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Islamophobia and the Threat to Free Speech

My latest book, Islamophobia and the Threat to Free Speech, is available now from Center for Security Policy Press.


CLICK HERE TO ORDER ISLAMOPHBIA AND THE THREAT TO FREE SPEECH


It shows how the demonization of foes of jihad violence and Sharia oppression was a dry run for the Left’s attempt now to silence and criminalize all opposition to its agenda.

“Free speech, the cornerstone of our freedom, hangs by a thread. This book is an essential read to understand how we reached this point, and the key role ‘Islamophobia’ played in normalizing the assault on our most basic right to free expression. May it serve as a wake up call for us to exercise this right, and prevent Trojan Horse blasphemy laws of all types from superseding our freedoms before it is too late.” — Noor bin Ladin, writer and advocate dedicated to defending freedom and those threatened by the adherents of oppressive ideologies

“Robert Spencer provides a chilling account of the ongoing campaign against free speech. He reveals a sinister timeline of decades of deliberately dismantling the most important right we have. It requires much courage to disseminate that truth. As restrictions continue to gain ground in the free world, this book should inspire all to protect freedom of speech and to stand up to the policy of criminalizing words in order to silence us. And make it unequivocally clear that we will never be silenced.” — Geert Wilders

“The most important war that people face today is the global war to limit, and ultimately destroy, the freedom of speech, the indispensable foundation of any free society,” begins best-selling author Robert Spencer, noting the successful “cancellation” of the elected president of the United States by big tech social media companies.

How did we get to this point where presidents, college professors, business leaders, and of course regular citizens face silencing (and worse) at the hands of political zealots?

In Islamophobia and The Threat to Free Speech, Spencer argues that America, and the larger Western world was primed and prepared to surrender its free speech in a campaign that goes back more than three decades,

The unprecedented and disquieting acceptance by so many on the Left of the need to force their foes into silence and deny them access to the primary means of communication today did not spring up out of nowhere in 2020. In fact, the groundwork for it had been laid for it, and the pattern set, years before, in the treatment of opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women and others. Long before “cancel culture” became a common phrase, the Left and the establishment media canceled foes of jihad terror, defaming, demonizing, marginalizing, and deplatforming them without any rational consideration of the points they made.

Spencer takes the history of the war on free speech back to the 1989 death fatwa pronounced upon author Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then takes us through how a once robust western tradition was steadily undermined by international pressure, jihadist violence, and U.S government and corporate influence. He traces the rise of the “new brownshirts” on college campuses who have used techniques of slander, disruption and threats to turn bastions of free expression into indoctrination centers.

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

OPPRESSION: Facebook Now Sending Messages to Some Users Asking About ‘Extremist’ Friends

Geller Report readers cannot share our links to Facebook. This is an overthrow of our Constitution, our freedoms, are very way of life. It’s war.

This is a form of domestic terrorism. Facebook, YouTube, Google, Pinterest, Twitter, et al are the real extremists, serving terrorists that align with the likes of BLM, Antifa and jihad terrorists.

Facebook Now Sending Messages to Some Users Asking About Potentially ‘Extremist’ Friends

Some Facebook users have recently reported being sent warning messages from the social media giant relating to “extremists” or “extremist content.”

By: Jack Phillips, The Epoch Times, July 1, 2021:

“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” one message reads. “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support.”

The message also provides a button to “Get Support,” which leads to another Facebook page about extremism.

Redstate editor Kira Davis, who said was sent a screenshot of the message from a friend, wrote: “Hey has anyone had this message pop up on their FB? My friend (who is not an ideologue but hosts lots of competing chatter) got this message twice. He’s very disturbed.”

And others reported getting a warning that they may have been “exposed to harmful extremist content recently.” The message then states that “violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment,” similarly offering a “Get Support” option.

“Facebook randomly sent me this notice about extremism when I clicked over to the app. Pretty weird. … The Get Support button just goes to a short article asking people not to be hateful,” another user on Twitter wrote.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times on July 1 that the company is currently running the warnings as a test to some users.

“This test is part of our larger work to assess ways to provide resources and support to people on Facebook who may have engaged with or were exposed to extremist content, or may know someone who is at risk. We are partnering with NGOs and academic experts in this space and hope to have more to share in the future,” the spokesperson said, without elaborating.

The messages come after lawmakers have repeatedly targeted and pressured CEOs of big tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, essentially accusing them of allowing “extremism,” misinformation, and cyberbullying on their platforms. Such social media companies have faced criticism from Republicans who have accused them of censoring conservative voices and limiting the reach—or outright blocking—content that portrays Democrat political figures in a negative light.

Conservatives, including former President Donald Trump, have argued for the revocation of Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which serves as a liability shield for online publishers. However, the movement to rein in Big Tech was dealt a blow earlier this week when a federal judge tossed a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against Facebook that had accused the firm of engaging in anti-competitive practices.

