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Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

As I’ve been informed ad infinitum via the media, there are of course many good, patriotic muslims in this country. Though as far as I know, I’ve yet to meet any muslims, good or bad. What I do know is that there exists a large and vocal radicalized, extremist Islamist sect bent on violence and the destruction (or capitulation to Allah) of America and much of the western world.

Here in the United States, the Islamofascists cannot simply take over the White House and turn the country into a theocracy as they (and many moderate muslims as well) would prefer. Instead, some utilize less overt methods in which to weaken our country.

Referring to the Imam debacle on US Airlines flight 300, the following editorial expands upon what I initially suspected: the Imam’s in question are slimey bastards who simply want to undermine our security. What’s even more interesting is their ties to newly elected Representative Kieth Ellison, D-Minn.

Tale Of Fibbing Imams

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 12/4/2006

Islam And Politics: As we first suspected, the six imams bounced from a US Airways flight misled the public about the incident and likely staged the whole thing as a scheme to weaken security.

Their actions undermine any good will and trust Muslim leaders have built since 9/11. And they call into question what we really know about these supposedly virtuous men we invite to the White House and other halls of power in gestures of tolerance.

Are they really moderate? Do they really mean it when they renounce terrorism? Do they really have America’s best interests at heart?

The police report detailing the US Airways flap gives us serious pause. The imams acted more like provocateurs than victims. At the gate before boarding, they angrily cursed the U.S. Then they bowed to Mecca and prayed “very loud,” chanting “Allah, Allah, Allah,” according to the gate agent and another witness.

On the plane, they didn’t take their assigned seats and instead fanned out to the front, middle and rear of the plane. One even “pretended to be blind” to gain access to another passenger’s seat, according to a flight attendant.

Some ran back and forth speaking to each other in Arabic. Adding to suspicions, most of them asked for seat belt extensions even though they didn’t need them — or even use them.

Yet the ringleader, Omar Shahin, claimed before the police report was released that they “did nothing” unusual. “It’s obvious discrimination,” he insisted.

When the story first broke, the imams denied they chanted “Allah.” Yet, several witnesses in the police report say they did. The imams also claimed they were handcuffed and harassed by dogs. “Six imams. Six leaders in this country,” Shahin complained. “Six scholars in handcuffs.” But the police report puts the lie to both those claims, too.

Shahin also claimed that a local FBI agent pleaded with US Airways to sell the Saintly Six imams another plane ticket, telling airline reps that the government had “no problem” with the men. “Never happened,” says an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis.

Shahin and his fellow imams, who were educated in Sudan and Saudi Arabia, says he and the imams are all moderates who love the U.S. and denounce terror. He doubts Muslims were responsible for 9/11.

“We have been asked by God and by the prophet Muhammad to respect all human life,” he said. “The Quran is very clear, to save one life he saves all human life, and whoever kills one person he kills all humankind, and that is what Islam is all about.”

But Shahin engages in more dissembling. He leaves out a key part of the verse (5:32) that condones killing those who murder fellow Muslims or spread “mischief in the land.” Mischief is defined as “treason against Allah,” and the very next verse calls for guilty infidels to be beheaded.

Shahin himself has ties to terrorism. He served (unknowingly, he now says) as an agent and fundraiser for a Hamas front. He ran a mosque in Tucson, Ariz., attended by several al-Qaida operatives including the hijacker who flew the plane into the Pentagon. And he now runs an imam federation that counts an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing among its trustees.

Shahin also teaches at an Islamic school fully accredited by an Egyptian university tied to the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood. The school’s founder preaches sharia law. One of the imams kicked off the US Airways flight, an Egyptian native, praised sharia law, according to a passenger who sat next to him.

“He expressed views I consider to be extreme fundamentalist Muslim views,” said the witness, a clergyman who has traveled to the Middle East. “He indicated that it was necessary to go to whatever measures necessary to obey all that’s set out in the Quran.”

But most disturbing, these imams aren’t the fringe. Shahin’s group, the North American Imams Federation, represents more than 150 mosque leaders across the country. It works in concert with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which wasted no time slamming US Airways for “stereotyping” Muslims and calling on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling.

Both CAIR and NAIF work closely with Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim member of Congress. Conveniently enough, he immediately stepped in on their behalf to pressure US Airways and the local airport to change security policies.

If it were an orchestrated stunt to create public sympathy and force airports to look the other way when groups of Muslim men fly, it’s working. The Minneapolis airport plans to add a prayer room for Muslims, and Democrats plan to hold hearings on Muslim profiling. This could have a chilling effect on efforts to investigate terror suspects in the Muslim community.

