Canada's press freedom tested by Muslim demands

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The demand by an Islamic group that Canadian weekly news magazine, Maclean’s publish its response to an article by best-selling author Mark Steyn claiming that Muslims would swamp the West has “sparked warnings of government-imposed restrictions on freedom of expression” Reuters reports.

The Canadian Islamic Congress, one of Canada’s largest Muslim groups, is demanding an equal-length rebuttal to the October 2006 article, an excerpt from Steyn’s book “America Alone” that said a high Muslim birthrate, combined with Muslims “hot for jihad,” could conquer the West.

Maclean’s has said that it has run 27 letters from readers, many opposed to Steyn’s piece, and will consider a further response, but would resist the CIC’s demands that it set the terms for what the magazine publishes, including directing the art work and an insistence that the story run on the front cover.

Last year the CIC launched two human rights complaints against the magazine and its editor-in-chief Kenneth White claiming that “the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt”.

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