These warning messages, however, are sure to trigger even more negative feedback against Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, over fears that the company is attempting to stifle free speech. On Twitter, as screenshots of the warning messages were being shared en masse on July 1, many users expressed concern over the direction Facebook is taking.

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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FASCISM: Simon & Schuster Employees Demand Publisher Drop Books They Disagree With

Over 200 employees of Simon & Schuster have gone full fascist, signing a petition calling on the publishing giant to stop providing a platform for everyone except fellow leftist fascists. The haters of the freedom of speech made three demands:

  1. Cancel the two-book deal with Mike Pence and do not sign any more book deals with former members of the Trump administration.
  2. End Simon & Schuster’s distribution deal with Post Hill Press [which publishes conservative books].
  3. Commit to ongoing reevaluations of all clients, authors, distribution deals, and all other financial commitments that promote white supremacist content and/or harm the aforementioned marginalized communities.

The fascists claimed that “when S&S chose to sign Mike Pence, we broke the public’s trust in our editorial process, and blatantly contradicted previous public claims in support of Black and other lives made vulnerable by structural oppression. Simon & Schuster has chosen complicity in perpetuating white supremacy by publishing Mike Pence and continuing to distribute books for Post Hill Press, including predator Matt Gaetz’s FIREBRAND. By choosing to publish Mike Pence, Simon & Schuster is generating wealth for a central figure of a presidency that unequivocally advocated for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia, misogyny, ableism, islamophobia, antisemitism, and violence. This is not a difference of opinions; this is legitimizing bigotry.”

Of course. No dissent from the left is a legitimate “difference of opinions,” because leftists see the world in a way that religious fanatics throughout history would find familiar: they alone have the vision of what is good and just, and since all those outside the fold are ignorant and evil, they have no rights that the arbiters of what constitutes acceptable opinion are bound to respect.

So far, however, Simon & Schuster’s chief executive Jonathan Karp has shown himself to be among the unredeemed. Karp reminded the fascists in his employ that the job of a publishing house was to allow for “a diversity of voices and perspectives.” Diversity! Karp’s choice of words must have driven the petitioners up the wall, because like all leftists, they are no doubt extremely proud of their commitment to “diversity” in all forms except, of course, a genuine diversity of thought. Black and brown and queer and trans voices and all the rest are welcome among them, as long as they all think the same way and say the same thing. But here was Karp gently making it clear that the petitioners weren’t really in favor of diversity in any meaningful way. “We come to work each day to publish, not cancel,” he said, “which is the most extreme decision a publisher can make.”

For that he will likely be canceled himself before too long.

The American left long ago embraced authoritarianism and fascism, and is increasingly intolerant of any point of view other than its own. Note that the petitioners included in its laundry list of denunciations the spurious propaganda neologism “Islamophobia.” “Islamophobia” is an illegitimate conflation of two distinct phenomena: crimes against innocent Muslims, which are never justified, and honest analysis of the motivating ideology of jihad terror, which is always necessary. It is inconceivable that anyone would want to publish a book calling for attacks on innocent Muslims or any innocent people, but there are many books discussing the motivating ideology of jihad terrorism.

Islamic advocacy groups and their leftist allies have been insisting for years that such books, too, constituted “Islamophobia.” Such analyses are what these fascists at Simon & Schuster want to stamp out. If the left succeeds in consolidating power, it will be impossible to publish, and likely illegal to enunciate publicly, any opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women and others, for there is no example of any such opposition not being considered “Islamophobic.”

The fascist employees also demanded that Simon & Schuster cut ties with my publisher, Post Hill Press (my last six books have been or are in the process of being published under Post Hill’s imprint, Bombardier Books), with which Simon & Schuster has a distribution arrangement. The petition libelously asserts that Post Hill “openly supports and normalizes violence against minors, Black women, and all Black people by individuals and the state.” This is, of course, not remotely true. It is how left-fascists lie in order to demonize and destroy their opponents. Although Karp has rejected this petition, expect to see much more of this sort of thing. We have not yet reached the high tide of left-fascism in America today.

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

Turkey blasts Geert Wilders ‘anti-Islam’ tweet to start Ramadan

To highlight the jihad during Ramadan, Geert Wilders released a tweet which drew stinging attack from Turkey — illustrating yet again the validity of Geert Wilder’s warnings about Islam.

Listen to clip HERE.

For many, Ramadan is the month of jihad:

month of holy war and death for Allah. It is a month for fighting the enemies of Allah and God’s messenger, the Jews and their American facilitators.” — Qaedat al-Jihad

Quiet prayer during Ramadan, needless to say, isn’t the issue, but alerting people about the heightened threat of jihad during Ramadan is a big issue. And beyond Ramadan, the global jihad against infidels is a critical issue, far too often avoided. That includes the stealth invasion of the West, which includes the “Islamophobia” subterfuge, which is intended to beat down critics of Islam.

