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Biden transition official wants speech restrictions, criminalization of burning of Qur’an

I’m not in favor of the burning of any book, and I believe that people ought to read and understand the Qur’an rather than burn it. However, note that Stengel is calling for legal “guardrails” against “speech that incites hate.”

If someone burns a Bible, no one cares. If someone burns a Qur’an, there are riots and death threats. So for Stengel, burning a Bible would not be “speech that incites hate,” but burning a Qur’an would be. Saying that “speech that incites hate” must be criminalized is tantamount to calling for the heckler’s veto to be enshrined in law. Stengel says: “Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another.”

So if Muslims riot over burned Qur’ans, we must outlaw burning Qur’ans. That would only signal to Muslims that they can get us to bend to their will by threatening violence, and ensure that we will see many more such threats. In Richard Stengel’s ideal world, non-Muslims are cowed into silence by Muslims who threaten to kill them if they get out of line, and by non-Muslim officials who react to the threats by giving the Muslims what they want.

Note also that Leftist and Islamic groups in the U.S. have for years insisted, with no pushback from any mainstream politician or media figure, that essentially any and all criticism of Islam, including analysis of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, is “hate speech” and “speech that incites hate.” Thus Richard Stengel will silence that as well, and the global jihad will be able to advance unopposed and unimpeded.

In a year or two I might have told you “I warned you this was coming,” but by then I probably won’t be able to.

“Joe Biden transition official wrote op-ed advocating free speech restrictions,” by Steven Nelson, New York Post, November 13, 2020:

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team leader for US-owned media outlets wants to redefine freedom of speech and make “hate speech” a crime.

Richard Stengel is the Biden transition “Team Lead” for the US Agency for Global Media, the US government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Stengel, an Obama administration alumnus, wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that US freedom of speech was too unfettered and that changes must be considered.

He wrote: “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

Stengel offered two examples of speech that he has an issue with: Quran burning and circulation of “false narratives” by Russia during the 2016 election.

“Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?” Stengel wrote.

“It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”…

“Since World War II, many nations have passed laws to curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred. These laws started out as protections against the kinds of anti-Semitic bigotry that gave rise to the Holocaust. We call them hate speech laws, but there’s no agreed-upon definition of what hate speech actually is. In general, hate speech is speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation,” Stengel wrote.

“I think it’s time to consider these statutes. The modern standard of dangerous speech comes from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and holds that speech that directly incites ‘imminent lawless action’ or is likely to do so can be restricted. Domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen and the El Paso shooter were consumers of hate speech. Speech doesn’t pull the trigger, but does anyone seriously doubt that such hateful speech creates a climate where such acts are more likely?”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Notre Dame Professor Gabriel Said Reynolds falsely claims that Qur’an teaches only Allah should take revenge

The fact that Gabriel Said Reynolds, who demonstrates here that he is either abjectly ignorant or willfully dishonest about Islam, is a professor of theology at Notre Dame shows how much our nation’s universities (and the Catholic Church) are dominated by fantasy and wishful thinking rather than being willing to deal with unpleasant realities. Reynolds is an academic laden with honors, employed at Notre Dame and published in the New York Daily News, not because he speaks the truth, with which he is either unacquainted or unwilling to disclose, but because he tells people what they want to hear: that Islam, if only it were properly understood, is actually a religion of peace. How it came to be that so many Muslims misunderstand the religion they follow so devoutly, he does not bother to explain.

Meanwhile, would the New York Daily News ever publish a comparably lengthy theological defense of Christianity? Not on your life.

Anyway, to make his case that in Islam, vengeance belongs to Allah alone, Reynolds quotes a number of Qur’an verses, but he doesn’t even mention or attempt to explain away others that disprove his case. There is actually a great support, passed over in silence by Reynolds here, in the Qur’an and Sunnah for the death penalty for blasphemy. It can arguably be found in this verse: “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.” (5:33)

But if you don’t think that verse justifies killing those who insult Islam, there is this: “Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment” (33:57)

Yes, he has cursed them both in this world and the hereafter. What does a curse in this world look like? Muslims are told to fight such people: “If they violate their oaths after pledging to keep their covenants, and attack your religion, you may fight the leaders of paganism – you are no longer bound by your covenant with them – that they may refrain” (9:12).

