Hat tip Maggie's Notebook
Picture taken in New York City
Never mind that we have seen our ambassador to Libya and three other Americans brutally murdered. Never mind that our diplomatic missions in the Middle East (and Pakistan) have been attacked and our flag burned. In the eyes of the Islamic world, American leaders, and our own media, this is all America's fault. It is all because we-not they-are the intolerant ones because they continue to lay the blame on that stupid video. One of the unfortunate results of all this is the advancement of calls to criminalize any criticism of Islam. These voices, led by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the largest voting bloc in the UN, seem to have found a friendly ally in Hillary Clinton, the Department of State, and, indeed, the administration.
Last night, there was a large gathering of Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan to protest against Islamophobia and the now-infamous video, "The Innocence of Muslims". It was reported by some sources beforehand that they would also call for such expressions to be made illegal. I am still trying to determine if any such calls were made.
Maggie's Notebook has an important piece updating us on the effort to strip Americans of their freedom of speech in the wake of this atrocity committed against us. From it, you can link to the December 2011 report issued by Hillary and her pals. The key word here is now "incitement" rather than "defamation". More on that distinction later.
My impression is that Mrs Clinton has been trying to hold her finger in the dike, so to speak, when it comes to maintaining freedom of speech. Her words definitely include protecting that freedom. Asst. Attorney General Thomas Perez, in his remarks, predictably, painted the US as a place where prejudice and discrimination are the biggest problem and patted the DOJ on the back for fighting it-even though many of the examples were from decades ago. He did not waste his time defending freedom of expression.
As for inserting the term, "incitement" in place of "defamation", this is not really much of a victory. In the US, the right of free speech stops when one incites a crime against another, for example, saying to a crowd, "Kill the (fill in the blank) and the crowd immediately proceeds to kill a fill in the blank.
But what about the case we are dealing with now? Someone says or publishes something that offends Muslims, and Muslims in another part of the world go out and commit mayhem. Incitement? Even if you say yes, think of the legal spaghetti we are inviting in this country. Put Christ in a jar of urine and nothing happens other than Christians complain because they are offended. Do the same with Muhammad and all Hell breaks loose. Discriminatory application of justice? What about those Friday prayers in the Middle East where some imam exhorts the crowd to "take action" against the infidels, and the audience rushes out and kills a couple of infidels. Incitement? All day long (under our law at least), but who ever gets prosecuted for that in the Middle East?
And, in case you are not aware, the Justice Department has, indeed, taken video-maker Nakoula B. Nakoula into custody. He is now being held without bail on a probation violation for "using the Internet without permission" (a term of his probation). He has been labeled by the judge as a danger to society. The only one in danger is Nakoula.
Secretary Clinton may be trying to diplomatically tell the OIC that we are going to protect freedom of speech in the US while vigorously protecting the rights of religious minorities, but they are not going to be satisfied with that. They want any expression that criticizes Islam criminalized, and they using this latest controversy to advance that case even though it is we in the US who have been victimized. It is one thing to argue that Nakoula's video was offensive to Muslims (it was). It is another to prosecute him. Does anyone seriously think that had he made a film critical or satirical of Jews or Christians, he would be thrown back in jail for using the Internet in violation of his probation?
More importantly, in light of world events, are we eventually going to accede to demands that we shut down an honest discussion of the nature of Islamic terror, its own hatreds and sharia law as it would apply in the West? This need not be done in a spirit of hate or mockery, but who will draw the line and decide legally if it is hateful? Is it beyond the realm of imagination that those who speak out against the outrages occurring in the Islamic world, or question shariah law, or criticize an American Muslim leader for using hate speech himself would be subject to having our taxes audited every year or be charged with spitting on the sidewalk?
Ask Nakoula B. Nakoula.