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Will Canadian Muslim Lawyers Drop Complaint Now?

It would appear that Macleans Magazine, Canada, who got involved in some controversy with some Canadian Muslims for publishing excerpts Mark Steyn’s America Alone, has published a rebuttal (from Canadian Muslims no less). Here is the masthead at Macleans right … Read More

By / December 17, 2007

It would appear that Macleans Magazine, Canada, who got involved in some controversy with some Canadian Muslims for publishing excerpts Mark Steyn’s America Alone, has published a rebuttal (from Canadian Muslims no less). Here is the masthead at Macleans right now:

Recent masthead at Macleans, a rebuttal to Steyn

Here is a section from the article:

Muslims are not a homogenous entity. Far from it. Like all other faith communities, we are divided along sectarian, ethnic, class and political lines. Even a casual tourist to the Muslim lands will vouch for these divisions.

Whether it is Acehnese fighting Javanese domination in Indonesia or the secularists lined up against Islamists in Turkey; be it the Leftists of Pakistan facing up to the Ultra-Right religious parties or the Egyptian “Enough” activists debating the Muslim Brotherhood, Muslims are as divided in their vision of the future as are Christians or Jews.

Yet despite this clear evidence of ethno-social diversity and political division, many Western observers often view all of Islamdom as if it were a monolithic Islamist mob. At times their fears are grounded in ignorance, but quite often it borders on an alarmist fear of the Muslim world.

An insider to this whole affair who has been commenting at my blog keeps insisting that the human rights complaint against Macleans is based on a statement by the editor that he “rather go bankrupt.”

First of all, I imagine that he meant that the rather go bankrupt than publish something he is being forced into publishing (a position any one who has ever ran any publication will concur with).

Second of all, it is clear that with the aforementioned article Macleans has sufficiently given space for rebuttal. Three pages.

Third, I’d like to note that in this whole affair, Mark Steyn has consistently demonstrated his affirmation of free-speech. He even linked to my blog post in which I essentially advised my readers to mock him.

Finally, if I may generalize, I hope that out of this whole affair, the Candian Islamic Congress, which backed the entire enterprise, has learned something of value about how to operate in a pluralist democracy when it comes to media. If you want to be taken seriously by media, and you want to rebut people, you don’t do it on the basis of law suits, but on the basis of your intelligence and persuasion.

It appears to me that many (immigrant) Muslims do not quite understand the principle of media independence. This same problem was at issue in the Danish Cartoon Fiasco. One of the things that the Muslim protesters wanted was that the Danish government apologize for the newspaper. I’m sorry, but while there are such things as state-run newspapers in many parts of the third world, the entire edifice of the liberal democracy rests on the antagonism between the newspaper and the state. If a state is supposed to apologize for a newspaper (or in the Canadian case condemn it), you are essentially forcing the state and the media to be on the same side.

That must not be allowed to happen (by the way, it strikes me that in my little sermon there is a lesson for the current administration as well, which has been so effective in merging the line between itself and the media).

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