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OK, I'm not a lawyer; however, there is a CLEAR SCOTUS record that does limit free speech when and if the speech creates a "Clear and Present Danger".

Isn't it time for the court to visit the issue of curtailing speech that incites violence in the Muslim world?

Before we continue, let's clear up one point:  Regardless of the source, murder and violence are never justified.  That said, neither is broadcasting incendiary language or actions that are knowingly offensive to Muslims justified.

DEMOGRAPHIC PERSPECTIVE:  Let's take a close look at the world populations of Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

The number of Christians worldwide is around 2-3 Billion:  So, whilst it is difficult to give a definite answer to the actual number of Christians in the world (estimates range from 2 - 3 billion)

As of this 2010 report, The number of Jewish people world wide is approximately 12 million.

There are an estimated 2.2 Billion Muslims.

Even though the world's Jewish population is relatively small, many countries have laws protecting Jews.  In this article, you can see which countries have, or are considering, Anti-Semitism laws:

Anti-Semitism is against the law in many countries.

However, even though the Muslim population dwarfs the Jewish population, discriminitory anti-Muslim laws seem to abound in Europe.

And there seems to be a nationwide Anti-Shariah law movement here in the USA led by the GOP:  GOP embraces anti-Shariah

TPM’s Ryan Reilly reports that the man behind the effort to add the amendment is none other than Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state who moonlights as an anti-immigration activist.  Kobach wrote Arizona’s infamous SB-1070 “papers please” immigration law, and advised a handful of other states on their similar laws cracking down on undocumented migrants.

Kobach is (or at least was during the primary) an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and likely the man behind Romney’s “self-deportation” immigration policy.

No surprise, Kobach and ALEC have ties:

Alabama or BUST: Kris Kobach and the “Exporting” of ALEC & Heritage Foundation Values

I believe enough people have died to warrant SCOTUS taking a look at Freedom of Speech related to insulting Muslim beliefs, especially when there is clear evidence that doing so incites violence and even murder of innocent people, including Americans, i.e., incites a "clear and present danger."

SCOTUS has created legal precedence that can deem it a "clear and present danger" to insult Muslims in these two ways:  Burning the Q'uoran and Depicting Mohammed in any way.

I'll try to demonstrate this below.  If you are a legal scholar, your opinions will be very much appreciated.

In order to keep the focus on the legality of "the movie", I kindly ask that we don't address other topics around this weeks events. There is enough He said/She debate in other diaries.

Again, I think we all agree that a violent, and especially murderous response to the words, non-violent actions, and insults by others is NEVER, NEVER, EVER justified.

I BEG READERS TO REFRAIN FROM DEBATING RELIGION BELOW.  We have many other diaries for this as well.  Thank you.

I think we can also agree that there are zealots and/or extremists within several religions, not just Muslims:

For instance, this part of "The Movie" story was released today here and in Isreal:

California man confirms role in anti-Islam film that sparked deadly Libya violence

But a Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, told AP on Wednesday that Bacile was a pseudonym and that he was Christian.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, said Klein is a former Marine and longtime religious-right activist who has helped train paramilitary militias at a California church.

It described Klein as founder of Courageous Christians United, which conducts protests outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.

It quoted Klein as saying he believes that California is riddled with Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells "who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can."

Hate groups remain legal in the USA.  

U.S. Hate And Extremist Groups Hit Record Levels, New Report Says

However, perhaps some Muslims would argue that the scope and intensity of armed forces actions by the US, Europe, and Isreal out pace the death and destruction of the extreme Muslims.  

That said, there is no lack of proof that any derision or negative depiction of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed or acts like burning a Q'uran results in outrage with many Muslims and violent acts by the most extreme Muslims.  People in Muslim countries die, as well as Americans, as a result of Q'uoran burning and depicting Mohammed.

The proof stated above and below that has accumulated since 2006, in my opinion, is sufficient for the US Supreme Court to take action to curtail Americans from speaking and acting in ways that incite Muslim outrage.

