examples of this. By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West’, this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice towards Muslims and others. An extreme illustration of this is a “blog” discussion concerning the article that was brought to the attention of the Commission which, among many things, called for the mass killing, deportation or conversion of Muslim Canadians.

The "blog" discussion had nothing to do, of course, with Maclean's or Mark Steyn, and we have seen Islamic supremacists planting such comments here. But in any case, this is all nonsense. Even if Steyn's article did portray "Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West,’" which it did not, there is no doubt that some Muslims are a threat to the West, and are working to subvert it in the name of Islam. Can that be discussed in Canada at all, or would any broaching of it be ipso facto hate speech?

The Commission strongly condemns the targeting of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and indeed any racialized community by the media as being inconsistent with the values enshrined in the Code. The impact on a community both in terms of the intolerant messages being conveyed and the knowledge that society is willing to accept their dissemination is profound. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism has confirmed the role of the media in contributing to a sharp increase in Islamophobia and its acceptance as normal in ‘the West’. Further, the Commission’s 2003 report Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling illustrates the social cost of stereotyping to individuals, families, communities and Ontarians as a whole.

Here again: is it true? Is there an Islamic supremacist enterprise? Are there Islamic groups waging, in the words of a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum, "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions”?

If so, this must be discussed. And if "Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and indeed any racialized community" really stands against this enterprise, they should not fear or oppose such a discussion.

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