I wrote the following in response to a terribly misguided post, written by Jeffrey Imm, of the group Responsible for Equality and Liberty (R.E.A.L.). A related post was linked to (and praised) by a certain husky pony-tailed blogger, which should tell you all you need to know about it! To boil it down, Mr. Imm believes that it is a ‘human rights violation’ to protest religious institutions, including those run by the Muslim Brotherhood. So he, in response, affirmatively defends the right of Muslims (including extremist Muslims, such as the Muslim Brotherhood) to worship wherever they want, including at Ground Zero. Below is an email I wrote in response. Please use the content in this email as helpful information whenever these topics come up with friends, colleagues, and/or family.
You are seeking to deny the legitimate moral and constitutional right that I and others have to protesting hate mosques being in our neighborhoods.
I have the first amendment right to protest, including protesting religious institutions. The problem is not that SIOA, Westboro Baptist Church, or MAS (the Muslim American Society, an organization that is considered a Muslim Brotherhood front group) protests a synagogue, mosque, or church. “Holy places” are not beyond reproach, and there is just as much a right to protest a church, synagogue, and/or mosque as there is a right to protest a community center. This is simple and basic American constitutional law that you (as a former FBI agent) were sworn to uphold.
Certainly, no one has the right to use intimidation tactics to block a mosque that include violence and/or threats of violence. I never said otherwise (and no one of merit would). However, I have every right to lobby a public official, or private individuals, and express displeasure about a new church, mosque, and/or synagogue being built. This is a basic American right that I enjoy as a citizen of this country. Yet you oppose any and all protests against mosques – even peaceful ones using no intimidation tactics.
When al-Awda/Code Pink/MAS/Adalah/etc protests outside synagogues and/or Jewish events (as they have done), I never think that the mere act of their protesting outside a house of worship is itself violative of human rights and decency. If in fact Judaism were a human rights violating faith, then perhaps Jews would deserve to be picketed! (but obviously, since the opposite is true, al-Awda/Code Pink/MAS/Adalah/etc are the haters) No, my problem with these organizations is the message found within their protests. In contradistinction, you appear to believe that simply protesting a house of worship is ipso facto evidence of a “human rights violation” (and/or hate speech) taking place. That is not only absurd and offensive, is the sort of reasoning that ultimately advocates on behalf of blasphemy laws.
This is not about whether or not the government is or should banning the building of a new mosque/synagogue/church. No – that is a separate matter altogether (and oddly enough, we may be in agreement on that matter).
The problem in China, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, et. al., is not one of protests of churches and/or synagogues. It is that the governments themselves ban churches/synagogues, and/or that the citizens themselves are violent towards certain religious and ethnic groups.
In fact, I believe that the USA needs to expand the definition of “terrorist organization” to include the Muslim Brotherhood and MAS. This would be most accurate, in light of Steve Emerson’s extensive work (as well as the body of evidence uncovered in the Holy Land Foundation trial), and then apply those laws when/if MAS wants to open a new mosque. But until then, I don’t think there is a way of writing a law that could survive constitutional protection that would be narrowly tailored enough to simply block MAS from opening a mosque, simply due to the fact that it is MAS, without then preventing me from building a synagogue. (Don’t believe me? Check out Geert Wilders’s trial in Holland for “hate speech,” to see how hate speech laws can go awry.) If you want to stop a mosque, you can do so legitimately due to zoning concerns and/or the loudness of the Shahada (call to prayer five times a day). However, if the zoning checks out, I believe you are really out of luck if you seek to have the government prevent a mosque from being built.
However, it is ludicrous to claim that somehow when Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer/SIOA protest a mosque, this is leading us down the path of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China, etc. No, it is R.E.A.L. that is leading us down the path of China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc, by claiming that SIOA and others should be condemned (and/or prevented) for simply exercising their first amendment right to lobby and protest mosques.
This is about the right of individuals to protest a religious institution, which you impliedly – from all you have written in the past few weeks – believe they do not deserve.
After all, Pamela Gellar, Robert Spencer, and SIOA are not the government. They have no ability to prevent a mosque from being allowed in one place or another. What they are doing is ultimately lobbying to prevent future mosque building – which is their right. If you have a problem with the message they have (i.e., if you disagree that MAS is a bad organization, or that Islam is a bad religion), then feel free to explain why you disagree with them. Otherwise, even Dove Church has the right to say “Islam is of the Devil,” just as Westboro Baptist Church has the right to say “Judaism is of the devil.” And I have that same right to say that Westboro Baptist Church and Dove Church are hateful institutions, due to the messages they convey. It’s called a marketplace of ideas and freedom of speech – something I thought R.E.A.L. stood for.
In fact, I thought R.E.A.L. stood for human rights, consistency, and the constitution. However, your abject rejection of freedom of speech shows that R.E.A.L. is not consistent in support for universal human rights.
I am disappointed with what you have turned R.E.A.L. into. This is no longer a human rights organization when it does not stand for basic freedom of speech.
In related news, a massive blow
to the Islamic Imperialist Colonization of America has been dealt.
The board of trustees of a Staten Island Catholic Church have rejected the controversial sale of a church building to a Muslim group looking to open a mosque.
The collapse of the deal – which would have transferred the vacant convent of St. Margaret Mary Church to the Muslim American Society for $750,000 – came amid a nation
al controversy over efforts to construct a mosque near Ground Zero.
Americans finally have stood up and said no to Islamic Imperialism!
Tags: Blasphemy, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Ground Zero Mosque, Human Rights, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, MAS, Pamela Geller, Protesting, Robert Spencer, SIOA