TN U.S. Attorney Ready to Clamp Down on Anti-Muslim Speech?

Southeast Tennessee U.S. Attorney Bill Killian and an FBI agent will speak at an American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee event in what he describes as “an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion.”
A Politico blogger suggests his comments to the Tullahoma News on the event – including a remark that “everybody needs to understand” internet postings can violate federal civil rights laws – translate into “vowing to use federal civil rights statutes to clamp down on offensive and inflammatory speech about Islam.”
An excerpt from the Tullahoma News story:
Killian said the presentation will also focus on Muslim culture and how, that although terrorist acts have been committed by some in the faith, they are no different from those in other religions.
He referred to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing in which Timothy McVeigh, an American terrorist, detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured more than 800.
…Killian referred to a Facebook posting made by Coffee County Commissioner Barry West that showed a picture of a man pointing a double-barreled shotgun at a camera lens with the caption saying, “How to Wink at a Muslim.”
Killian said he and Moore had discussed the issue.
“If a Muslim had posted ‘How to Wink at a Christian,’ could you imagine what would have happened?” he said. “We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.”
Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction.
“That’s what everybody needs to understand,” he said.

And from the Politico post:
While threats directed at individuals or small groups can lead to punishment, First Amendment experts expressed doubt that the government has any power to stop offensive material about Islam from circulating.
“He’s just wrong,” said Floyd Abrams, one of the country’s most respected First Amendment attorneys. “The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination. But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion.”
“And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is,” Abrams said.
A conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, accused the Obama administration of using federal law to specifically protect Muslims from criticism.

4 thoughts on “TN U.S. Attorney Ready to Clamp Down on Anti-Muslim Speech?

  1. V. Higgins

    Really? What Federal law? Note how they neglect to recite any specific Federal law. I keep hearing that any comments or social media postings in criticism of Islam is a violation of Federal law, yet no one notates the specific law. Well, I counter the Government’s claims with the following cases:
    The 1886 Supreme Court decision Norton v. Shelby County: “An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties, affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”
    The 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison: “All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.”
    This Government cannot enact laws, issue Executive Orders or sign treaties that violate our Constitutional rights, this has already been established by clear and concise SCOTUS decisions. Yet this Government does a mighty fine job of intimidating and bullying the American public who are unaware of SCOTUS decisions protecting and preserving our Constitutional rights. We need to educate ourselves in order to defend our rights….start reading SCOTUS decisions (case law), its amazing the stuff you can learn.

  2. ucjb

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    Bill Killian what part of the above statement do you not understand?

  3. Barbara Eisinger

    Mr. Killian, there is more criticism and censure against Christians in the US right now than there is against Islam. People are being indoctrinated to believe that it is wrong to criticize Muslims even when so many of them are acting out in radical ways. All Muslims are not radical, it’s true, but it is not an insignificant number who are. And that number is growing exponentially. As long as Muslims are targeting free people around the world, and other religions, you better believe we will be criticizing them. And for the record, criticizing is a lot less that what they do to us. The highest law in the land, the Constitution, gives us the right to criticize whatever we choose and prohibits you from exacting retribution against us for it. Criticism is not an action or even an incitement to action. You are the one completely out of line here.

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