Turkish officials reacted angrily, accusing Wilders of being “racist.” What race is Islam again? Wilders’ critics keep on proving him correct, from their reaction to his criticisms, to the widespread reaction by Muslims to the Muhammad cartoon that was shown in the classroom by French teacher Samuel Paty (who was beheaded for it). Such a mentality (which is pervasive) isn’t compatible to the values of the Netherlands, and not only the Netherlands, but the entire Western world, in which freedom of thought and speech have been protected, at least up to now.

Turkey condemns Dutch lawmaker’s anti-Islam tweet

Al Jazeera, April 14, 2021:

Turkish officials reacted angrily to far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders after he made disparaging remarks about Islam at the start of Ramadan.

On Monday, Wilders, chairman of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, shared a short video clip on Twitter attacking Islam and the Muslim holy month.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party spokesman Omer Celik on Wednesday accused Wilders of having “a racist and fascist mind”.

“Enemies of Islam also hate migrants, poor people, needy people and foreigners,” he said on Twitter.

Ali Erbas, the head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, condemned Wilders’ remarks as “unacceptable”.

“I invite the international community to a conscious struggle against the racist mentality that incites Islamophobia and targets social peace,” Erbas said.

Turkey’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also condemned Wilder’s remarks.

“Heartless @geertwilderspvv is racist, fascist and extremist. Islam condemns all. Stop racism,” Altun said on Twitter, tagging the Dutch lawmaker….

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

Arizona community college must pay $155,000 to professor it forced to apologize for criticizing Islam

A slight pause on American academia’s out-of-control-freight-train rush to submit to Sharia. But the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is still flogging this case in court, hoping to use it to destroy the freedom of speech and criminalize criticism of Islam.

Arizona community college to pay $155K settlement for directing professor to apologize for Islamic terrorism quiz question

by Katlyn Patton, FIRE, April 13, 2021:

Maricopa County Community College District will pay professor Nicholas Damask $155,000 in exchange for his agreement not to sue district personnel, who last year violated his expressive rights in an attempt to quell criticism of his quiz questions on social media. The district also pledged to strengthen its commitment to academic freedom.

Damask, who teaches political science at Scottsdale Community College, came under fire on social media last May after a student complained that quiz questions in Damask’s world politics course were offensive to the student’s religious beliefs. Damask said the college suggested it would require him to meet with an Islamic religious leader to review the content of his course because a student complained that three of Damask’s quiz questions about Islamic terrorism were “in distaste of Islam.”

In response, the college directed Damask to issue an apology — pre-written for him by a communications staff member — and implied that he would be investigated. The college ultimately backed down after an urgent letter from FIRE.

Now, the district is finally paying for SCC’s unconstitutional knee-jerk reaction to online criticism….

lawsuit brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations remains pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (A district court judge dismissed the lawsuit in August for failure to state a claim, and CAIR appealed.)…

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

Tennessee lawyer files free speech lawsuit after being fired for ‘anti-Islam’ and pro-Trump tweets

Jerry Morgan gave the details of this case in an exclusive Jihad Watch article HERE. Get more background on this case HERE, where Robert Spencer stated:

What disparaging remarks did Morgan make? Did he say that Muslims were “the most vile of created beings”? No, that’s what the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, calls non-Muslims (98:6). Did he call Muslims “apes and pigs”? No, that’s what the Qur’an calls Jews (2:63-65, 5:59-60, 7:166). Did he say Muslims were “unclean”? No, that’s what the Qur’an says of non-Muslims (9:28).

So what egregious statements did Morgan actually make?

As it turned out, he has been forced to resign for “praising President Donald Trump for ‘stopping Muslims’ and ‘talking big against Muslims,’” and “said Islam was not a peaceful religion and made comments linking the faith with violence and ‘Muslim terrorists.’”

To our dhimmi overlords, however, all that matters is that anything offensive to Islam/Muslims, even if it is true, must be shut down in accordance with Sharia blasphemy laws, which are well on the way to becoming mainstream in American society, despite the First Amendment. Jerry Morgan is one of the few who have had the courage to fight back, and we wish him well.

“Tennessee: State Lawyer Fired for ‘Anti-Islam’ Tweets Files Speech Suit,” 

Bloomberg Law, April 6, 2021:

An attorney alleges the Tennessee Supreme Court’s board of professional responsibility unlawfully fired him for posting Tweets that an opposing party said displayed anti-Muslim bias, arguing his social media posts were constitutionally protected political speech similar to that of former president Donald Trump.

The board of professional responsibility regulates licensed Tennessee attorneys. Jerry Morgan handled appeals to the state supreme court regarding attorney discipline, according to his complaint filed Monday at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Attorney Brian Manookian, who was undergoing disciplinary proceedings, filed a motion to disqualify Morgan, claiming he was an anti-Muslim bigot. Manookian cited multiple Tweets Morgan had posted that, among other things, praised then-candidate Trump for “talking about the #1 issue of our time—stopping Muslims” and disparaged Muslims and Democrats.

Manookian claimed Morgan had an anti-Islam bias that could prejudice him, because his wife was Muslim and his children were being raised in a Muslim household.

