I'm starring in one of those movies
You know, the one where only the maverick investigator knows something scary's going on
MARK STEYN | May 14, 2008 |
Many years ago, I proposed a feature to an editor about a new trend — as I recall, it was celebrities wearing cravats. I wanted us to be first with the big "The Cravat Is Back!" weekend pictorial. Anyway, she demanded to know the evidence for this trend. And I cited Ted Danson wearing one to the Emmys and Roger Moore wearing one to go snorkelling in Belize. Or possibly vice versa.
"And . . . ?" she said coldly.
"Er, what do you mean — 'and'?"
"Mark, Mark, Mark," she sighed. "How many years have you been in journalism? It takes three to make a trend." And she sent me away with a flea in my ear and an undertaking not to return until Prince Edward had been spotted wearing a cravat at a gala performance of Phantom of the Opera. Or vice versa. I'm making a general point here, so let's not get hung up on details.
Here's the thing: two years ago, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada took The Western Standard to the Alberta "human rights" commission for republishing the Danish Muhammad cartoons. A few months back, the Canadian Islamic Congress took Maclean's to the Canadian, Ontario and British Columbia "human rights" commissions for publishing an excerpt from my bestselling hate crime, America Alone. Last week, the Centre for Islamic Development took the Halifax Chronicle-Herald to the Nova Scotia "Human Rights" Commission for publishing an editorial cartoon of a, ah, person of an Islamic persuasion.
Have we got a trend yet?
This is the way it's going to be in Canada, this year, next year and beyond. A few days back I found myself on a TVOntario show with the three Osgoode Hall law students whom the media have promoted as the "complainants" in the suits against Maclean's. (They're not: Mohamed Elmasry, the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, is.) It was not the most agreeable of encounters, at least on camera. I believe the very last words of the show were me saying to my accusers "Wanna go to dinner?" and one of their number, Khurrum Awan, yelling back, "No!" But off-air the chit-chat went rather more pleasantly, and, in the course of it, Mr. Awan observed that Jews had availed themselves of the "human rights" commissions for years but it was only when the Muzzies decided they wanted a piece of the thought-police action that all these bigwigs started agitating for reining in the commissions and scrapping the relevant provisions of Canada's "human rights" code.
He has a kind of point. Which is why some of us consistently opposed the use of these commissions even when it was liberal Jews using them to hunt down the last three neo-Nazis in Saskatchewan. Yet, accepting that the principle is identical, there is a difference. For the most part, the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and the other beneficiaries of the "human rights" regime went after freaks and misfits on the fringes of society, folks too poor (in the majority of federal cases) even to afford legal representation. These prosecutions were unfair and reflected badly on Canada's justice system, but liberal proponents of an illiberal law justified it on the assumption that it would be confined to these peripheral figures nobody cared about. You can't blame Muslim groups for figuring that what's sauce for the infidel is sauce for the believer — and that, having bigger fish to fry, they're gonna need a lot more sauce.
The first three organizations taken by Jewish groups to the federal "human rights" commission were the Western Guard, the Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations and the Manitoba Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite their fearsome names, none of these clear and present dangers to the peaceable kingdom had an in-house legal department, or a spare thousand bucks to retain outside counsel, or indeed a buck-and-a-quarter for the bus ride to the hearing. By contrast, the Muslim lobby groups' first three fish are Canada's newest political magazine (The Western Standard, whose print edition has since ceased publication); Canada's oldest and biggest-selling newsweekly (Maclean's ); and the biggest daily newspaper in the Maritimes (the Halifax Chronicle-Herald). This is an entirely different scale of project. Muslim lobby groups have very shrewdly calculated that the "human rights" commissions are the quickest, cheapest and most coercive means of applying pressure to mainstream publications in order to put Islam beyond discussion — or at least beyond all but the most pink-marshmallow celebrate-diversity discussion.