The seminar was led by Bill Killian, a U.S. Attorney appointed by Barack Obama, and FBI special agent, Kenneth Moore.
Among the attendees were Robert Spencer, an outspoken Islamic critic, prolific author of more than ten books and founder of Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, also a critic of Islam, author, blogger and political activist.
The contentious event was frequently raucous as numerous dissenters shouted down speakers in what Geller termed “the latest Obama administration salvo against the freedom of speech.”
In an article posted following the meeting Geller wrote, “U.S. Attorney Bill Killian gave a power- point presentation on hate crimes and hate speech. From beginning to end it was full of condescension, smears, charges that the crowd was racist, and thinly veiled threats that truthful speech about Islam would be prosecuted.”
If true, the warnings by Spencer and Geller “on how civil rights laws could and should be used to shut down speech deemed “inflammatory” against Muslims” is frightening. However given the president’s actions regarding Islam on numerous occasions in the past, there is no reason to doubt the validity of the claims.
As predicted, despite the gravity of the potential for a major upheaval to one of the most basic, and valued, rights of Americans combined with special considerations being afforded on grounds of religious persecution, the story went largely unnoticed and unreported
From Killian’ perspective, his free speech adversaries are racist Islamophobes. As Geller put it, Killian never once mentioned the fact the people are concerned about terrorism “and the uniform denial and obfuscation, and victimhood posturing, that follows from Muslim communities after every jihad attack.”
Writing for The Tennesseean Nicole Young described a few interruptions as being so intense that some of the participants were afraid of their fellow audience members sitting nearby.
On numerous occasions both Killian and
Among the protesters was former Saturday Night Live star Victoria Jackson who said, “The Constitution and Sharia cannot coexist. Islam is evil.”
Among Killian’s comments was a claim that there has been a sharp rise in religiously-motivated hate crimes. As if beheading a soldier in broad daylight in a
The Facebook post by Barry West was unfortunate, ill-timed and unnecessary, but that is a long way from providing special dispensations to specific entities that deny Americans their First Amendment rights because of mindless comments.
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