Morgan says his posts were “indisputably political in nature,” concerning matters that were controversial but part of the national debate. “Many were views publicly expressed by Trump” and agreed to by the Tennessee voters who “overwhelmingly” voted for him in 2016, Morgan says. There were no accusations against him of biased conduct in the Manookian case or any other, Morgan claims.

Morgan was fired in December. He sued the board and chief disciplinary counsel Sandra Garrett, alleging he was unconstitutionally punished for Tweets that were made in his private capacity and were about matters of public importance.

Cause of Action: First Amendment.

Relief Requested: Damages, injunctive relief….

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

Twitter Bans Three More Dissenters

The social media platform has no problem boasting about interfering in elections for the Left—but a big problem with people objecting that it was done.


They’re going to silence us all, eventually, if they can. On Saturday, the sanctimonious and hypocritical censors of Twitter came for Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, radio host Wayne Allyn Root, and freedom activist Pamela Geller. Their crime? It appears to have been the heinous act of skepticism toward the official line, specifically, their refusal to accept at face value the official line about the 2020 election.

Root said:

“I am in shock. It appears to be a permanent ban. Although I don’t know. Twitter never warned me. . . . And never sent any communication saying I’ve been suspended or banned. I simply tried to tweet yesterday afternoon and could not. But unlike a previous suspension . . . My followers suddenly said 0.”

What Twitter wrote to Geller made clear what was going on:

Your account, PamelaGeller has been suspended for violating the Twitter rules.

Specifically, for:

Violating our rules about election integrity. You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, or how to vote.

Note that if you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts. If you wish to appeal this suspension, please contact our support team.

Thanks,

Twitter

This is absurd from start to finish. Neither Pamela Geller nor Root nor Hoft did anything to “suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, or how to vote.” Twitter apparently hasn’t even bothered to update its ban notice since before November 3. Nor did they do anything along the lines of “manipulating or interfering in elections.”

Still, there is no doubt that if Geller did take Twitter up on its magnanimous grant to her of a chance to appeal, the appeal would be denied. Twitter’s nameless, faceless wonks are judge, jury, and executioner, and no one can question their sagacity or righteousness of their decisions.

What Geller, Root, and Hoft did, of course, was simply report and highlight the many irregularities and unanswered questions surrounding the 2020 presidential election. Twitter, along with the other social media giants and the establishment media outlets, are labeling all questioning of the election as “lies” and are busy banning any suggestion that there was anything amiss about the election at all, without even bothering to explain all the issues. This is the way a guilty person who is trying to cover up his misdeeds acts, not the way a victor behaves when he knows he has won fair and square and is happy to set the record straight.

Meanwhile, these new bans came just two days after Time published an article titled, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” In it, Time’s Molly Ball boasted of

a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.

Not rigging the election, but fortifying it. Right. And how exactly does one “fortify” an election? From the looks of Ball’s article, by rigging it.

Ball presents abundant indications of manipulation and chicanery in a fulsome self-congratulatory tone that works assiduously to turn reality on its head. A photo of Detroit campaign workers covering the windows so that no one could see what they were doing as they counted the votes—not exactly a hallmark of a free and fair election—is spun with the caption: “Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4.”

Ian Bassin, cofounder of Protect Democracy, is quoted boasting that “the system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.” It has to be executed by someone else, and it looks as if Bassin and others like him were only too happy to serve as executioners.

Contrary to Bassin’s statement, our “democracy” (which, as you may know or should know, is—or was—actually a republic), is set up to be “self-executing,” that is, the process should not be more complicated than each candidate making his case before the voters, and the voters freely voting. Ball details how corporate interests silenced opposing views and manipulated laws to ensure their desired result, all while writing darkly about Trump and his “henchmen” attempting to steal the election and destroy our “democracy.”

Time and Molly Ball may not have intended it, but now the cat is out of the bag. So the next step of the political and media elites is to silence those who keep pointing out the abundant signs of voter fraud, claim that they’re “lying,” and that they have to be muzzled for the public good.

Hence the banning of Wayne Allyn Root, Jim Hoft, and Pamela Geller. But as of this writing, Molly Ball and Time still have their Twitter accounts. See, there is “manipulating or interfering in elections” and there is “manipulating or interfering in elections.” Twitter is fine with boasting about doing it for the Left. Twitter is not fine with people who oppose it pointing out that it was done.

It’s all reminiscent of an older charge that has been leveled against Pamela Geller: that of being an “Islamophobe.” When she would quote bloodthirsty Islamic jihadis justifying their actions by quoting the Koran, she—not the jihadis—was called an “Islamophobe.” Her words—not those of the Koran—were dismissed as “hate speech.”

It has all been a shell game from start to finish, and the game isn’t over. The Left has arrogated to itself the right to judge what can and cannot be said in the public square. The Hoft, Root, and Geller Twitter accounts are not the first casualties of their fascist suppression of dissent, and they won’t be the last. Freedom of speech? Pah! That is so 20th century. Don’t you want to join Molly Ball and Time in the brave new world, in which one saves democracy by destroying it? You may not ultimately have any choice, comrade.

