When a group of Osgoode Hall researchers and students reviewed 20 Maclean's articles, they found what they felt was a disturbing and sustained pattern of Islamaphobia. With titles such as 'Wake up ostriches: Islam's in an expansionary phase' and 'Wake up Europe: It may already be too late,' the articles "promoted hatred and fear of Muslims," concluded the study's five authors. "One of the central themes of these articles include the allegation that the Muslim community, including the Canadian Muslim community, is part of a global conspiracy to take over western societies," their report states. The writings dated back to 2005 and were authored by Barbara Amiel, Mark Steyn, Linda From and one anonymous contributor. When the researchers presented their findings to senior Maclean's editors, the response was that the magazine "would rather go bankrupt" than offer space for a rebuttal to Mark Steyn's 'The future belongs to Islam,' according to the Osgoode group.

 

Now four of the five original researchers have taken the Steyn article to the human rights commission for a ruling, a move that has renewed an age-old debate about maintaining the balance between free speech and defamation of a group.

The complete 70-page report, Macleans Magazine: A Case Study in Media-Propagated Islamaphobia, includes text of the articles reviewed.

When a group of Osgoode Hall researchers and students reviewed 20 Maclean's articles, they found what they felt was a disturbing and sustained pattern of Islamaphobia. With titles such as 'Wake up ostriches: Islam's in an expansionary phase' and 'Wake up Europe: It may already be too late,' the articles "promoted hatred and fear of Muslims," concluded the study's five authors.

"One of the central themes of these articles include the allegation that the Muslim community, including the Canadian Muslim community, is part of a global conspiracy to take over western societies," their report states. The writings dated back to 2005 and were authored by Barbara Amiel, Mark Steyn, Linda From and one anonymous contributor.

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When the researchers presented their findings to senior Maclean's editors, the response was that the magazine "would rather go bankrupt" than offer space for a rebuttal to Mark Steyn's 'The future belongs to Islam,' according to the Osgoode group. Now four of the five original researchers have take the Steyn article to the human rights commission for a ruling, a move that has renewed an age-old debate about maintaining the balance between free speech and defamation of a group. The complete 70-page report Maclean's Magazine: A Case Study in Media-Propagated Islamaphobia includes text of the articles reviewed.

Patricia W. Elliott is a magazine journalist and assistant professor at the School of Journalism, University of Regina. You can visit her at patriciaelliott.ca.