Such hearings would only confer legitimacy on bogus complaints by Muslim leaders. We need to take a harder look at them, not airlines’ security policies.

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From what I understand this movie is a steaming pile of crap, fast becoming one of the worst reviewed movies of the year. Still, Christmas is about Jesus (though without fail, commercialism continually edges out the Christ in Christmas every year.) One would think the most revered Christian holiday would allow for open celebration of Christ and his birth in the days and weeks leading up to the 25th.

Yet, despite the fact that America is 85% Christian, with 97% of the population recognizing and celebrating the Christmas holiday, the church of absurdist political correctness and its followers persists in attempting to squash the festive spirit of the season. In this case in Chicago, suppression in advertising of the upcoming holiday film, The Nativity.

Politicians are dumb everywhere. There are very few smart, well-meaning politicians. Obviously, in the interest of not offending other faiths, there are no smart, well-meaning politicians in Chicago. So, in keeping with yesterdays entry conerning practice of religious freedom and when it is appropriate to engage in such practices, I believe this is the appropriate time of year to openingly become exposed to imagery and ideals of Christmas, despite the fact that the producers behind The Nativity Story simply want you, the movie-goer, to spend your money watching their film. Christmas becomes commercialized once again.

Christians blast Chicago for ‘Nativity’ movie ban

‘This is one of the most blatant forms of religious discrimination imaginable’

By Joe Kovacs
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

The so-called war on Christmas has been reignited with an ironic decision by the city of Chicago to ban advertisements for “The Nativity Story” movie from a local Christmas festival, fearing they might offend non-Christians.

“This is one of the most blatant forms of religious discrimination imaginable,” said Jay Sekulow, a Christian who is chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. “To suggest that a movie about the birth of Jesus Christ should not be included in a Christmas festival is absurd. This transcends political correctness and centers squarely on religious bigotry.”

New Line Cinema had planned to play a loop of its film on TV monitors at the event, but the decision by government leaders has many shaking their heads.

Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission and known for his MovieGuide recommendations, told WND the city’s ban on the ads is “abhorrent” and he labeled Chicago officials as “corrupt.”

“I’m absolutely shocked that at a Christmas festival, they would not allow commercials they could see tonight on TV,” he said. “It is just more political correctness where everything is OK – except Christianity.”

Chicago officials maintain the city doesn’t wish to appear to endorse one religion over another.

Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, acknowledged to the Associated Press there is an actual nativity scene set up in Daley Plaza, but noted there will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups.

“Our guidance was that this very prominently placed advertisement would not only be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts, but also it would be contrary to acceptable advertising standards suggested to the many festivals holding events on Daley Plaza,” Jim Law, executive director of the office, said in a statement.

The ACLJ said it will send a letter to city officials and festival organizers urging them to end their discriminatory practices and to permit the movie to serve as a sponsor for the festival.

“The city of Chicago and festival organizers are exhibiting an intolerance that is offensive to Christians who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ,” Sekulow said. “The city and festival organizers must respect the First Amendment and put an end to the discriminatory practices. We call on the city of Chicago and festival organizers to reverse the decision and permit ‘The Nativity Story’ to serve as a sponsor of the Christmas festival.”

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A nativity scene set up by a private group as part of a Christmas festival is seen Monday, Nov. 27, 2006, in Chicago. Worried that ads being shown on television screens for New Line Cinema’s ‘The Nativity Story’ would offend non-Christians browsing in the traditional German Christkindlmarket in the heart of downtown, the city asked the German American Chamber of Commerce to reconsider the movie studio’s sponsorship of the festival. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

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Since the Imam shenanigans on US Airways Flight 300 last week, more information has come to the fore concerning the six-member Islamic boarding party on that Phoenix-bound flight that doesn’t adhere to the heretofore politically correct explanations given by the Muslim clerics after they were handcuffed and removed from the plane.

“We were simply praying,” was the general cry given by the Imam’s, and while that was certainly true, there is obviously more to this incident than was, until now, initially reported in news stories across the country. Either these men were actually scheming to conduct a terrorist caper, or they were setting themselves up to be accused of such a despicable stunt so that they then might clearly open the way to a racial profiling and/or a religious freedom lawsuit that could conceivably eliminate any sort of racial profiling for Muslims.

Personally and intentionally or not, anyone who acts out on an airliner in such a manner that would instantly raise red flags among airline passengers and crew, especially in a post-9/11 world, should not be surprised in the least when they’re forcibly removed from said aircraft.