Not only that, but the Qur’an explicitly says that Allah will punish people by the hands of the believers: “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts.” (9:14-15)

There is more in the hadith. In one, Muhammad asked: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Muslims, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered, “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” When Muhammad said that he would, Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)

“A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.” (Sunan Abu-Dawud 38.4349)

Why doesn’t Gabriel Said Reynolds mention any of those passages?

“What radical Muslims get wrong about the Koran: Vengeance is reserved for God alone,” by Gabriel Said Reynolds, New York Daily News, March 1, 2020:

In the name of Allah, militant Muslims continue taking up arms against people they consider threats to their faith and way of life. But does it make theological sense for humans to pick up swords and guns to exact retribution in this life?

The Koran, the book those same Muslims purport to revere, says no….

The irony of blasphemy laws, and the tragedy of these attacks carried out in supposed defense of Islam, is that the Koran time and again insists that it is God’s right, and God’s right alone, to exact vengeance.

Allah does not need Muslims to step in and punish those who insult Him. In fact, Allah does not want Muslims to do so. The God of the Koran is clear: He is the only avenger of Islam.

The case of blasphemy laws in Islam is particularly peculiar in light of the example of Muhammad himself. The Koran describes how the unbelievers in his native city of Mecca disputed his claims of prophethood and insulted him.

Koran 68:51 describes how they accused him of insanity: “Indeed, the faithless almost devour you with their eyes when they hear this Reminder, and they say, ‘He is indeed crazy.’”

The Koran does not respond by demanding that the blasphemers be killed for their insolence. It simply affirms the claims of Muhammad.

Elsewhere in the Koran, the voice of God counsels Muhammad to be patient when faced with opposition. Koran 16:126 alludes to some persecution or affliction which Muhammad has suffered from the unbelievers.

The next verse, in response, suggests that Muhammad could strike back in moderation, but should simply endure the persecution patiently: “If you retaliate, retaliate with the like of what you have been made to suffer, but if you are patient, that is surely better for the steadfast.”

This does not mean that the idea of vengeance is foreign to the Koran. The question the Koran poses is not whether offenses against Islam and Muslims should be avenged, but who should do the avenging.

And the answer is consistent: “God.”

Remarkably, and if only Boko Haram and other Salafi-Jihadis would listen, the Koran even teaches this lesson specifically about Christians. In Sura 5, God asks some questions of Jesus about those who followed him, but Jesus does not demand that the wrongdoers be punished.

He leaves their fate in God’s hands: “If Thou chastisest them, they are Thy servants; if Thou forgivest them, Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise.”

The same lesson is taught about Muslims who are unfaithful to the laws of Islam. In chapter 5, verse 95, the Koran describes the laws of the pilgrimage to Mecca (known as the Hajj). But as for he who breaks the rules, the Koran gives no worldly punishment: “God will take vengeance on him, God is all-mighty, Vengeful.”

So what does divine vengeance look like in the Koran? Allah punishes those who offend Him in hell. The Koran not only describes paradise in vivid colors (as a place with food, drink, and women), it also describes hell in gruesome detail.

Angels of punishment will strike the damned from the front and the back. The damned will be condemned to drink boiling water and eat from a tree named Zaqqum whose fruit is like the heads of demons.

The Koran clearly considers this punishment enough for an unbeliever. Whereas the standard schools of Islam teach that someone who leaves the religion, an apostate, is to be killed, the only punishment for apostasy spoken of in the Koran is hell: “’Did you disbelieve after you had believed? Then taste the chastisement for that you disbelieved!’” (Quran 3:106).

The Koran also teaches that God need not wait for the afterlife to punish unbelievers. He is the lord of the universe and can intervene when He chooses.

A number of chapters in the Koran tell a series of tales, dubbed “punishment stories” by scholars, in which unbelieving peoples are punished for rejecting the prophet who is sent to them. Among these prophets are Biblical figures including Noah, Lot, and Moses, and others who seem to come from Arabian lore with names like Hud, Salih, and Shuʿayb.

