Frontpage, by Deborah Weiss, Jan. 26, 2016:
As ISIS rises, Democrat politicians forge down a slippery slope to destroy America’s First Amendment and prohibit all discussion of Islamic terrorism.
After the San Bernadino ISIS-inspired terrorist attack, which left 14 dead and 22 others injured, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, America’s top law enforcement attorney, explained that her biggest fear was not more ISIS-inspired terrorist attacks, but “the rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
She threatened to prosecute anti-Muslim rhetoric “edging toward violence” and proclaimed that the Department of Justice has already been investigating those whose language is characterized in this manner. “Edging toward violence” is, of course, not the constitutional standard for illegal speech in the land of the free. The correct legal standard set forth in “Brandenburg vs Ohio” by the Supreme Court is “incitement to violence.” The content of language has to explicitly encourage the violence with imminent lawless action the likely result. No doubt that Lynch’s “edging toward violence” standard will not be equally applied to the Muslims preaching “death to America” in American mosques.
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, echoed Lynch’s sentiment and argued that Americans cannot “drive [Muslims] into hiding” – as if anybody were actually doing that. Unfortunately, James Comey, Director of the FBI, who is usually strong on law enforcement, told the Muslim community, “if someone is terrorizing you based on your religion, let us know,” – conflating the mass murder of terrorist attacks with harsh words that might hurt someone’s feelings.
In the administration’s pattern of overt sympathy to the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, it is telling that the Attorney General’s position was announced at a conference by a group named “Muslim Advocates for Peace and Justice,” as “peace and justice” is the official motto of the Muslim Brotherhood. Notably, American Advocates for Peace and Justice boast of its “strategic lawsuits” against the FBI, CIA, and NSA programs – apparently one of its main goals is to hamper law enforcement and national security efforts.
Let’s not forget either only recently in Tennessee the Attorney General Killian threatened that anti-Muslim speech “violates civil rights,” implying the threat of civil prosecutions for so-called “hate speech.”
All such rhetoric is mirrored if not directed by the White House as in a televised speech delivered in the wake of the California massacre, President Obama lectured Americans, scolding that, above all else, we should curb our rhetoric and refuse to define the war as America vs Islam “because that’s what ISIL wants.”
Now in the aftermath of a wave of Islamic terrorist attacks throughout Europe and America, Democrats in Congress have proposed a bill titled, “HR 569: Condemning violence, bigotry and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” This bill contains nothing but inaccurate assertions, anti-freedom proposals and a complete rejection of America’s founding principles.
First, the bill asserts that “victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric face verbal, physical and emotional abuse.” It singles out Muslims despite the fact that FBI statistics demonstrate that hate crimes against Muslims are low compared to other groups – even with inflated reports by CAIR.
Yet, after a wave of Islamic terrorist attacks throughout the West, the bill’s supporters show no concern for the victims of Islamic terrorist attacks. Instead, they sympathize with the Muslim community, thus turning perpetrators into victims in a tactic known as “reverse victimization.”
Second, the bill conflates speech and actions, an important distinction both legally and factually.
The bill asserts that “hate speech” based on faith is in “contravention to the founding principles” of religious freedom. Suddenly the Democrats care about what America’s Founding Fathers believed! Unfortunately, they don’t seem to understand that our Founding Fathers also believed in freedom of speech. This assertion demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of the First Amendment – a real problem when we are talking about elected officials sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
Repeatedly, the bill professes that America welcomes all faiths, beliefs and cultures. Against the backdrop of political correctness and multiculturalism emerges the false idea that all values and beliefs are equal. Yet, it is plain to see that Nazism, Communism and Islamism are NOT equal to the Judeo-Christian values of liberty, equality and human rights.
The bill argues that anti-Muslim speech plays into the “false narrative spread by terrorist groups of Western hatred of Islam…” and causes a violent reaction. This argument is not only faulty; it is dangerous! It plays into the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s notion that “hate” speech CAUSES terrorism. Terrorism is used to restrict speech on one hand and while on the other free speech is protrayed as the origin of terrorism. If the public is convinced that so-called “Islamophobia” causes terrorism, rather than the other way around, Westerners will ultimately conform to Islamic blasphemy restrictions.
However, Islamic terrorism pre-dates “Islamophobia.” Further, Islamic terrorism has ideological roots. Blaming terrorism on geo-political grievances or any other behavior by “infidels” is simply the present hook jihadists hang their hats on. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Until the West becomes part of an Islamic Caliphate and infidels subdue themselves into submission to Islam, jihadists will not be happy. Besides, America is supposed to be a nation of Judeo-Christian values including that of personal responsibility. This notion that it is OUR fault that someone else commits violence shifts the responsibility from the terrorists to those who make mere comments that the terrorists dislike.
Further, when Islamic terrorists groups say they are theologically inspired, this is not propaganda. It’s true. It’s the stealth groups, like CAIR, who claim there is no theological motivation, that are spewing forth disinformation.
Next, the resolution declares the Muslim civil rights need to be protected. But abridging Americans’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech does not constitute a “civil rights protection.” Perhaps federal agencies designed to protect the security of Americans should focus on national security rather than restricting “rhetoric.” Just a thought!
Finally, the bill “affirms the inalienable right of every citizen to live without fear. …” This is conjured up, as no such right exists. But if Democrats want people to live fear-free, they should address the very real threat of Islamic terrorism and stop worrying about people’s concocted constitutional right to be free from hurt feelings.
The Judeo-Christian values of freedom, equality and human rights, serve as the foundational underpinnings of the U.S. Constitution. It is these values from which freedom flourishes and what sets America apart from the tyrannical regimes of other countries, including Islamic theocracies. Other countries, lacking these values, institutionalize the oppression of women, children, and religious minorities. Our values make America exceptional and cause us to be the envy of the world.
Yet, it is these same values that are eschewed by the far left, and increasingly by mainstream Democrat politicians, as evidenced by Democrat support of this bill. As of this writing, the bill is co-sponsored by 115 Democrats in the House (out of 188 Democrat total) and no Republicans.
There is no constitutional right to be free from offense. Yet, Democrat politicians ranging from Attorney General Loretta Lynch to the Philadelphia Mayor want the public to refrain, not just from gratuitous offense, but from truthful comments about the roots of Islamic terrorism.
Though H.R. 569 has no mandate to make legal restrictions on speech, it creates an environment that makes hate speech laws easier to pass down the road. The threats of prosecution, the constant chastisement from political officials, voted in to uphold the Constitution but who are instead doing everything possible to violate its spirit, are sliding the United States down a slope toward legal incursions to freedom of speech. Because free speech is the basis from which political dissent, religious freedom, and other freedoms flow, speech restrictions are not just unconstitutional, they constitute an existential threat.
Once we start down this road, it will not be only gratuitous “insult” that is prohibited. Outlawed will be dissent on refugee and national security policy, as well as truthful comments about Islamic terrorism, Islamic persecution of religious minorities or human rights violations committed in the name of Islam. But facts are stubborn things. And only the truth shall make us free. Tell everyone you know about the anti-Constitutional politicians who are supporting this bill.
Deborah Weiss, Esq. is a regular contributor to Frontpage Magazine. She is also a contributing author to the book, “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network”, the main researcher and writer for “Council on American-Islamic Relations: Its Use of Lawfare and Intimidation” and the author of “The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Jihad on Free Speech.” Her work can be found atwww.vigilancenow.org.