Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges shown here at a meeting with Somali Muslims wearing a hijab in April 2014.
WND, by Leo Hohmann, June 21, 2017:
The city of Minneapolis has set up a hotline for residents to report suspected hate crimes, including “speech and actions,” according to statements on the city’s website.
The city, which will operate the “service” through its 3-1-1 helpline, is targeting any “harassing behaviors motivated by prejudice,” according to a press release. Those wishing to report a hate crime from outside the city may dial 612-673-3000.
According to the local newspaper, the Star-Tribune, “the announcement comes amid signs of a recent surge of such incidents affecting Muslims and Jews across the country, many of which go unreported.”
The city’s Department of Civil Rights clearly states on its website that it only enforces hate crimes against certain “protected classes.”
A city official further indicated the impetus for the hate-crimes hotline was the election of President Trump and that the targets would be his supporters.
“Since the general election, many of us have experienced, witnessed firsthand or heard of actions of: racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry directed at people here and in cities across the United States,” Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel wrote in a statement posted on the city’s website. “In no uncertain terms, hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis nor will they be tolerated.”
Korbel said the city’s tough stance on “hate” is reflected in the views of its mayor, Betsy Hodges. Korbel states on the city website:
This department echoes Minneapolis mayor, Betsy Hodges’ resolve and commitment when she stated: “I will not compromise the public safety of the people of Minneapolis to satisfy Trump’s desire to put politics before public safety. Minneapolis is being built and strengthened by people from all over the world and I am grateful for their commitment to our city. I stand with them today and will continue to take that stand as the President-elect prepares to take office.”
Michele Bachmann, former congresswoman from Minnesota, decried the new hotline as a form of fascism in which citizens are encouraged to turn in their neighbors for holding opinions deemed forbidden by the state.
She said such prior restraints are not allowed under the U.S. Constitution and would not hold up in court.
“Hate speech hotlines operate as government enforcement of fascism,” she said in an email to WND. “They are a denial of free speech and the very definition of government censorship.
“Looking for government informants to rat out speech the government forbids goes to the heart of denying American citizens our inalienable rights. Governments CAN NOT do this under our constitution.”
Bachmann said the hate-crime hotline is a stealth move by Hodges and the city council to impose Islamic anti-blasphemy laws on non-Muslims.
“By installing Islamic anti-blasphemy hotlines and advertising for informants, Minneapolis is violating the doctrine of separation of church and state,” she added. “What difference is there between the Minneapolis City Council action and United Nations resolution 16/18 advanced by former Secretary Hillary Clinton?”
U.N Resolution 16/18 encouraged nations to criminalize speech that defames a person’s religious views.
Pushed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the only speech the resolution sought to criminalized was speech critical of Islam, Bachmann said. After years of failure, the resolution only passed after the language was somewhat watered down.
“Which is interesting, since the OIC continually proclaims death to the Jews, death to Israel,” she said. “The citizens of Minneapolis surely can’t be that easily bamboozled into giving away their First Amendment rights to free of speech.”
The press release announcing the new hotline gives a broad definition of “discrimination,” citing any “action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively for reasons such as their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”
The release also places local police on notice, stating:
If you, your family or someone you know experiences discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, sex, LGBT status or other protected classes, or has been the victim of police misconduct, please call 612-673-3012 or visit http://www.minneapolismn.gov/civilrights.
Shahram Hadian, whose family fled Iran in the run-up to the Islamic revolution in 1978, said he was aghast at the Minneapolis hotline.
“This is ultimately what they got passed up in Canada. But this is the backdoor approach to eventually setting up hate speech laws … hate crimes morph into hate speech,” said Hadian, a former law enforcement officer turned pastor who heads Truth In Love Ministries.
“It’s crazy to think my family left Iran because of the impending Islamic State to come to this nation because of its freedom – and what other freedom is more precious than your freedom of speech? – and now to see this backdoor attempt to try to impose hate speech laws.”
Hadian said there would be no logical need for a special hate hotline because the federal government already has hate-crime laws on the books.
“This is trying to normalize the concept of trying to turn people in, and if that doesn’t send shivers down your spine when you think of 1930s Germany, nothing will,” Hadian said.
The Minneapolis City Council last fall passed a resolution condemning violence and hate speech against Muslims.
Hadian said he has no doubt that the Minneapolis officials will seek to target Christians with the new snitch line.
“Obviously it’s moving toward Shariah compliance. This is what Europe has done,” he said. “You have people arrested there, various examples of it, and charged with crimes for something they said about Islam. So this is a back-door attempt to get hate speech laws on the books and to create the environment of normalcy where you’re going to see Christians turned in to the government because we are either speaking about Christianity or because we’re speaking factually about Islam.
“It’s a violation of our fundamental rights under the First Amendment. That’s chilling, and it’s so disturbing and underhanded what they’re doing, to say, ‘Let’s start turning people in whom we don’t agree with.’”
Hadian said the hotline will have a chilling effect on pastors and lecturers in Minnesota.
“So what, the next time I give a presentation, if someone gets offended, are they going to report me?” he said. “That’s where we’re headed with this.”
Outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth, every county in Minnesota voted for Trump in the November general election.
The people of Minnesota are growing tired of the coercive rule of intolerant Democrats like Hodges and Gov. Mark Dayton, said Debra Anderson, who chairs the state’s ACT! For America chapter.
“Communities throughout Minnesota are suffering greatly from the never-ending demands of Muslims and their civilization jihad, and there is growing alarm about the increasing threats of and acts of violence perpetrated by Muslims against non-Muslims (jihad terrorism),” Anderson wrote in an email.
“This resolution and the hate-speech hotline serves to not only invalidate the legitimate concerns of indigenous Minnesotans, but also to silence them,” she said. “I find myself thinking, ‘While our government leaders’ fundamentally transform our communities (destroy America),’ they command, ‘Don’t you dare utter a peep … or else!’
“Unfortunately, this is only one of many examples of how our ‘captured’ government is striving to fundamentally transform the Land of 10,000 Lakes into Marxist/Islamist utopia that does not tolerate dissidents or infidels.”
Bob Enos, another Minnesotan, who recently ran for city council in Willmar, said he believes the hotline is patently unconstitutional if it bans or seeks to chill any type of speech.
“Free speech has never been a crime under the U.S. Constitution, hateful or otherwise,” he said.
A search of the Star-Tribune’s stories printed since Jan. 1, 2017, lists only one alleged hate crime against Muslims.
“This new hotline is nothing but a red herring, designed to ingratiate Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges to the growing Somali voting bloc. Hence, her photos donning the Muslim hijab,” Enos said.
Enos said it was significant that Islamic preachers are exempt from the hate crimes prosecuted by Minneapolis, because they are regarded as a “protected class.”
“After all, the Quran contains at least 109 verses which promote graphic violence against all non-believers; most especially Jews,” he said. “So, is not any cleric who promotes the teachings of the Quran also promoting hate speech?
“This enforcement of standards of speech that Minneapolis’ Democratic leadership finds acceptable is Minneapolis’ version of an intellectual Taliban.”