In each story it is not the Prophet but God who intervenes….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

FRANCE: Girl, 16, receives death threats and ‘200 messages of pure hatred a minute’ for insulting Islam online

Celebrate diversity all you want. But is diversity going to celebrate you?

“French teenager in hiding after insulting Islam online,” by Adam Sage, The Times, January 24, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Police have told a French teenager to go into hiding after she received death threats for insulting Islam.

The 16-year-old has been advised to stay away from her lycée (sixth-form college) in southeast France after calls on the internet for her to be killed, raped or attacked.

The girl, named only as Mila, is understood to have been told by officials that she should avoid being seen in public until the controversy fades. She is being given psychological support by the local prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors said two separate criminal inquiries were under way, the first to track the authors of threats to kill and rape the teenager, the second to determine whether her comments amounted to the offence of hate speech….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Vice President Pence demands U.S. ally Saudi Arabia release Raif Badawi, imprisoned for insulting Islam

Vice President Mike Pence has called on U.S. ally Saudi Arabia to “release Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for reportedly insulting Islam.”

In the midst of Saudi Arabia telling the world that it is modernizing, Raif Badawi remains in jail, and in August of last year, Raif Badawi’s sister Samar — among other women’s rights activists — were rounded up and arrested for criticizing officials in Saudi Arabia. Samar was only heard from last month, when she appeared in court along with other human rights defenders. “Under Saudi Arabia’s terrorism law, the activists face 20 years in prison. Amnesty International’s Philippe Nassif said he was concerned the activists would not have a fair trial or due process, and urged the United States to take action for their release.”

Pence also stated of other jailed human rights defenders:

“The United States calls upon the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the freedom of conscience and let these men go.”

These countries have no conscience to begin with, nor freedoms. Mauritania is still holding black slaves, Pakistan is globally infamous for its cruel Islamic blasphemy laws, and Saudi Arabia is exporting its Wahhabi ideology to madrassas and mosques globally.  No one can expect any response to Pence’s call for religious freedom in such countries. However, it will be interesting to see how Wahhabi Saudi Arabia decides to respond to Pence’s demand to release Badawi, given the Saudi-US alliance and Saudi Arabia’s boasting about becoming modernized.

US demands Saudi Arabia release ‘critic of Islam,’” Al Jazeera, July 18, 2019:

US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called out ally Saudi Arabia for the suppression of religious liberties and urged it to release Raif Badawi, a blogger imprisoned for reportedly insulting Islam.

Pence’s highlighting of Badawi’s ill-treatment comes in light of US legislators accusing the Trump administration of failing to act against the kingdom’s leaders for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an address to the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom conference at the State Department, Pence noted the detention of religious dissidents in Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

“All four of these men have stood strong in defence of religious liberty despite unimaginable pressure, and the American people stand with them,” Pence said.

“The United States calls upon the governments of Eritrea, Mauritania, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to respect the freedom of conscience and let these men go.”

Republican and Democratic legislators – citing evidence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the Khashoggi case, and incensed over the civilian death toll from the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands – have ramped up efforts to block President Donald Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

The CIA has determined with “medium to high confidence” the Saudi crown prince, considered the de facto ruler of the kingdom, ordered the grisly killing of Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate last year.

1,000 lashes
Badawi, who set up the Free Saudi Liberals website, was arrested in June 2012 for offences that included cybercrime and disobeying his father – an act considered an offence in Saudi Arabia.

The prosecution had demanded he be tried for apostasy, which carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but a judge dismissed that charge……

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Has Vatican newspaper converted to Islam?

The Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano ran a piece with the subtitle, “Shooting in Texas at an exhibition of blasphemous cartoons.”

Blasphemous? They’re blasphemous according to Islamic law, because Islam asserts that Muhammad is a prophet. So is the Vatican now submitting to Islamic law? Merriam-Webster defines “blasphemy” as “great disrespect shown to God or to something holy.” So does the Vatican now think Muhammad is holy? Has L’Osservatore Romano converted to Islam? Is Muhammad now considered a prophet by the Catholic Church, like Isaiah or Jeremiah or Ezekiel? Will he get a feast day on the Roman Catholic calendar?