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

VIDEO: Psychologist Explains the Unhealthy Incentives Behind ‘Cancel Culture’

If there was a video documenting every second of my life, you can bet it would contain some pretty stupid comments I’ve made over the years. I would also probably be reminded of some opinions I no longer believe. If you’re being honest with yourself, yours likely would be equally cringe.

The things we have said in the past may not have been outrageously offensive, but we have all made comments, or held opinions, we later regret. We are, after all, inherently flawed creatures.

But imagine if one instance of poor judgment or one “fringe” opinion stuck with you forever. This is the problem our society is now facing with the prevalence of cancel culture.

In 2016, then-high school freshman Mimi Groves posted a video to Snapchat in which she used a racial slur. The video later circulated around her school, though it wasn’t met with controversy at the time.

Fellow classmate Jimmy Galligan hadn’t seen the footage until last year when the two were seniors—four years after it first made the rounds at Heritage High School. By this time, Groves had moved on to focus on her role as varsity cheer captain with big dreams of attending the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a school known for its nationally ranked cheer squad.

For Groves, summer 2020 had been a time of celebration as she found out she had been accepted to the university’s cheer team. But her joy was short-lived when the death of George Floyd rightly outraged the nation, sparking a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Like many teens, Groves used her social media platforms to urge people to protest, donate, and sign petitions in support of ending police brutality. It was then that her unfortunate video came back to haunt her.

“You have the audacity to post this, after saying the N-word,” one commenter, unknown to the teen, posted on her Instagram.

That’s when her phone began ringing nonstop.

Galligan had held onto the video made four years earlier and had chosen to celebrate Groves’ admission to UT by blasting the footage to every major social media platform.

As the video began going viral, public outrage ensued, calling for the university to rescind her acceptance.

Capitulating to the mob, UT removed her from their cheer team, a decision that resulted in Groves withdrawing from the school because of what she perceived as pressure from the school’s admissions office.

Make no mistake, making racial slurs of any kind is demeaning and inappropriate behavior. But is one comment made four years prior enough to ruin the future of a teen who hadn’t even entered adulthood yet?

The court of public opinion said yes, without giving Groves any chance at redemption.

Why People ‘Cancel’

Groves’ story is just one of many.

Cancel culture has become more widespread over the last several years than anyone could have imagined. When I penned this article on the topic two years ago, I had no idea the problem would escalate to the level it has reached today.

But cancel culture isn’t reserved only for those who have made distasteful comments in the past.

Today, those espousing any opinion that goes against “woke” rhetoric are ridiculed online, fired from their jobs, and some are banned from using popular social media platforms altogether.

One University of North Carolina Wilmington professor, Mike Adams, even took his own life after tweets construed as offensive pushed him into early retirement after years of service to the institution.

Jonathan Haidt, author of The Righteous Mind and co-author of The Coddling of the American Mindhas been an outspoken critic of the cancel culture phenomenon for some time.

“Part of a call-out culture is you get credit based on what someone else said if you ‘call it out,'” he said in a 2018 interview.

This virtue signaling, which is really just a means of proving to society how “good” and “moral” your views are, is only half of the equation, however. Cancel culture is also about personal destruction, which is obvious in Groves’ situation, since Galligan didn’t use this ammunition against her until the time was ripe for maximum harm.

“It(cancel culture) has reached a level of personal vindictiveness, where people go out of their way to find ways the things other people say could be construed as insensitive,” Haidt said.

Slurs and inappropriate comments aside, cancel culture has made people scared to share their opinions lest they be condemned for thinking “incorrectly” about any given issue.

We now live in an era where people are constantly looking over their shoulders, or computer screens, worried that whatever opinion they post might make them victims of cancel culture.

There is no opportunity to change one’s mind, nor is there room to defend opinions you genuinely believe. And this is a huge problem for any civil society.

Haidt spoke of the importance of protecting open dialogue so that we may live in a society filled with varying opinions from which to choose.

“One of the most important [aspects] is that people are not afraid to share their opinions – they’re not afraid that they’re going to be shamed socially for disagreeing with the dominant opinion,” Haidt said.

The odds are high that your opinions about certain issues will change over time. However, some may not, and you shouldn’t live in fear that your beliefs will be met with social condemnation and isolation.

We are no longer given the room to share our opinions today because we are no longer able to disagree with each other respectfully.

You’re not always going to agree with everything other people say — not your professors, your classmates, or your parents. In fact, you might even find that your own views change as you learn new things and grow as a person and adult.

But having the freedom to consider all opinions and decide what you genuinely believe is vital to the human experience and civil discourse.

There is a market of choice in all things, from what clothes you wear, products you buy, and what ideas you subscribe to.