The latest news states that the producer/director of the "Innocence of Muslims" movies is a Coptic Christian:

Egypt’s Christian Coptic populace has long decried what they describe as a history of discrimination and occasional violence from the country’s Muslim majority.

The animosity between Christians and Muslims dates back to 636 AD.  It is a long and bloody history.

Isn't it time to end this hate and violence?  Can it be ended?  And, if not, how can the peacemakers of the world help quell the hate and distrust of both sides?  What part can the Jews play in promoting peace?

Legally, the burning questions are:

Will doing nothing to curtail people from insulting the Muslim faith in such blatant speech and actions sending a message to the worlds 12 Billion Muslims, many of which are poor and uneducated, that ALL Americans and Europeans condone Q'uoron burning and negative depictions of Mohammed?

Can the law be used in ways to help end escalation of tensions between the seemingly competing religions?

I think so.  At the very least, can the law be used to criminalize speech and actions by one group or individual that incite violence by another.  

By legal inaction and by promoting anti-Muslim laws, what message is the Western world and Isreal sending?

Let's begin with evidence that speech and actions that deride the Muslim faith, in particular the burning the Q'uran and negatively depicting Mohammed, taken over the past few years have proven that such speech and actions spurs violence and creates a "clear and present danger" in countries with a Muslim majority.

February, 2006 - Violence Erupts over Muhammad Cartoons

From Indonesia to India to Iraq, protests in the MuSslim world grew wider and more violent over the weekend, with rioters torching European embassies in two Mideast capitals.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet blasphemous.

February, 2012 - 4 Americans killed in Afghanistan in new Koran-burning violence
Saturday’s fatalities brought the death toll since the riots broke out Tuesday to more than 30, four of them Americans, with hundreds more people injured.

In the latest display of unrest over the burning of copies of the Koran at a U.S. base, angry crowds laid siege to a provincial governor’s compound in eastern Afghanistan and a United Nations office in the country’s north.

March, 2011 - Two Christians killed, churches burned: extremists respond to Florida Koran burning
The extremist violence was triggered by the insane act - repeatedly condemned by Christians in Pakistan and India – of the pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20, in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones.
April, 2011 -Envoy: 3 U.N. workers killed running from bunker
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Fearing for their lives, the U.N. workers dashed into a dark bunker hoping to escape the mob of Afghan protesters angry over the burning of a Quran by a Florida church.
September, 2012 - US Ambassador to Libya killed - September 12 as it happened


The following are the SCOTUS cases deeming "clear and present danger" ground, if you will, for repressing the Constitutionally mandated freedom of speech.

Clear and Present Danger

Schenck v. United States - Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 (1919)

Abrams v. United States - In Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616, 40 S.Ct. 17, 63 L. Ed. 1173 (1919)

Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 45 S. Ct. 625, 69 L. Ed. 1138, is a 1925 decision by the Supreme Court that upheld the constitutionality of criminal anarchy statutes.

Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 47 S. Ct. 641, 71 L. Ed. 1095 (1927), in which they once more argued that before speech could be prohibited, a clear and present danger must be imminent.

Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951)

Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 89 S. Ct. 1827, 23 L. Ed. 2d 430 (1969).


The defendant, a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group, spoke at a Klan rally at which a large wooden cross was burned and some of the other persons present were carrying firearms. His remarks included such statements as: "Bury the niggers," "the niggers should be returned to Africa," and "send the Jews back to Israel."

An Ohio state court convicted him under Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute, both for advocating the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform, and for voluntarily assembling with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism. On appeal, the United States Supreme Court reversed. In a per curiam opinion, expressing the unanimous views of the court and overruling Whitney v California (1927) 274 US 357, 71 L Ed 1095, 47 S Ct 641, it was held that the constitutional guaranties of free speech and free press did not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation, except where such advocacy was directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and was likely to incite or produce such action.

Black and Douglas, JJ., each concurring separately expressed disagreement with the "clear and present danger" test which had been applied in an earlier decision cited by the court.


The guaranties of free speech and free press do not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation, except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

The mere abstract teaching of the moral propriety for a resort to force and violence is not the same as preparing a group for violent action and steeling it to such action. Any statute which fails to draw this distinction impermissibly intrudes upon the freedoms guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Court has not specifically addressed the clear-and-present-danger doctrine since Brandenburg.

