by LAWFARE PROJECT
NEW YORK – One of the greatest liberties granted to the people of the United States is freedom of speech. Because of the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment one can criticize religion and religious beliefs, no matter how unpopular or offensive. Indeed blasphemy is not a crime in this country, and for good reason. But last week Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, came dangerously close to tolerating the abrogation of our First Amendment liberties.
On July 26, Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) asked Perez before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution, “Will you tell us here today that this Administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?”
Shockingly, Perez refused to answer whether he would uphold the fundamental protections of the First Amendment. After several requests to answer a basic and straightforward question on First Amendment law, Perez still refused to make a statement. A video of Perez’s refusals is available on YouTube.
Franks’ question was prompted by a meeting last October at George Washington University between top Justice Department officials and anti-free speech Islamist advocates. Among the attendees were representatives of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and Mohamed Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America(ISNA). The latter organization is a Muslim Brotherhood front and an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas funding trial in 2008. The meeting’s advocates lobbied for cutbacks in U.S. anti-terror funding, limits on the powers of terrorism investigators, and changes in agent training manuals. Most significantly, they urged for a legal declaration that criticism of Islam in the U.S. be considered racial discrimination, potentially under the Title VI anti-discrimination laws….
….Lawfare Project Director and human rights attorney, Brooke Goldstein, commented, ”It is worrisome, nay, unacceptable, for the U.S. Secretary of State and the Department of Justice to seemingly entertain the re-definition of a fundamental American freedom enshrined in the Constitution, the inalienable human right to freedom of speech. The cornerstone of any liberal democracy is the right to speak critically of religion and to dialogue openly about imminent threats to our national security, such as militant Islam. It is more than apparent that Islamist entities such as the OIC, ISNA, and ISPU have clear goals that directly contradict American concepts of human rights. We must be swift to condemn our government’s failure to denounce those goals; the compromising of U.S. national security and the prioritization of Islamic speech codes over the First Amendment rights that make America unique.”
Filed under: Foreign influence, Freedom of Speech, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Muslim Brotherhood, US State Department Tagged: | Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, freedom of speech, Muslim Brotherhood, Thomas Perez, US Department of Justice (DoJ)