Were these men racially profiled? Of course not. We’re they persecuted for their religious beliefs? Most definitely, no. Religious freedom is all fine and good theoretically, but have the minimal amount of intelligence required in order to discern when it may be appropriate to practice that freedom. Praying is one thing. Praying loudly at an airport gate, then boarding a plane and organizing yourselves in seats to mimic the 9/11 hijackers (“two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin“), then requesting seat-belt extensions despite your lack of evident girth and instead setting those belts and buckles on the floor, then repeatedly rising from your seat to move about the plane in order to converse with your fellow imams, is an entirely different matter that should be viewed with quite a bit of scrutiny.

Contrary to popular belief, being Muslim does not give you carte blanche.

How the imams terrorized an airliner

By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 28, 2006

Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.

“I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.”

But the imams who were escorted off the flight in handcuffs say they were merely praying before the 6:30 p.m. flight on Nov. 20, and yesterday led a protest by prayer with other religious leaders at the airline’s ticket counter at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, called removing the imams an act of Islamophobia and compared it to racism against blacks.

“It’s a shame that as an African-American and a Muslim I have the double whammy of having to worry about driving while black and flying while Muslim,” Mr. Bray said.

The protesters also called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw passenger profiling.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, said the September 11 terrorist attacks “cannot be permitted to be used to justify racial profiling, harassment and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans.”

“Understandably, the imams felt profiled, humiliated, and discriminated against by their treatment,” she said.

According to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials, the imams displayed other suspicious behavior.

Three of the men asked for seat-belt extenders, although two flight attendants told police the men were not oversized. One flight attendant told police she “found this unsettling, as crew knew about the six [passengers] on board and where they were sitting.” Rather than attach the extensions, the men placed the straps and buckles on the cabin floor, the flight attendant said.

The imams said they were not discussing politics and only spoke in English, but witnesses told law enforcement that the men spoke in Arabic and English, criticizing the war in Iraq and President Bush, and talking about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

The imams who claimed two first-class seats said their tickets were upgraded. The gate agent told police that when the imams asked to be upgraded, they were told no such seats were available. Nevertheless, the two men were seated in first class when removed.

A flight attendant said one of the men made two trips to the rear of the plane to talk to the imam during boarding, and again when the flight was delayed because of their behavior. Aviation officials, including air marshals and pilots, said these actions alone would not warrant a second look, but the combination is suspicious.

“That’s like shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You just can’t do that anymore,” said Robert MacLean, a former air marshal.

“They should have been denied boarding and been investigated,” Mr. MacLean said. “It looks like they are trying to create public sympathy or maybe setting someone up for a lawsuit.”

The pilot with another airline who talked to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity, said he would have made the same call as the US Airways pilot.

“If any group of passengers is commingling in the terminal and didn’t sit in their assigned seats or with each other, I would stop everything and investigate until they could provide me with a reason they did not sit in their assigned seats.”

One of the passengers, Omar Shahin, told Newsweek the group did everything it could to avoid suspicion by wearing Western clothes, speaking English and booking seats so they were not together. He said they conducted prayers quietly and separately to avoid attention.

The imams had attended a conference sponsored by the North American Imam Federation in Minneapolis and were returning to Phoenix. Mr. Shahin, who is president of the federation, said on his Web site that none of the passengers made pro-Saddam or anti-American statements.

The pilot said the airlines are not “secretly prejudiced against any nationality, religion or culture,” and that the only target of profiling is passenger behavior.

“There are certain behaviors that raise the bar, and not sitting in your assigned seat raises the bar substantially,” the pilot said. “Especially since we know that this behavior has been evident in suspicious probes in the past.”

“Someone at US Airways made a notably good decision,” said a second pilot, who also does not work for US Airways.

A spokeswoman for US Airways declined to discuss the incident. Aviation security officials said thousands of Muslims fly every day and conduct prayers in airports in a quiet and private manner without creating incidents.

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“Missed opportunity” doesn’t even begin to describe the debacle that the Islamic world has yet again perpetrated in the name of their prophet Muhammad.

Provided to the Muslim faithful, courtesy of the major representation of Christian faith embodied in Catholicism and specifically the Pope, is the perfect occasion to demonstrate to the rest of the planet and particularly the west, how they can truly represent themselves in a civilized manner by taking this opportunity to protest peacefully their chagrin at the perceived slight by Benedict XVI.

