The leading Muslim organization in Germany called on the government to appoint a Federal Commissioner to fight anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, including so-called ‘hate comments’ on the Internet. That would raise First Amendment concerns, if an Islamophobia czar were appointed in the United States, but we’re only talking about Germany - so no worries, right?
Let’s talk about two other things that happened closer to home this week. First, Democrats in Minnesota asked the legislature to appoint a statewide “Task Force on Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism” to be chaired by Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s Muslim Attorney General or someone appointed by him. Second, Michigan’s Attorney General announced plans to ramp up hate crime prosecutions there and the Civil Rights Department will be documenting hate incidents that - get this - don’t rise to the level of a crime or even a civil infraction. Michigan’s moves are based on a report from the financially self-interested and now-discredited Southern Poverty Law Center claiming to find a six percent rise in the number of hate and extremist groups in the state. Anti-sharia groups are on that list. How would you like to be in Michigan’s new hate speech database and have the government come to your door telling you that you need to get your mind right?
Michele Bachmann said she has no doubt the task force in Minnesota, if created, would recommend authoritarian measures to curb ‘hate speech’ in the state. The goal is the insertion of Islamic blasphemy law into the state code, she said. In case you don’t know, Islamic notions of blasphemy are very different from defamation law in America. In America, truth is generally a defense to a charge of defamation. But in Sharia law, blasphemy is whatever offends a Muslim. If you say, ‘Muhammad was a pedophile’, Muslims will take offense and you will have committed blasphemy, even it’s true. It’s the ultimate heckler’s veto - find one Muslim anywhere in the world who is offended by your speech and your speech is no longer protected. Also in America, under current law, hate speech is protected by the First Amendment. Adopt Sharia blasphemy law and you can pretty much say goodbye to free speech. Free speech advocates are worried that the task force will recommend legislation penalizing hate speech in Minnesota and adopting sharia speech codes for the state, pointing to probable members of the task force from CAIR, which has ties to terror, and Muslim Brotherhood front groups.
We have kind of a paradox at the moment. We’re living in a golden age of free speech, as far as court decisions go. There have been very strong First Amendment cases coming out of the Supreme Court in recent years - Citizens United and Janus, for example. At the same time, support for free expression in society overall is being attacked by Muslims, the SPLC, and others. Conservative speakers aren’t allowed on many campuses, and that’s just fine with a distressingly high percentage of college students. We either do a better job of educating people why we have the First Amendment, or we’ll have more moves like those in Michigan and Minnesota which would have government bureaucrats deciding the parameters of acceptable speech. We will have arrived in Germany, where the truth is now hate speech and can land you in jail.