PAUL SCHNEIDEREIT: Hearings an embarrassment for democracy

Chronicle Herald

Khurrum Awan, one of the Osgoode Hall law students who brought Steyn’s article to the attention of the CIC, and participated in the meeting with Maclean’s in March 2007 to discuss a rebuttal piece, admitted at the hearing that his group made no mention at that face-to-face meeting that their rebuttal could be from a “mutually acceptable” source. Previously, Awan and others have claimed, in opinion articles (including one in The Herald in February) and various press appearances, that Maclean’s turned them down despite an offer of a mutually acceptable writer.

In fact, according to Maclean’s, nearly six months after Steyn’s article appeared and after they had published 27 letters to the editor in response, many opposed to Steyn’s point of view, they still agreed to meet Awan and his group to see if they could accommodate their demand for space for another rebuttal. That went nowhere, the magazine said, when the group demanded total control over the editorial content, cover art and a donation to an Islamic charity. (Awan told the hearing last week he had $10,000 in mind).

It’s also interesting to note that, for a group that claims to be lacking a voice in the media, Awan, Faisal Joseph, the CIC’s lawyer, and others involved in the complaints to various human rights commissions seem to have been very much in the news with their views for the past six months, including articles in dailies across Canada, appearances on TV talk shows and interviews on radio programs. That’s not to mention the opinion articles from supporters that have also been published.

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