Instead, they riot. Muslims throughout the Mideast and southeast Asia have taken to the streets, committed violence against others–particularly Christians. A jihad has already become inevitable according to many radical Islamists, including Al Qaeda.

Perhaps the Pope should have used a little more discernment before reciting the ancient text where from he drew words denouncing Islam and particularly the prophet Muhammad as “evil,” because as expected, the Muslim world has grossly over reacted to an intent that may or may not have even been there in the first place. Even more, a little spiritual discernment probably would have benefited the Pope far more than intellectual discernment. I’m reaching wildly here, but if the Pope would have consulted his boss first, if he would have really thought about the torment that could be caused as a result of his actions, I think he might have approached the subject differently. Did he not recall the anarchy that ensued after political cartoons depicting Muhammad appeared in European newspapers?

Regardless, Muslims have yet again proven their readiness to embrace violence as a means to denounce those who give them slight. It benefits them little, while continuing to alienate their faith and ideals even further to the western world. It makes me sad for them.

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Pope’s apology fails to quell Muslim anger

Mon Sep 18, 1:01 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI’s apology for remarks seen as critical of Islam, have failed to quell anger in the Muslim world as Iraqis burned him in effigy and Al-Qaeda in Iraq vowed to “smash the cross.”

Despite appeals for calm from Islamic and Western leaders, protests were held from Indonesia to Iraq over the pope’s citing of a medieval text last week that criticised some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as “evil and inhuman.”

The leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics said he was “deeply sorry” Sunday for the offense caused by his remarks and the Vatican launched a diplomatic offensive to explain to Muslim countries his position on Islam.

A handful of Muslim groups welcomed the 79-year-old pope’s apology but it failed to stem the tide of anger in many Muslim nations.

Mohammed Habib of Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood said they considered the apology a retraction of the pope’s statement, but some Egyptian lawmakers demanded diplomatic ties with the Vatican be suspended.

The powerful All India Muslim Personal Law Board based in the northern city of Lucknow called for an end to protests against the Vatican but demonstrations were held elsewhere.

In Jakarta, some 100 hardliners rallied outside the Holy See’s mission in the Indonesian capital, waving a banner depicting the Vatican as an “axis of Satan.”

Some 150 protestors from a youth party marched through the Pakistani Kashmiri capital Muzaffarabad chanting “Death to Pope” and burned him in effigy.

The pope was also burned in effigy in this southern Iraqi port city where hundreds of Iraqis staged a demonstration on Monday and called for an apology.

The 500 protestors, followers of Ayatollah Mahmud al-Hassani, a mystical Shiite Muslim cleric, also burned German and American flags and called for the pope to be tried in an international court.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq warned in an Internet statement Monday it would wage jihad, or holy war, until the West is defeated.

“We say to the servant of the cross (the pope): wait for defeat… We say to infidels and tyrants: wait for what will afflict you. We continue our jihad,” said the statement attributed to the Mujahedeen consultative council.

“We will smash the cross,” it added, and “conquer Rome.”

Another armed group linked to Al-Qaeda, Ansar al-Sunna (Partisans of the Precepts of the Prophet), denounced the pope as “Satan’s hellhound.”

In Tehran, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei compared the pope’s remarks to caricatures published in a Danish newspaper last year deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed. The cartoons set off deadly protests in the Muslim world.

“The issue of insulting cartoons and remarks of some politicians about Islam are different links in the conspiracy of the crusaders and the pope’s remarks are the latest links in this,” Khamenei said.

In Jordan, a government spokesman said the pope’s apology was a “positive step in the right direction” but “we expect more steps.”

Morroco’s King Mohammed VI, who recalled his ambassador to the Vatican, called on the pontiff to demonstrate his respect for Muslim beliefs. “I’m speaking to you as head of the Catholic Church to ask you to have the same respect for Islam that you vow to other beliefs,” he said.

In the Gulf, newspapers continued to slam the pope with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Yom saying his comments were more than “an ordinary blunder requiring an apology.”

The Vatican sought meanwhile to reach out to Muslims.

Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone told the Corriere della Sera that Vatican ambassadors had been asked to explain to political and religious authorities in Muslim countries the full text of the pope’s speech, which they said had been taken out of context and “heavily manipulated.”

Other appeals for calm came from the European Commission, which condemned “disproportionate” reaction to the pope’s remarks, and French President Jacques Chirac, who warned against “anything that increases tensions between peoples or religions.”