I would argue that speech and/or actions that have proven to incite violence qualify as presenting a "clear and present danger."

I believe the families of those killed by violent Muslim extremists following actions such as burning the Q'uoran and speech as presented in the recent movie, "Innocence of Muslims" would agree that it is time for the SCOTUS to look into deeming it illegal to do so.

Again, I am not a legal professional; however, it seems like it is time for SCOTUS to take a stand.


SCOTUS can help quell the tension

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 01:49:28 PM PDT

  •  Yes, because we all know that they wouldn't... (7+ / 0-)

    use that on the Unions the next time somebody gets a little rowdy during a strike.

  •  Hate speech is not free speech (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    Hate speech against Muslims should be outlawed.

  •  Let's see (14+ / 0-)

    Short Answer: No

    However, I would posit to you an analogy:

    If someone were to make a movie that mocked and ridiculed every single tenet of the Christian faith and, in reaction to that movie, a small - say 1000 strong - group of Christians burned down a Hollywood studio, killing a movie exec in the process - would you agree that that movie should be banned as well? And that the studio or director that produced that movie should bear some responsibility as well?

    My overall point is this: I will not stand by and let fanatics - of any religious or ideological stripe- enjoin a heckler's veto on our first amendment rights.

    If you are too stupid or blinded by your particular beliefs to kill people based on the non-violent speech, publication or media of others then I can't help you.

    End of story.

    Power-Worshipping Fascist

    by campionrules on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:10:28 PM PDT

    •  Exactly, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama, campionrules, BRog

      segregationist sheriffs in the South during the civil rights years attempted to ban demonstrations and parades based on the principle that they were protecting the safety of the demonstrators from the violence of those who would be provoked by the demostrations.

      It was not a good idea then, and it is not a good idea now.

      The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

      by Pirogue on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:29:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No, no, no (11+ / 0-)

    We cannot let the potential for violence by those offended by speech be the criteria to determine that speech should be suppressed.  

    Very simply, how would this differ from the following scenario.  Planned parenthood defends a woman's right to choose...enraging an anti-choice advocate...who then goes on to kill a doctor.  By your argument should not Planned Parenthood be prevented from exercising their free speech rights?  More importantly, do you think republican attorneys general in redstates wouldn't make that argument.

    Simple test of free speech...switch it to people you agree with.  If you are still OK with limiting speech, then perhaps it might be OK.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:11:59 PM PDT

  •  WoE - it doesn't quite work that way (8+ / 0-)

    First, some legislative body would have to pass a law making "hate speech" against Muslims a crime. Then someone with standing, often an actual defendant, would have to challenge the law, be found guilty, and it would have to work up through the appellate process to the SCOTUS. That would take several years. The SCOTUS can't just change the current legal standards, unless they have a case in front of them. They aren't legislators.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:13:32 PM PDT

  •  I hope you are prepared, if Christian conservative (8+ / 0-)

    s in this country react violently to something akin to The LIfe of Brian, or a South Park episode, to drag the likes of Monty Python and Trey Parker off to court.

    You are flat out wrong on this--100%.

    Muslims don't get special treatment.

    Anyway 'Clear and Present Danger' is no longer our standard.  Clear and Present Danger drew on the Sedition act.

    Go down that road, and you facilitate a REAL police state.

  •  Additionally (8+ / 0-)

    People that are using the concept of 'incitement to riot' or 'shouting fire in a crowded theatre' analogies - this is not an analogous situation in any way, shape or form.

    The entire globe is not a 'crowded theatre' - that this is so obvious a statement and yet people are still trying to utilize it as a argument is baffling to say the least.

    Incitement to riot: This restriction on free speech has very, very specific guidelines that help determine the immediacy of the called for incitement as well the likelihood of that same riot actually occurring.

    Burning a book or making a laughably low budget movie - not anywhere close.

