Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Human rights case against Maclean's not proceeding, but it's not happy about it

Maclean's magazine has expressed itself relieved that a case filed against it at the Ontario Human Rights Commission will not be proceeding; but it objects strenuously to the language used in issuing the ruling.

The complaints concerned an article in its October 2006 issue titled "The Future Belongs to Islam", which was an excerpt from columnist Mark Steyn's book "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Complaints were submitted to Human Rights Commissions in B.C. and Ontario in November 2006 on the grounds that "the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt," according to a CIC press release at the time. In the release, the Canadian Islamic Congress labelled Steyn's article as "flagrantly Islamophobic."

The commission decision means there will not be a hearing before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. But the OHRC made some specific comments that the magazine rejects in a terse press release issued on Wednesday:
The suggestion that Maclean's is in any way biased against a particular community is false. Maclean's will be responding to these comments in more detail in the near future. [The release was issued on the eve of the magazine's weekly deadline.]
It's not altogether clear what specifics Maclean's objects to in the OHRC statement, but it might well be the following:
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.
Or this:
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.

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the CIC? The acronym doesn't match any of the groups spelled out in the posting.

8:34 am  
Blogger D. B. Scott said...

Canadian Islamic Congress

9:35 am  
Blogger Blazingcatfur said...

The HRC's, what a racket.

10:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the purpose of the case be to determine if, in fact, the Mclean's article is Islamophobic and whether it did cause serious harm to "both to the targeted communities and society as a whole," and whether Mclean's is an "institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions"?

By making these statements, is the OHRC not guilty of making a judgement without a trial? Is it not guilty of making defamatory comments, leaving the OHRC open to a libel case?

12:30 pm  

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