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Another threat to freedom of speech in the Anglosphere

“I don't accept that free-born Canadian citizens require the permission of the Canadian state to read my columns,” writes Mark Steyn in the Canadian magazine Maclean's. Steyn, whose brilliant commentary we have quoted, is being hauled with Maclean’s in front of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions on the charge of “Islamophobia”, in part because he quoted a disagreeable comment made by a Muslim imam in Norway.

If that sounds like Alice in Wonderland, you are right. The imam gets to talk, but you and I and Steyn are supposed to shut up. We regret to add that it is the Canadian Islam Congress that is bringing the charges. The Human Rights Commissions are supporting their efforts to attack freedom of speech in Canada.

Isn’t freedom of speech a basic human right in Canada? And isn’t it considerably more important than the right not to be offended? And if we are going to say that certain things cannot be discussed, where are we going to draw the line? And who is going to decide? And how healthy will it be when men and women in our countries can no longer freely discuss issues and express their views? What unseen, negative effects will this have on enquiry in other fields and in our respect for each other?

The imam said -

'We're the ones who will change you,' the Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. 'Just look at the development within Europe where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children.'

Steyn points out that Muslim efforts to prevent discussion have already succeeded in publishers imposing self-censorship in Australia and in Britain, where “editors insist books are vacuumed of anything likely to attract the eye of wealthy Saudis adept at using the English legal system to silence their critics”. One Saudi billionaire has successfully brought at least five lawsuits against authors, both British and American.

Freedom of speech in Britain was won at terrific cost by people such as Daniel Defoe. We'll describe Defoe's tumultuous experiences with censors, and the liberties he helped to win in a future post.

To support freedom of speech, you could take out a subscription to Maclean's.