    Power-Worshipping Fascist

    by campionrules on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:17:49 PM PDT

    •  Proximity has nothing to do with it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error

      Intent does.  There are enough strange occurances around this movie to make me think that this was deliberately engineered to enrage muslims and provoke violence, and if that could be proven, I think that someone could make charges stick.  Of course, that'd probably be pretty difficult.

      That's actually why shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater is illegal.  You made a false statement to provoke people into precipitous action which is likely to result in injury to those involved.  

      If you saw lights projected on the wall and thought that there -was- a fire, or smelt smoke, and there was no fire, then if you yelled 'fire!' you wouldn't have committed a crime -- you'd merely be wrong, because your intent was to warn people about the fire you thought existed.   Even though the results of that action -- panic and people trampled to injury and possibly death -- might be exactly the same, they are treated differently before the law.

  •  I disagree with the premise of this diary (13+ / 0-)

    If Muslims riot due to literature or other works of speech and the SCOTUS intervenes to outlaw/criminalize such speech it would mean that we would criminalize great literary minds and dissidents in the Muslim world.

    For instance, many Muslims rioted over the publication of the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie had to go into hiding after a fatwa declaring his murder was initiated by the Ayatollah.

    In such an instance, the world should side with Rushdie not the rioters or the Ayatollah in order to protect the free-expression of thought and artistic merit. I am glad that's what many in the world did.

    We should not reverse that.

    More importantly, religion should be open to criticism, mockery and satire, simply for the fact that we should not criminalize thoughts. There should be no crime called a thought crime.

    Also there are many Muslim dissidents who are silenced in many parts of the Muslim world. Examples include Mariwan Halabjee, Naser Abu Zayed (who passed away), etc. These dissidents tend to find a safe haven in the Western world, to express their ideas freely. That is one of the foundations of our society and we should not erode it.

  •  ok... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, stephdray

    so if i vow to be violent if you say something i don't like, that creates a "clear and present danger" that violence will happen if you say it, so you are prohibited from saying it because then YOU will be responsible for my violence.

    if it sounds stupid, it's because it is.

    sorry if you don't like what i think of or say about your religion, his religion, her religion, or their religion.  tough shit.  it's a bunch of made-up fairy tales, and if you don't like me saying so, however rudely and crudely i might say it--YOUR problem.  don't like the show? turn off the TV.

    •  On the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

      ...if someone went into a biker bar with a lot of choppers outside and started to speculate about how wearing leather and riding obnoxiously loud bikes was compensation for some sort of latent homosexuality ... don't you think that person would deserve the beating that they got?  Or at least, be partially responsible for it?

      If you know that a person -will- throw down if you call him a particular name, and you then do so, sure, it's the fault of the person who beat you -- but it's also your fault for creating a situation where you knew the other person would beat you.

  •  They won't (7+ / 0-)

    Because the "clear and present danger" standard was replaced by the "imminent lawless action" standard in Brandenburg v Ohio.

    I also think that if you can outlaw films that are offensive to Muslims, then you should be able to outlaw actions such as flag burning that are offensive to some people.  I prefer that both be legal rather than illegal.

  •  If we go down the path of banning so called "hate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, grollen

    speech," how do we define "hate speech?"  I could very easily see the GOP including "class warfare" or statements made by striking workers or protesters (i.e. Occupy Wall Street) against greedy corporations within the definition of "hate speech."

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself

    by bhouston79 on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:33:52 PM PDT

  •  Well-researched, thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm pretty sure whoever put the movie together knew that it would incite violence.  As you point out, it's happened before; predictably, it would again.  So yes, the Supreme Court could have declared the movie a "clear and present danger".

    By the way, it's also fraudulent "speech" in that it was perpetrated by a fraudster, who brought others into the project under fraudulent circumstances, to support a fraudulent theme.  The First Amendment does not enjoin prior restraint against fraudulent speech.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:39:30 PM PDT

  •  There's no case or controversy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, GeoGrl, enhydra lutris, VClib

    Someone would have to try to ban it first.

  •  Two words: "flag desecration." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  But that's different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, erush1345

    Nobody read the diary a few days ago on the Mountain Meadows Massacre?