When you go shopping, you might not like the first outfit you try. You might not even like the second or third. But trying on different looks, or opinions, allows you to think for yourself and figure out what it is you want, or believe.

To be truly open-minded, you must be able to consider all opinions, instead of condemning any thought contrary to your own. The free exchange of ideas pushes individuals to share unique ideas and allows for opinions to evolve.

Dissent is what makes democracy strong. Our Constitution has outlasted so many others because the Founders disagreed and debated with each other until they crafted a document that fostered “a more perfect union” than had ever been seen before. We would be wise not to forget the example they set.

Put simply, shaming others doesn’t work. It’s purely punitive, and self-aggrandizing. It also rarely changes a person’s mind and often further radicalizes their beliefs, widening the divide already growing in our country.

To foster a world where ideas can be freely expressed, Pacific Legal Foundation will be hosting an event this Friday featuring Haidt that will examine the many ways free speech serves as a central tenet of innovation, community, and civil society, and how we can preserve and protect this fundamental value that makes our society so extraordinary.

Without the ability to speak freely and consider all opinions, civil discourse cannot occur. In its absence, society as we know it will cease to exist and the divides between us will continue to grow.

COLUMN BY

Brittany Hunter

Brittany is a writer for the Pacific Legal Foundation. She is a co-host of “The Way The World Works,” a Tuttle Twins podcast for families.

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

Grab the Popcorn: Free Speech Foe Gets Threatened with Prison for ‘Blasphemy’

The threat is not surprising, given the authoritarian Islamic character of Pakistan’s government and its vicious hostility to the Ahmadiyya movement, as it forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims and persecutes them in numerous ways. The TrueIslam.com website presents Ahmadi Islam as the pure and genuine form of the religion, despite the fact that the Ahmadiyya movement is regarded as heretical by mainstream Muslims and represents an infinitesimal percentage of the worldwide Muslim population. Zafar and his colleague Amjad Mahmood Khan, who was also threatened, must have known that such a site would ruffle the Pakistani government’s feathers.

But what made this more than just another story about the repressive Pakistani government is the fact that back in January 2013, Zafar published an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled, “Making Islamic Sense of Free Speech.” In it, Zafar offered a manifesto for the destruction of the freedom of speech worthy of a true totalitarian.

“The difference between Islam’s view on free speech and the view promoted by free speech advocates these days,” Zafar asserted, “is the intention and ultimate goal each seeks to promote. Whereas many secularists champion individual privileges, Islam promotes the principle of uniting mankind and cultivating love and understanding among people. Both endorse freedom for people to express themselves, but Islam promotes unity, whereas modern-day free speech advocates promote individualism.”

The unity Zafar envisioned involved restrictions on the freedom of speech: “In order to unite mankind, Islam instructs to only use speech to be truthful, do good to others, and be fair and respectful. It attempts to pre-empt [sic] frictions by prescribing rules of conduct which guarantee for all people not only freedom of speech but also fairness, absolute justice, and the right of disagreement.”

So we can have the freedom of speech as long as “fairness” is ensured by Islamic “rules of conduct.” With evident distaste, Zafar continued by claiming that “the most vocal proponents of freedom of speech, however, call us towards a different path, where people can say anything and everything on their mind. With no restraint on speech at all, every form of provocation would exist, thereby cultivating confrontation and antagonism. They insist this freedom entitles them the legal privilege to insult others. This is neither democracy nor freedom of speech. It fosters animosity, resentment and disorder.”

Note the sleight of hand: “With no restraint on speech at all, every form of provocation would exist, thereby cultivating confrontation and antagonism.” Zafar was implying that the Muslims who riot and kill because of perceived affronts to Islam were not responsible for their own actions, but that those who supposedly provoked them were.

This is an increasingly widespread confusion in the West, willfully spread by people such as Zafar. In reality, the only person responsible for his actions is the person who is acting, not anyone else. You may provoke me in a hundred ways, but my response is my own, which I choose from a range of possible responses, and only I am responsible for it.

But having established that if someone riots and kills in response to someone else’s speech, the fault lies with the speaker, not the rioter, Zafar drove his point home: speech must be restricted in the interests of “world peace”: “Treating speech as supreme at the expense of world peace and harmony is an incredibly flawed concept. No matter how important the cause of free speech, it still pales in comparison to the cause of world peace and unity.”

And who will decide what speech accords with “world peace and harmony,” and what speech does not? Why, Zafar and his friends, of course. But what if the Pakistani government claimed that right for itself, and decided that what Zafar himself was saying did not accord with “world peace and harmony”?

Harris Zafar could well become the Nikolai Yezhov of our age. Yezhov was the Soviet secret police chief who sent innumerable people to their deaths in the gulag before Stalin decided it was his turn. Nowadays, Zafar has become the first advocate of restrictions on the freedom of speech to run afoul of people who want to take his own freedom of speech away. But as the silencing continues, he will by no means be the last.

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

VIDEO: James Comey likens Trump to al-Qaeda, says he has ‘radicalized’ terrorists through ‘lies’

This is a very dangerous game Comey is playing, all the while posing as the one who is defending us from terrorist violence.

