The Corner

Celebrate Conformity

In The Australian, Janet Albrechtsen has a fine column on Western democracies’ accelerating retreat from core liberties. She touches on the Wilders trial in the Netherlands and your humble correspondent’s recent travails up north, in both of which cases the state is happy to sacrifice freedom of expression in the cause of hedging the sensitivities of Islam with special protections. But what struck me most about Janet’s piece was her local angle. I’ve been musing for years on how the illusions of multicultural tolerance have been hijacked by the avowedly unicultural and intolerant, but you could hardly have a more parodic example than Omar Hassan.

Mr. Hassan wrote to Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission to complain about Michael Smith’s radio show. Mr. Smith had been discussing whether the burka should be prohibited in certain places because criminals have used it as a disguise with which to commit crimes. Which happens to be true. But, as in Canada and the Netherlands, the truth is no defense. So Mr. Hassan complained to the Anti-Discrimination Commission about Mr. Smith’s “Islamophobia,” and the ADC accepted the complaint. What’s interesting is that Omar Hassan’s complaint is 15 pages long, and discourses on many topics. For example:

He expressed his disgust at being “forced to look at the backside of a woman who bends over in front of me in supermarket to pick an item off a bottom shelf”. It is a health hazard, he says. “Non-Muslim women do not use water to clean themselves when they go to the toilet.” Thus, bending over in a supermarket could cause serious health risks.

So, in the course of complaining about Mr. Smith’s “bigotry,” Omar Hassan reveals himself to be a bigot: He’s explicitly bigoted against infidel women. But, needless to say, the Anti-Discrimination Commission accepted the bigot’s case and, at great cost to Queensland taxpayers, will now be making Mr. Smith’s life hell for the foreseeable future.

Why don’t the Anti-Discrimination Commission go after the bigot Hassan? After all, he very conveniently confessed his bigotry in a letter mailed directly to them.

Ah, but it doesn’t work like that. The bigot Hassan belongs to a protected identity group, so Mr. Smith’s free speech must be curtailed while Hassan can continue sating his peculiar obsession with non-Muslim female bottoms with impunity — for it would be “intolerant” to subject an avowedly intolerant Islamic supremacist to “Islamophobia.”

After two years of this battle up north, my only advice to Mr. Smith is this: Don’t let them make what you said the issue. Make the third-rate hack enforcers of the Commission and their ugly inconsistent racket the issue. Every day, around the free world, liberty dims in the interests of appeasing thuggish ignoramuses like Omar Hassan. What kind of deal is that?

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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