    So in other words, the federal government should seize Kos' servers due to the numerous anti-Mormon diaries here, right?

  •  creepy fascism. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, stephdray

    no, we won't punish speech because some cretins can't tolerate mockery.

  •  aside from the injury (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, stephdray

    a measure like this would do to the principle of free speech, we would also have to consider how much of an incentive this would be for those offended to respond violently to thoughts they might find offensive.

    Does it make sense at all to grant to frenzied mobs the standing to define the limits of our free speech rights based on how easily they are moved to violence, especially given the motivation this sort of interpretation would present for lowering the threshold of moderation?

    The world is a den of thieves and night is falling. -Ingmar Bergman

    by Pirogue on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:57:14 PM PDT

  •  It is depressing to see how many Kossacks do not (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bevenro, enhydra lutris, VClib, stephdray

    grasp the value of our free speech rights.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:04:45 PM PDT

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, bevenro
    there is a CLEAR SCOTUS record that does limit free speech when and if the speech creates a "Clear and Present Danger".

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:50:49 PM PDT

  •  Great debate, thank you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:51:50 PM PDT

  •  This is an outrageously offensive suggestion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grollen, bevenro

    But I'm not going to kill you for having made it. Nor am I going to encourage my government to take legal action against you. Because it is our god-given right in this country to say anything that comes into our heads with very narrow exceptions.

    Like it or not, this execrable film is political speech. There is no current Supreme Court doctrine I can think of under which it can, or should, be banned.

    And, IMO, we do the most disrespect to Muslims and their religion if we attempt to pass laws that assume they are rabid animals or children incapable of enduring mockery like every other civilized people in the world.

    Stephanie Dray
    Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

    by stephdray on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 05:57:22 PM PDT

    •  It may be right and just to defend the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      movie as free speech, but I can't help wishing for some kind of  responsibility being assigned to the filmmaker for riots/murder.

       We know what happens when one burns a Koran, and when one does cartoons that mock (or even represent) Mohammad. I agree that this is not yelling 'fire' in a theater, because the whole globe is not a closed in theater. But it (the Moslem baiting) is a kind of theatrical production designed to get a brutal, violent reaction. The people who plan this kind of thing, from Koran burning to films depicting Mohammad in a pornographic manner, should be held accountable in the international community.


      "Cuz nothing says respect for human life better than guaranteeing that everybody with five synapses to rub together has access to 100-round magazines." Meteor Blades

      by sailmaker on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:16:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I would fight this (0+ / 0-)

        I have no respect for the people who made this film. None. But they are in no way responsible for the actions of people across the globe who choose to react violently in the face of expression.

        If the African American community can peacefully endure demonstrations of the Ku Klux Klan, then Muslims can suck it up. If we stand for anything in this country it's that the remedy for offensive speech is more speech.

        More Americans have died for this idea than were killed this week in the Middle East. We defend free expression. We defend it with blood. And if the international community attempted to exact a price for this film, we wouldn't tolerate it.

        You want to talk about inciting violence...

        In the face of such tragedy, it's natural to try to see what we could have done differently. I get it. But this is one thing we had no control over, and should never have any control over.

        Stephanie Dray
        Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

        by stephdray on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:47:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  But is it free speech (0+ / 0-)

    to specifically translate the movie into arabic (not the original language of the film) and specifically have it sent to Egyptian sites? It is not the film, but the intent of those who translated and directed it toward those audiences that it would most upset that should be prosecuted with intent to cause rioting.

    Many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign. --Bill Moyers

    by shanesnana on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:19:06 PM PDT

    •  the translation would seem to be to be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      fully protected.  If there were a proven conspiracy to coordination with Salafist loudmouths to directly incite violence, you may have a different situation.  But as it stands, this film was a pretext.

  •  Also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I believe THE ONION makes the point best with an outrageously provocative cartoon they published. I warn you, it is almost certain to offend you, but it's an important point:

    Stephanie Dray
    Author of Historical Fiction (Berkley Books)

    by stephdray on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 07:00:18 PM PDT

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