Trump never called for violent attacks against anyone, much less for storming the Capitol. Al-Qaeda, by contrast, has called for violent attacks innumerable times. To equate the two and say that they both “radicalize terrorists” is to claim to be able to discern the intent and/or effects of Trump’s words and claim that they were intended to incite violence and were successful in doing so despite the fact that he never called for or approved of any violence.

If Comey and his comrades are successful, and the House already advanced this notion by impeaching Trump for a second time, they will have created a precedent. The precedent will be that it doesn’t matter so much what exactly you say, but what the authorities think it means, or thinks its effects will be. Authoritarians can use this arrogated power of discernment to shut down anyone they don’t like. That’s where we’re headed, and Comey is doing his best to make sure we get there.

“James Comey Says Trump’s Lies Created Terrorists: ‘This Is How Al-Qaida Radicalized’ (Video),” by 

Former FBI director James Comey paid a visit to “The View” on Friday during which he explained his belief that President Trump’s “constant torrent of lies” has radicalized his supporters to the point of becoming domestic terrorists — and he compared Trump’s methods to those of al-Qaida.

“They are terrorists. They are people bent on coercing a civilian government — attacking our democracy — because of their warped view of reality,” Comey, who was fired by Trump in 2017, said of the Capitol rioters on “The View.”…

“This is how al-Qaida radicalized: a constant, constant torrent of lies at vulnerable people,” he said. “Well, we have millions of vulnerable people in this country who’ve consumed these lies, and some portion of them have been radicalized to the point where they believe they’re on the side of the angels and have to engage in violence directed against us. So it’s a serious threat, it’s a terrorist threat, and Donald Trump and his enablers — we want to make sure we keep the receipts, ’cause a lot of people are going to deny they had any connection to it come a few months from now — but that group of people has radicalized a group of terrorists.”

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

15 Dem Senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, urge Facebook to block ‘anti-Muslim hate’

Incitement to violence against any group should always be blocked. The problem here is that Islamic advocacy groups and their allies in the West have for years claimed that any honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad violence was “anti-Muslim hate.” Facebook already makes such discussion virtually impossible to find. Expect it to be completely blacked out in a Biden/Harris administration.

“US senators call on Facebook to address anti-Muslim bigotry,” Middle East Eye, November 16, 2020 (thanks to Henry):

Democratic senators are calling on Facebook to “do more” to mitigate the spread of anti-Muslim bigotry, after the social media giant was criticised for failing to address attacks against the faith group on multiple occasions, including the aftermath of the Christchurch shootings.

In a letter sent to Facebook to CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, a group of 15 Senators said the platform needed to immediately enforce its community standards to address anti-Muslim hate and ban the use of event pages for the purpose of “harassment, organizing, and violence” against the Muslim community.

The letter also said that Facebook had not taken proper steps to enforce its “call to arms” policy, a year-old rule created in large part due to pressure from Muslim advocacy groups, which since 2015 had flagged multiple instances where organisers of Facebook events had advocated for followers to bring weapons to mosques and other places of worship.

“We recognize that Facebook has announced efforts to address its role in the distribution of anti-Muslim content in some of these areas,” the letter, signed by Senator Chris Coons, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and 12 others, said.

“Nevertheless, it is not clear that the company is meaningfully better positioned to prevent further human rights abuses and violence against Muslim minorities today.”

An independent civil rights audit of the social media company released in July outlined that despite having policies that did not allow for hate speech against religious groups, incidents of hate speech continued to persist across Facebook.

Muslim Advocates, a rights group that called for the audit two years ago, thanked the senators for writing the letter.

“Since 2015, Muslim Advocates had warned Facebook that the platform’s event pages were being used by violent militias and white nationalists to organize armed rallies at mosques,” the group’s executive director Farhana Khera said on Monday.

“We need to know what Facebook plans to do to end the anti-Muslim hate and violence enabled by their platform – and end it now.”…

“As members of Congress who are deeply disturbed by the proliferation of this hate speech on your platform, we urge you to do more,” the senators’ letter read.

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

Biden Transition Official Believes the First Amendment Has a ‘Design Flaw’ — His Remedy Is to Curb Free Speech

Richard Stengel, according to the New York Post, “is the Biden transition ‘Team Lead’ for the US Agency for Global Media, the U.S. government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.” He is also a menace to our constitutional protections and to free society in general. If he is any indication of what is coming, we’re in for a rough four years, or longer.

Stengel wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that the freedom of speech must be restricted, for “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.”

What kind of speech “incites hate”? As far as Stengel is concerned, the answer is any speech that Muslims find offensive. He wrote: “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?”

Well, maybe because a law forbidding criticism (including mockery) of any group establishes that group as a protected class that cannot be questioned, and that in turn would allow this group to do whatever it wanted without fear of any opposition even being allowed to articulate its case. The freedom of speech is, in sum, our foremost protection against tyranny. Without it, a tyrant can work his will without any fear of his opponents uttering even one cross word.

