Thursday, September 30, 2010

LA Times Allows Editorial Opposing Jihadist Threats

The Los Angeles Times is not exactly known for its opposition to jihadists, and it loves free speech threatening violence, so long as the free speech comes from Islamofascists threatening anyone who dares to say something un-Islamic. But it did allow an article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Daniel Huff to go into print.

The writers are proposing that instead of merely lamenting death threats against those who "dishonor Islam and its Prophet," it's time to pass legislation making it a crime to threaten death or injury to those who criticize either Islam or jihad. Now considering that America has a First Amendment, that's not a slam-dunk. The wording of the statute would have to be very carefully drafted so as to avoid restricting speech which is merely offensive toward non-Muslims. There is the clear and present danger test to go with the "realistic and reasonable fear" tests that death threats produce.

Given that Ayaan Hirsi herself had to flee the nation that had elected her to office, and the brutal murder of Theo van Gogh for mocking Muslim extremists, it doesn't seem a stretch to believe that such statutes could be enacted without torturing the meaning of the First Amendment. Consider also Molly Norris, the Seattle cartoonist who merely suggested "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" as a way of expanding the number of potential victims to such a degree as to dilute the threat. She is currently in hiding, having changed her name and canceled her identity to escape the very real Muslim threats.

Liberals will of course oppose any such legislation, complete with their idiotic misunderstanding of the purposes, intent and wording of the First Amendment. The same people who have no problem supporting "hate speech statutes" that apply to their voting pool of non-victims are unalterably opposed to restricting Islamic death threats. Of course their lily-livered fear of being targets themselves is also a major factor in their support of jihadists. They feed the beast in the hopes that it will consume them last.

Likewise, liberals will fail to see that they themselves obtained legislation that curtailed speech which contained realistic threats of death or bodily harm during the height of the abortion rights wars. Facing the realistic threats of radical abortion foes, they got federal laws making it a crime to threaten abortion providers and clients and providing for civil damages. But the right to threaten critics of Islam is deeply embedded in their mindset, while their belief in the right of free speech for those critics is a hole in their belief system.

The legislation would not be a cure for crazed jihadists, but it could at least make a dent in their ability to threaten. Just because a statute can't stop all crime, that is not an excuse for passing no legislation at all. It would gain international attention, and some judgments might even be enforceable overseas. Those convicted in absentia would be hesitant to come to the United States to carry out their threats. Those making the threats on US soil would be immediately subject to the jurisdiction of American courts. The civil portion of the statute would allow plaintiffs to do some severe damage to the pocketbooks of terror purveyors, and would also vitiate the problem of our current Department of Justice being reluctant to prosecute bullies, gangsters and jihadists.

While the liberals complain about "chilling free speech," threats of death or great bodily harm have never been protected by the First Amendment. Yet the liberals are incapable of seeing the chilling effect death threats have on genuine free political and religious speech, the only kind actually guaranteed by the Constitution. Citizen juries are capable of distinguishing between an idle "I'm gonna kill ya" threat, and a "you have defamed the Prophet, and we are now ordering your death" threat.

Violent hate groups such as the Aryan Church and Neo-Nazis have been prosecuted and sued into near-oblivion because of their threats to blacks and Jews. Why should Islamic terrorists be immune? When a radical antiabortion group posted the names, photographs and addresses of abortion providers on "wanted" posters, even the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that to be a threat not protected by the First Amendment. There is no reason to assume that the US Supreme Court would hold any differently when faced with a clear and direct jihadist threat and legislation forbidding it.

Those of you who read my posts know that I am a strong advocate of the First Amendment right to be offensive as hell. I would protect without hesitation the right of Muslims to caricature Christ, and call Jews pigs. But when they threaten to kill Christians who criticize Islam or to kill Jews simply because they're Jews, I have no problem with law enforcement and the courts coming down very hard on them.


Tennessee Jed said...

I couldn't agree more with your sentiments, Hawk. I don't know who I hold in more distain, the people who put out such death threats or the liberal pussies who defend their doing so. BTW - Careful about your choice of pictures, amigo

Joel Farnham said...


I totally agree. I am appalled at the lack of backbone shown by the newspapers. At times it seems MSM are masochists in search of masters and actively reccommend it as a lifesyle.

Pam Geller has a site called Atlas Shrugs. She has an ongoing feature about honor-killings. It has pictures and names of women who have been killed in the furtherance of Islam. Every time some guy in the news who recommends to be easy on Islam, I slide over to Atlas Shrugs and read about the latest honor killing.

StanH said...

“They feed the beast in the hopes that it will consume them last.” That sums up our liberals very well Lawhawk. You do not appease a bully, you face the bully, and the bully will retreat. I guess this is a life lesson that totally escapes leftist world wide.

Libertarian Advocate said...

Excellent post LawHawk.

Just to elaborate a bit on your point that"[c]itizen juries are capable of distinguishing between an idle 'I'm gonna kill ya' threat, and a 'you have defamed the Prophet, and we are now ordering your death' threat."

Depending upon the source of the "threat", I suspect a reasonable jury could interpret "you have defamed the Prophet, and we are now ordering your death" differently.

If such a threat were to come from some aggrieved but otherwise ordinary Muslim laymen objecting to an anti-islamic rant, then it might be construed more in the nature of "I'm gonna kill ya" threat ... absent other indicia that the uttering layman intends to carry out such a threat.

Were an Imam to say "you have defamed the Prophet, and we are now ordering your death." this would far more credibly be construed as a Fatwa, which would have the power of an officially sanctioned religious edict and a death warrant rolled into one, and would be reasonably expected to be acted upon by a zealous member of the Ummah.

