American Exception: Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

American Exception – Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech – Series – NYTimes.com:

By ADAM LIPTAK, Published: June 12, 2008

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their ‘dignity, feelings and self-respect.’

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law.

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