But instead of explaining and defending the freedom of speech, Stengel agreed with his “sophisticated Arab diplomats,” answering their query about Qur’an-burning with this: “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.”

Many other nations are fixing that “design flaw,” according to Stengel, and so the U.S. should also: “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.”

The destruction of the freedom of speech is an idea whose time has come, says Stengel. “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?”

Yes. 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’s statement that “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” means that 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 tell you “I warned you this was coming,” but by then I probably won’t be able to. 

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

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.

David Wood Video: YouTube Sides With Jihadis In Free Speech Controversy

YouTube took down two of David Wood’s videos recently because he said that the Quran contains hateful verses. As far as YouTube is concerned, that is “hate speech.”

So here is a new video from David, which he kindly gave me to post at the Jihad Watch channel, explaining the controversy and its implications.

Watch it soon; it might not be up long.

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

Twitter Bans Amy Mek for Telling Inconvenient Truths

She wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last. My latest in FrontPage:

President Trump on May 28 issued an executive order designed to prevent online censorship of voices that dissent from the hard-Left’s agenda, and since then Twitter’s Jack Dorsey seems determined to defy it and force a showdown. He has more than once flagged Trump’s tweets as supposedly inciting violence or committing some other transgression, and he continues his steady campaign to silence voices of freedom, including foes of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women. His latest victim is the popular counterjihad writer Amy Mek, who had over 266,000 Twitter followers when she was summarily deplatformed.

Amy Mek’s RAIR Foundation reported recently that “on April 16, 2020, the @Amymek Twitter account was suspended (and still remains suspended) as 12 of her tweets were flagged for violating Twitter’s rules against ‘hateful conduct.’” The problem is that in these overheated days, virtually anything that Leftists don’t like is classified as “hateful conduct.” The twelve tweets in question all contained accurate information, as Amy herself documented in trying (to no avail) to get Twitter to reverse its ban. The issue with them was clearly not that they were spreading falsehoods or inaccurate information, but that they were telling truths that the Leftist elites would prefer not be known.

For example, on March 31, Amy tweeted: “INDIA: Coronavirus Jihad! Over 8K Indian Muslims & foreign nationals from Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh etc. attended a Coronavirus infected Islamic event at a Mosque in Delhi. Almost a dozen are dead & many infected – Jihadists have put many countries at risk.”

It was horribly hateful to suggest that an Islamic event was a source of the spread of coronavirus, right? Wrong. The day before Amy published her supposedly hateful tweet, Quartz India published a story entitled: “A religious congregation in Delhi could be the coronavirus hotspot India was trying to escape.” The next day, Al Jazeera published an article called “India tracks attendees after Muslim event linked to virus cases.” On April 2, the BBC published a backgrounder: “Tablighi Jamaat: The group blamed for new Covid-19 outbreak in India.” Even that far-Left propaganda organ known as the Washington Post put up a story on this issue: “India confronts its first coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ — a Muslim missionary group with more than 400 members infected.” Then two weeks later, on April 16, the BBC ran a piece entitled: “India coronavirus: Tablighi Jamaat leader on manslaughter charge over Covid-19.”

Quartz India, Al Jazeera, the BBC and the Washington Post were not banned from Twitter. They no doubt didn’t even receive warnings. Only Amy Mek, a high-profile critic of jihad terror, ran afoul of Twitter’s Left-fascist censors, because only she had a prior reputation for being skeptical of the Left’s open-borders, internationalist, pro-jihad program.

Nor can her own critics argue that Amy got flagged for placing the virus-ridden Islamic event in the context of jihad, when the spread of the coronavirus from that event was clearly accidental. Amy compiled no fewer than 24 news articles about members of Tablighi Jamaat, the host of the event, deliberately attempting to spread the coronavirus among non-Muslims. So in what way was this not, as she put it, “coronavirus jihad”?

Amy provided similar documentation of all the claims that were made in her 11 other supposedly hateful tweets, but to no avail. Clicking on the links for the offensive tweets now takes you only to a note saying “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules” and giving a link to those rules, without bothering to explain exactly what rules were violated and in what manner.

And so it is clear. Amy Mek is not gone from Twitter for lying; Twitter has never flagged CNN or MSNBC, so clearly it has no problem with that. Amy Mek is gone from Twitter because she is the woman who knows too much – too much, that is, about the jihadist allies of the Leftists who are running amok in many of America’s major cities these days, too much about the insidious agenda of all too many of the adherents of the religion we must believe is peaceful on pain of charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia,” too much about the half-truths, distortions, and outright lies that pass for news and that the elites feed the masses today.

She was not the first, and will not be the last. I’ve said it before and will doubtless say it again: if this isn’t stopped and the speech of dissenters protected, America will cease to be a free society and slip rapidly into authoritarian and totalitarianism. And I’ll keep saying it until they silence me as well.

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