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I don’t know whether lives have been placed in jeopordy as a result of a decision made by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal to publish reports of a CIA/Treasury program that investigated financial records for possible terrorists and terrorist threats.  Bush and the Republican led Congress have only indicated that yes, lives probably have been placed at risk.

What does that mean to me?  Nothing.  Mainly because Bush and his crew have done little to instill within me any sense of their own culpability in just about every issue addressed by them for the past six years.

Taking this into account, with any lack of true fore-sight into what might happen as a result of that story being published by news outlets, I believe it was their duty as members of the free-press to reveal the story to the public.

In the wake of Bush’s tirade against the newspapers (and to be fair his own people for having leaked the story in the first place) congress is now drafting a strongly worded resolution lambasting the New York Times in particular for making the decision to publish the bank records piece.  Many members of congress are even suggesting that members of the press, namely the NY Times, should have their White House credentials revoked, prohibiting them from covering any news within the that building.

Might I say, what a bunch of fucking retards.  This has got to be the biggest do-nothing congress in the history of the country, failing even to push through the most inane bills, and they have the gall to draft a resolution damning the press–the very community they should be protecting since they’re the torchbearers of the first amendment’s most embraced, basic, and easily understood concept:  freedom of speech.

In keeping with this idea, here’s another thoughtful piece from one of SFGate’s resident OpEd writers, Cinnamon Stillwell concerning hate speech, political correctness, and free speech.

When Speech Becomes a Crime
Cinnamon Stillwell
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

  • Roman Catholic Robert Smith is fired from an appointment on the Washington Metro transit authority board by Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich for the crime of saying that he doesn’t approve of homosexuality.
  • Journalist and author Oriana Fallaci cannot visit her native country of Italy for fear of being thrown in prison because of a lawsuit brought against her by the Italian Muslim Union for the crime of “defaming Islam.”
  • British neo-Nazi David Irving is sentenced to three years in prison in Austria for a 1989 speech in which he committed the crime of Holocaust denial.
  • College Republican Steve Hinkle is found guilty by California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo) for “disruption” for the crime of putting up a flyer advertising a black conservative speaker.

What do the above examples have in common?  They are the logical outgrowth of a dangerous trend sweeping the Western world: the criminalization and censorship of speech.

Outright censorship and draconian speech codes have long been a staple of Third World authoritarian regimes. But Western democracies and in particular the United States (where the First Amendment is supposed to reign supreme) have always prided themselves on protecting free speech. Yet because of the creeping reach of political correctness, one can now be put in prison, lose a job, be kicked out of school or be otherwise censored simply for uttering an unpopular opinion.

It’s called hate speech. If there ever were a more Orwellian concept, it would be difficult to find. For much like the concept of  “thought crimes” in George Orwell’s novel “1984,” hate crimes and hate speech suppose intent on the part of the “perpetrator” that may or may not have any basis in reality. What is often mere criticism or disapproval is labeled “hatred” and thus made worthy of punishment. Such a perspective demands that one think only nice thoughts about others. But when it did it become law that we have to like everyone?

While bigotry is indeed unpleasant, it is not in and of itself a crime. Whether one acts on that bigotry or incites others to violence in accordance is another matter. The old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” comes to mind.

Creating Revisionist Martyrs

Even highly objectionable speech such as Holocaust denial should not be criminalized. Such speech would be better fought on the battlefield of ideas than in the courtroom. The academic frauds and conspiracists pushing Holocaust denial should have their work thoroughly discredited and challenged, not censored.

Furthermore, throwing Holocaust deniers in prison merely creates martyrs, which is quite obvious upon perusing any one of the many Web sites that push such views. David Irving, for instance, was turned into a folk hero by his fellow neo-Nazis after being sentenced to three years in prison in Austria for Holocaust denial. While Irving has a long history of promoting Nazism, anti-Semitism, and, yes, Holocaust denial, whether such beliefs constitute criminal acts is questionable.

Author and Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt agrees. Lipstadt knows David Irving well, having gone head to head with him in a libel suit that dragged on for years. In the end, Irving lost the suit against Lipstadt for accusing him of Holocaust denial, yet she too is opposed to the sort of speech codes that sent him to prison. As Lipstadt told the BBC: “I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don’t believe in winning battles via censorship. … The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth.”

Far from protecting those on the receiving end, in this case Jews, such restrictions on speech may actually provide succor to worldwide anti-Semitism. It has certainly given anti-Semites within the Muslim world yet another “Jewish conspiracy” to focus on. Instead of accepting responsibility for the intolerance and backwardness demonstrated in the reaction to the manufactured Danish cartoon “controversy,” such Muslims instead point to the hypocrisy of Jews in Western countries who promote free speech in some cases while advocating the imprisonment of Holocaust deniers.