BevfromNYC said...

Excellent, though at first, I thought they were advocating for stifling anti-Muslim speech because it might cause Islamocists to commit violence. I guess because it came from the LA Times, I just assumed...

However, how does that really effect these threats from outside our borders? We can't stop American-born Al Qaeda terrorist Anwar al-Aulaqi from issuing death warrants while sitting in Yemen. And who is charged - the perpetators of these crimes or the issuer? Wouldn't this already be covered under "Hate Crime" legislation?

Would this cover soft threats like Imam Rauf's? He has alluded strongly to threats of Islamic violence if the Cordoba House is not built exactly as planned.

I get nervous when anyone advocates for laws to stifle any kind of speech...

Unknown said...

Tennessee: That's a picture of Groucho Marx and a couple of the Golden Girls. Did you think there was something offensive to Islam in it?

Unknown said...

Joel: I check in at Geller's site with some regularity, and have it bookmarked. Whenever I start to weaken in my resolve to point out the perniciousness of Islam in America, she reminds me that if anything, I'm being too soft.

Unknown said...

Stan: The cowardice of the liberals is matched only by their capacity for self-deluding themselves into believing that these death threats have anything to do with the First Amendment.

Unknown said...

Libertarian Advocate: Very good analysis. As I've mentioned several times on this site, over my career in trial, I was constantly amazed by the ability of very ordinary people with no legal training to sort out complicated facts and comprehend arcane law and come up with intelligent and thoughtful verdicts (and believe me, they weren't all in my client's favor). Your example of a moderate Muslim versus a rabid jihadist is exactly the kind of thing juries must deal with.

That common sense ability is what liberals have been trying to eliminate for years by creating absolutist law. In the law, as in general society, the perfect is the enemy of the good. People are entitled to fair trials, not perfect trials, despite what liberals would like you to believe.

Unknown said...

Bev: Those are excellent questions. As for foreign threats, the legislation can't do much unless the threatener or his group have attachable assets in the United States or in nations with reciprocal agreements with the US. And at least it would keep the offender off of US soil.

The concept of the legislation would be to go after the threateners whenever and wherever possible--and obviously, it won't always be possible. But as I mentioned, not being able to get to all of them is no excuse for not getting to those who can be prosecuted and/or sued.

Oddly, "hate crimes" legislation is of practically of no help at all. In the criminal arena, they are used largely as enhancement to sentencing rather than crimes in and of themselves. Moreover, most hate-crimes legislation is politically-correct garbage aimed at correcting the attitude of people who have non-threatening prejudices and who have not actually threatened anyone. That's the clear and present danger versus "offensive" speech that I discussed.

Rauf's statement is protected speech, however offensive. It is what is called a "conditional" threat, completely protected by over a thousand years of common law and 240 years of the Constitution. "If you do this," then "this is likely to happen" doesn't rise to the level of a direct threat, even though we all know exactly what he meant.

Unknown said...

Bev: I didn't address the al Awlaki threat above. Even Obama sees the necessity of taking him out. But it is a different situation. Despite the ACLU's objection to rubbing out American-born terrorists hiding out in war zones and terrorist strongholds, al Awlaki's threats, directions and strategy go beyond the scope of mere threatening speech and rise to the level of a national security threat.

That ceases to be a civil/criminal matter and becomes a military or State matter, to be dealt with extra-judicially. This is another one of those rare instances where I believe Obama's order to turn al Awlaki into a red stain on the sand is a good one. Drones away! Eat that, ACLU.

AndrewPrice said...

While I like the idea they advocate of making it a crime.... it is a crime to threaten to kill or injure someone -- assault. What they need to do is to convince prosecutors to start going for these people.

What they ought to do is add a punishment that if you're not a citizen, they should revoke your citizenship for making these kinds of Islamic threats.

Unknown said...

Andrew: That would certainly be one way of doing it. My main concern is that the good old lawyer's clear understanding of the genuine legal meaning of "assault" is not so clear to the general public, and could easily be used as an excuse not to pursue a threat at the office of the "nothing to see here" current DOJ.

Also,"assault" in most states and the federal jurisdiction means the reasonable belief that the victim is about to be the object of an immediate battery. That works nicely in a traditional assault case, but here the physical presence and "immediacy" element is somewhat missing. A good prosecutor could still make that work, but Holder???????

I like the concept of rescinding citizenship for naturalized citizens, but I would also add that in the al Awlaki matter, it couldn't be any closer to treason.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I don't think Holder would prosecute them if they were caught with plan to blow up the entire east coast.

I think the problem with "assault" is that it's not sexy. Prosecutors make their names by convicting people for racketeering, murder, rape. . . and that's about it. They think the public doesn't care about the rest.

I like the treason idea.

Writer X said...

I'm still trying to get over the shock of the LA Times allowing such an editorial. They must be desperate for new subscribers?

Given that we have a Justice Department that cares more about the daily ice cream servings for terrorists, do you think this legislation has legs?

Unknown said...

Andrew: And on TV cop/lawyer shows, they constantly say "assault" when they mean battery or assault and battery, which only adds to the confusion.

The recent testimony before the Judiciary Committee and the Voting Rights/Civil Rights Commission gives us a pretty good idea of what kind of "crime" Holder intends to prosecute.

I don't think Holder would prosecute Islamic terrorists if they did blow up the entire east coast. He would undoubtedly be visiting his friends in Chicago at the time of the attack.

Unknown said...

WriterX: If the legislation has any possibilities, it will not happen during a Democratic Congress, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Obama veto any such Republican bill citing the First Amendment (we all know what a great Constitutional scholar professor Obama is, and if you don't know, he'll be glad to tell you).

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