Tag Archives: Islam

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.

Tea Party Coalition Complains About Haslam to GOP Executive Committee

Conservative blogger David Oatney says a coalition of Tea Party groups has sent a letter to the Republican State Executive Committee critical of Gov. Bill Haslam and urging action be taken against him. The letter, reproduced in part by Oatney, is along the same lines as an earlier critique of Haslam in resolutions adopted by eight or so county GOP orgaizations.
Excerpt:
Two of the more serious and imminent dangers currently being advanced within the halls of government are advocacy for Political Islam/Sharia and the United Nations’ Agenda 21 on private property rights. The current promotion of both of these agendas by Governor Haslam and members of his administration has led the Republican Party of Tennessee into a crisis of conflict. It is not unreasonable to posit that Governor Haslam’s actions in this regard are fueling a widespread and rapidly growing lack of confidence not only in his leadership, but in the Republican Party in Tennessee by default.
…Governor Haslam’s political stature is not more important than the safety and freedom of our state, nor even the future of the Republican Party in Tennessee. It would be most unfortunate if Governor Haslam – or others within the Haslam Administration – interpret inaction on the part of the State Executive Committee as constituting tacit approval of his actions, as this may well encourage further violations of our principles.

Oatney opines that there is some reason for concern about Islamic actions, but that the GOP SEC can’t really do anything about it.
As Governor, Haslam serves as the de facto party leader Statewide, and unless he renounces his Republican status or works to assist the Democratic Party in advancing its political fortunes in an open way (such as Kent Williams did in being elected Speaker of the House in 2009), the SEC is not in a position to openly question his decisions, especially in regard to hiring or firing-that is the job of groups such as the tea party to do, along with other Republicans who serve in the General Assembly and other elected government positions.
…One State Executive Committee Member that this writer spoke with today said “the concerns being raised in this letter are legitimate and real, but the primary concern of the SEC in an election year is to do whatever we can to help the Republican presidential nominee, and to retain the Republican majority in the General Assembly this November. This isn’t really our territory, but if we address it at all it will not be until after the election..”

Mosque Ruling Brings No Cheers from Open Government Advocates

By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A court ruling that sets higher standards for a central component of the Tennessee’s open meetings law hasn’t drawn loud cheers from government transparency advocates.
In part that’s because the legal effort to stop construction of a mosque in Rutherford County is widely seen as being driven by fear of Muslims. But some good government groups also think the county government didn’t do anything wrong.
Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew ruled May 29 that county officials violated the state’s Sunshine Law by not providing adequate public notice of the meeting where the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s new building was approved.
Corlew’s order does not require greater notice for all meetings in Rutherford County or even all meetings of the Planning Commission but specifically refers to meetings that involve either the Islamic Center or “further matters of significant public interest.”

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Islam Critic Training Law Enforcement Officers on Islam

A former FBI agent who claims Nashville’s mosques have no legal right to exist is training the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office about Islam and the threats of terrorism, according to The Tennessean.
John Guandolo, vice president of the Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Engagement Group, is leading training being held at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro. He spoke at an anti-Shariah law event at Cornerstone Church in Madison on Nov. 11, calling local mosques front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood with no right to exist.
“They do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,” Guandolo said then.
Rutherford Sheriff Robert Arnold said his department simply wants to learn about Muslim culture.
“There are not many classes out there for anything when it comes to Muslims … but this training isn’t just about that, it has many other components to it,” he said. “My stance is and my office’s stance is, we are not here to pick sides. I am here to protect the people of this county, and I am never going to waiver from that.”

Ketron Distributes Video on Islamic Extremists in Nashville

The state senator behind an anti-terrorism bill that Muslims say unfairly targets them distributed a video to lawmakers that accuses Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University and a Nashville mosque of tolerating Islamic extremists, reports Chas Sisk.
Sen. Bill Ketron gave his 32 fellow senators a DVD that claims to show that Carlos Bledsoe, a Memphis man and convert to Islam accused of killing an Army recruiter, was radicalized in Nashville.
Ketron distributed the video as state lawmakers are considering his Material Support to Designated Entities Act, which give the governor and the state attorney general new powers to shut down organizations that they deem to promote terrorism.
The video takes aim at a mosque that has played a prominent role in organizing opposition to his bill. It also raises questions about Ketron’s statements that his legislation is not meant to single out Muslims, opponents say. The video claims that Vanderbilt and TSU have turned a blind eye to “radical ideology” being taught in classes led by an instructor affiliated with the mosque.

House Panel OKs ‘Shariah Bill’

(Note: Updates, expands and replaces earlier post.)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A contentious proposal that would authorize the governor and attorney general to decide whether an entity is a terrorist organization advanced in the House on Tuesday after assurances from the sponsor that the measure does not target Muslims.
The legislation (HB1353) sponsored by Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma passed the House Judiciary Committee 12-4 on Tuesday and now goes to the House Finance Committee.
The companion bill was approved later in the day, 6-3, by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Islam a ‘Political-Militaristic Religion’?

A Columbia Muslim says a state lawmaker’s e-mail response to a constituent’s criticism is further proof his faith is under attack on Capitol Hill, according to the Columbia Daily Herald.
State Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, called Islam in the e-mail a “political-militaristic-religion” responsible for 10 out of the last 11 terrorist attacks on Americans.
Womick wrote he has studied Islam and its code known as Shariah for nine years, and he advised others to do the same before turning a blind eye and accusing others of intolerance.
“Ignorance is bliss, and stupidity can get you killed,” Womick wrote. “I suggest you educate yourself on both sides of the issue.”
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would authorize the governor and attorney general to designate an entity “a domestic terrorist” or “a foreign terrorist organization.” Initially, the measure mentioned Islam and Shariah by name, but it was later amended to strip any reference to a religion.
Daoud Abudiab, a Columbia Muslim whose mosque was torched by white supremacists in 2008, said Womick’s written remarks show lawmakers are really wanting to target the state’s Muslims, despite their assurances that is not the case.