Protecting Islamists From Criticism

Meanwhile, the push to silence what’s been labeled “Islamophobia” is giving rise to further restrictions on speech. In the United States and Canada, groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations have instigated numerous lawsuits and brought pressure to bear on writers, radio talk-show hosts and anyone else guilty of criticizing Islam or Islamic culture in any way, shape or form.

Talk-show host Michael Graham was fired by Washington radio station WMAL for calling Islam a “terrorist organization” on his show, after CAIR instituted a letter-writing campaign and demanded an apology. CAIR has used a series of libel or defamation suits to go after those who dare bring to light some of the group’s own unsavory ties.

On an international level, the specter of speech codes governing “Islamophobia” has grown exponentially. The United Nations has become the repository for international laws banning the publication of anything deemed insulting to religion and, more specifically, Islam.

Born out of the flap over the Danish cartoons, a series of investigations by the United Nations at the urging of Muslim leaders has led to a slew of resolutions aimed at controlling speech. European and other Western newspapers that dare to publish images of Mohammed in the future or to simply criticize or question aspects of Islamic religion and culture could find themselves on the receiving end of U.N.-sanctioned censorship. Were the United States to adopt such international laws, as some have urged, Americans too could be bound by such restrictions.

Prison for ‘Homophobes’?

Gays are another group included in the growing ranks of the “protected classes,” as columnist John Leo has noted on several occasions. While one can be sued, fired or expelled from school in the United States for expressing disapproval of homosexuality or what’s come to be known as “homophobia,” in Canada one just might be thrown in prison.

In 2004, Canadian “genocide and hate crimes” legislation was amended to make it illegal under certain circumstances to “incite hatred” against gays, bisexuals or anyone else based on their sexual orientation. Although the law allows an exemption for religious expression, Christians in particular fear that they will incur the bulk of such offenses, with the citing of biblical passages forbidding homosexuality being the most common “crime.” Indeed, even before the amended law went into effect, job loss, fines, censures and visits by the police were part of the repressive political landscape. One need only turn to the European Union, where clergy find themselves the targets of speech code laws intended to protect gays.

But as in other cases meant to shield one group from offense, the freedom of all is compromised in the process. It’s no coincidence that Canada’s and Europe’s descent into speech-code mania began with restrictions on anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

Even leftists are not immune. University of British Columbia professor Sunera Thobani, a self-described Marxist feminist and multiculturalism activist, was hit with a hate crimes investigation several years ago for a lecture in which she harshly criticized Americans and American foreign policy.

The PC Left

Here in the United States, leftists often decry what they see as censorship emanating from the right, when in fact most of the true silencing of speech has come from within their own ranks. These days, liberal-dominated universities and colleges are one of the major promulgators of speech codes and draconian punishments for hate speech. Beginning in the 1980s, campus speech codes took on a life of their own, leading to countless trumped-up cases based on misunderstandings, perceived insensitivity or the ever-elusive crime of committing offense.

All too often, those on the receiving end are conservative or Christian students who are falsely accused of hate speech when they exercise their rights to free speech. It seems that putting forward a political or religious viewpoint on campus that is considered politically incorrect is now grounds for persecution and possible expulsion. Students have found themselves so beleaguered by what often appear to be politically motivated witch hunts that they have felt the need to turn to organizations such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for legal assistance.

In what may be a good sign, the group has been highly successful in protecting students’ rights to free speech and religious freedom. At least one judge has barred the implementation of such draconian campus speech codes in the interest of protecting students’ First Amendment rights. In a 2003 lawsuit brought by a conservative student at Shippensburg University in Philadelphia and supported by FIRE, federal judge John E. Jones III ruled against enforcement of student code provisions that prohibited racist, sexist and homophobic speech. As he wrote at the time, the speech code may have been a well-intentioned means of achieving “a utopian community,” but it “prohibit[ed] a considerable amount of speech” in the process.

It is indeed the pursuit of a utopian society from which such speech codes emanate. For when George Orwell wrote “1984,” his dystopian vision of a future society governed by totalitarianism, it was the excesses of communism he had in mind. Orwell’s novel foreshadowed the current movement toward thought control. Except that today’s “thought crimes” are called hate speech and hate crimes.

Currently reading:
Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
By Steve Coll
Release date: By 28 December, 2004

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