Tag Archives: killian

U.S. Attorney’s Speech to Muslim Group Draws Protests

(Note: Expands and replaces earlier post)
MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee tried to explain tolerance to an audience in Manchester. Most wanted none of it.
William C. Killian’s speech was constantly interrupted by boos and heckling Tuesday evening at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center.
The meeting was billed as “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” and was sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported shouts of “traitor,” ”serpent,” and “go home” were directed at Killian by a crowd of more than 300 people. Others, who had staged a protest outside before the meeting, were angered at being turned away when the room reached capacity.
Some who remained outside hurled labels including “communist,” ”socialist” and “Muslim” at law enforcement officials who denied them entry.
Inside, Killian told the crowd hateful speech is allowed by law, but threats are not.

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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.