They could have used any other word — offensive, tasteless, odious, whatever. But using the word “blasphemous” sends a hugely misleading message.

Meanwhile, here is an excellent evisceration of the idea that L’Osservatore Romano also puts forward — that our free speech event was needlessly provocative, throwing gasoline on the fire: “Do I Have to Draw You a Picture? The Cartoon Wars Come to America,” by William Kilpatrick, Catholic World Report, May 6, 2015:

…That brings us back to the L’Osservatore Romano article. Its authors decry provocation—“wanting to throw gasoline on the fire”—but have they paused to consider that many Catholic beliefs and practices are also provocative to Muslims? In Saudi Arabia, Bibles and rosaries are considered provocative and no churches are allowed. In some Muslim countries, ringing church bells is considered provocative. In other places it is provocative to rebuild a church that is falling down—so provocative that Christians have lost their lives for the offense. In still other Muslim areas it is considered provocative if a Christian won’t pay the jizya tax, and he can be killed in consequence. In some parts of the Muslim world, simply being a Christian is sufficient provocation for murder.

A large part of the “provocative intent” of the Garland exhibit is to prevent such things from ever happening here. It’s a reminder that the sharia ban on blasphemy is meant to apply not just in Iran and Arabia, but everywhere. Everyone is expected to submit. The event and its aftermath also serves to remind us that it’s not a good idea to let the most violent among us determine the limits of free speech. If the Muhammad Art Exhibit is dismissed as incendiary and needlessly provocative, it means that Muslim extremists get to call the shots about what is and is not a permissible form of expression in America. Today it will be Muhammad cartoons that offend. And tomorrow? Well, it could be anything, because Muslim radicals seem to have an unlimited capacity for being offended. It could even be church bells or rosaries.

Some will say that Geller and Spencer are needlessly stirring up trouble. In reality, they are saving us from much greater trouble down the road by flushing out the danger we face while there is still time to face it down. If Americans don’t pay attention to wake-up calls of the drive-by-jihadist variety, they will wake up someday to find that the time for defending their freedoms has already passed.

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Senator Avella “offended” at Muslim Parade in NYC

NY State Senator Avella

On Sunday, September 23, 2012 not far from Ground Zero where terrorists attacked the United States on 9/11, American Muslims were filmed calling for the end of freedom of speech and praising suicide bombings. These comments come just days after American Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three others, two former Navy SEALS, were murdered in Benghazi.

Democrat New York State Senator Tony Avello came face-to-face with Muslim speakers attacking America and he did something which few people have the courage to do. He left in protest.

After listening to several Muslim speakers condemning America and calling for an end to freedom of speech, Senator Avella got up from his seat as a VIP Marshall of the 27th Annual New York Muslim Day Parade and left the stage. Over one thousand Muslims in the audience and the large group of New York City Muslim community leaders appeared shocked that the Senator would walk off the stage just before it was his time to speak.

It appears Senator Avella had enough of the verbal attacks against America by “moderate” American Muslim dignitaries, which he afterwards characterized as “offensive”.

While these American Muslim speakers have the First Amendment right to condemn America, Senator Avella also has the right to exit the stage. New York Senator Avella took a very public stand on the freedom of speech issue just 12 days after the 11th Anniversary of 9/11.

Watch this video of two of the speakers at the 27th Annual New York Muslim Day Parade. The first calls for blasphemy laws and the second, an American Muslim woman, praises suicide bombings. Note Senator Avella leaving the stage and then captured on video saying he was “offended” by the remarks of these speakers:

Senator Tony Avella began his public career over 20 years ago as an aide to New York City Council Member Peter Vallone, Sr. Senator Avella later served as an aide to Mayors Koch and Dinkins and as Chief of Staff to the late State Senator Leonard Stavisky and to State Senator Toby Stavisky.

UPDATE:

Imam Shahbaz Chisti Sahib from the Coney Island Brooklyn Mosque and the Marshall of Muslim Day Parade 2012 leads crowd in Nazi Style salute Sunday, September 23, 2012 in New York, NY: