A representative of the Department of Justice—a U.S. Attorney—and an FBI agent will appear at a meeting sponsored by a Muslim organization to warn people about speech that is allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims.
See the Politico story below (highlights and Editor’s Note added).
ACT! for America has already sent an email to our Tennessee list, urging people to show up at this meeting and respectfully express their concerns about this assault on free speech. While we find the Facebook posting described in the story below to be provocative and ill-advised, it is certainly less inflammatory than some of the jihadist speech publicly proclaimed by imams in this country.
|And as Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment expert, points out in the story below, this government effort to intimidate free speech is “just wrong.”|
If you’d like to attend the meeting in Manchester, it will start at 6:30 P.M. and take place at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd.
If you can’t attend, you can still take action in two ways!
The global politically correct assault on free speech is in full swing. There’s no guarantee we’ll retain that right if we don’t stand up to defend it.
Feds suggest anti-Muslim speech can be punished
By BYRON TAU |
5/31/13 5:26 PM EDT
A U.S. attorney in Tennessee is reportedly vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.
Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, was quoted by the Tullahoma News this week suggesting that some inflammatory material on Islam might run afoul of federal civil rights laws.
“We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected,” Killian told the newspaper.
Killian, along with the FBI special agent that runs the Knoxville office, are set to speak next week to a special meeting with the local Muslim community, informing them about their rights under federal law.
“This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian said about the meeting. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”
Killian pointed to a recent controversy where a local Tennessee politician posted a photo of a man aiming a shotgun at the camera with the caption “How to wink at a Muslim.”
“If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” Killian asked, according to the newspaper.
The Department of Justice did not respond Friday to a question about what guidelines it draws concerning offensive speech and Islam, or whether the department believes that civil rights statutes could be used to stifle criticism of Islam.
While threats directed at individuals or small groups can lead to punishment, First Amendment experts expressed doubt that the government has any power to stop offensive material about Islam from circulating.
“He’s just wrong,” said Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most respected First Amendment attorneys. “The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion.”
“And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is,” Abrams said.
A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, accused the Obama administration of using federal law to specifically protect Muslims from criticism.
“In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S. the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights,” the group wrote in a blog post.
In recent years, the federal government has faced difficult questions about how to respond to material posted about Islam and the Prophet Muhammed — especially when the content causes riots or attacks abroad. [EDITOR’S NOTE: NOTICE THIS WORDING, THAT THE CONTENT “CAUSES” RIOTS. SPEECH DOESN’T “CAUSE” RIOTS. IF IT DID, WE’D HAVE RIOTS EVERY DAY ALL OVER AMERICA.]
In 2010, a Christian pastor in Florida, Terry Jones, made international news when he threatened to burn 200 copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the September 11th attacks.
The federal government admitted it was powerless to stop Jones, though President Barack Obama condemned the idea. Jones backed off from his September attempt, but later burned a Koran in 2012.
A similar controversy erupted when a Coptic Christian man posted the trailer for an anti-Muhammed film online — causing rioting and an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. The Obama administration condemned the attack, while blasting the filmmaker for religious intolerance.