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Tennessee: Islamophobes Protest Event Aimed At Improving Relations

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The hostile group of vocal and belligerent protesters who attended the “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” event largely fit the demographic of fear-mongering Islamophobes: old, Conservative, Christian and White.

Their deep seated irrational fears and insecurities and unwillingness to listen to presentations on hate crimes and speech is on full display.:

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian greeted by hostile crowd at Manchester, Tenn., free speech event

By Ben Benton (Times Free Press)

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — U.S. Attorney Bill Killian was greeted with shouts of “traitor,” “serpent,” and calls to “resign” or “go home” Tuesday night at an event aimed at improving relations between local residents and their Muslim neighbors.

Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville office, were featured speakers before a hostile crowd of well over 300 at the “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” event at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center.

Despite the noisy crowd, Killian began a dry delivery of information about hate crimes, civil rights and the federal laws that prescribe violations and penalties.

The event was sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee, which was formed two years ago when state lawmakers were considering legislation that would ban Sharia, the law followed by devout Muslims. Killian initially pitched the event as an effort at improving understanding and tolerance of Muslims and their religious beliefs.

He told the audience that despite 50 prosecutions and convictions of hate crimes in his district, “far too many people are still repeating the same vicious acts against the Arab-Muslim … ”

But he was cut off by shouts from the crowd.

State Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said he attended the event because “I had concerns when I read Bill Killian’s statement [announcing it].”

After the event, Bell said he still was not certain of Killian’s position on free speech.

Outside, about an hour before the planned event, more than 200 protesters braved the 90-degree heat outside the conference center to hold up signs and sing patriotic songs. Some called it a “pre-rally” to gather those opposed to any encroachments on free speech.

Some people at the impromptu rally were handing out anti-Islamic literature, other patriotic materials and some Christian materials as several speakers were using a megaphone to work up the crowd.

One man’s sign read: “In America, you are free to practice your religion, and I am free to insult it.”

Bell Buckle, Tenn., resident John Anderson, the sign’s author, said he wanted to know “why two federal employees are not looking into [Attorney General] Eric Holder” rather than holding the night’s event.

Residents inside at the meeting had similar feelings.

“Let me be clear, in this country, hateful speech is allowed,” Killian said. “It is protected by the freedom of speech part of the first amendment.

“But if someone makes threats of violence, that is not protected speech and they will be prosecuted,” he said. “Likewise, if someone commits acts of violence under the guise of religious or other speech, they will be prosecuted for their violent acts.”

Killian said the same behaviors that lead to bullying in schools also lead to hate crimes and other acts of hate and violence.

Controversy arose earlier this year in the community over a Facebook post by Coffee County Commissioner Barry West, who drew fire for posting an illustration showing a man in a cowboy hat pointing a double-barreled shotgun at the viewer with the caption: “How To wink at a Muslim.”

West since has apologized.

“I wish to issue a heartfelt sincere apology to anyone I have offended or hurt in my sharing of the Facebook picture,” he is quoted as saying in the May 8 edition of the Manchester Times.

First Amendment Center president and executive director Gene Policinski said before the Manchester meeting on Tuesday that the details of the threat and the specificity of its target are significant in determining how federal law applies to comments made in a public forum.

The threat “has to be likely, imminent and directed at a specific person,” Policinski said.

He said remarks such as those made by West are protected speech.

Killian didn’t address West’s post, except to acknowledge that it created a stir in the community.

“While [West’s] cartoon might be tasteless and crass and juvenile and even hateful, I think the founders of this nation provided for people to be able to express those views,” Policinski said. “When it comes to a public official, I think the market place idea is protected under the First Amendment, where voters can decide if this is the kind of person whose opinion and whose judgment they trust to hold public office.”

In all instances, the First Amendment “requires government to really demonstrate that it’s a true threat before they can restrict our speech,” he said.

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  • Tanveer Khan

    Ah. Im pretty sure ive seen one with that name though.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Good point

  • CriticalDragon1177

    I don’t think so.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Isnt Mr Islam answers back a commentor here?

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    I agree but then he needs no help from us to look stupid as he is doing such a good job without our help
    Sir David

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Actually Gerard Spekboom, left I reply to my comment that was really dumb, even dumber than his original comment. I’m hoping they approve it, because than we can PWN him again. There is an argument for approving comments like the ones he just made. One way to actually defeat people like him, is to make them look stupid, besides we have to be able to refute their ridiculous arguments.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    Mods!!! is this not a link to hate speech on the you tube clip?
    Its not even humour ,nor can the so called islamic scholar even define what islam means . ( submission to the will of God I was always told )
    Did the scholar study under Rev Bob Spencer ?
    Sir David

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    I would not get in the way of your god given right to show yourself to be a bigot if that is what you want to do .
    Have a nice day :-)
    Sir David

  • CriticalDragon1177

    I won’t deny that our free speech is essential to our liberty, however, No one in power in the United States is going to take away our right to criticize Islam or Muslims. Killian doesn’t even want to do what these people claim he wants to do here. As for the lack of freedom of non Muslims in many Muslim countries around the world, what does that have to do with this? Muslims don’t hold enough power in the United States, to pass Laws to silence people who disagree with their views, and we have very good reason to think that a majority of Muslim living in the US have no desire to do so. Most American Muslims, are reasonable, they are not fanatics, Regardless of whatever Sam Solomon may have to say.

    By the way, did you check his credentials because a lot of people like him who claim to be EX Muslims are outright frauds.

    Walid Shoebat Exposed Part 1 – Anderson Cooper 360
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04yWUuoU7Lc

    Walid Shoebat Exposed Part 2

  • CriticalDragon1177

    People have been claiming that people in this country have been trying to do what you say he, he said he wanted to do, for more than ten years now. No such law has been passed anywhere in the country and Killian hasn’t called for such a law. You are the one who needs to look at the facts.

  • Tanveer Khan

    Who on earth would want to be like them? xD

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    They dont want Muslims to intergrate , they want muslims to become the same as them .
    I think getting the muslims to play the 5 string Banjo will be the most difficult part .
    Sir David

  • Tanveer Khan

    Right. So Islamophobes cry that Muslims arent willing to integrate yet when their is an event which aims to do so they mobilise their mobs to ruin it?

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Looks like Geller couldn’t hope but open her mouth on this and once again make herself look like the paranoid bigot that she is..

    Pamela Geller at Tennessee Anti-Muslim Protest: “Without Freedom of Speech We Must Resort to Violence”
    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/42090_Pamela_Geller_at_Tennessee_Anti-Muslim_Protest-_Without_Freedom_of_Speech_We_Must_Resort_to_Violence

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Given the nature of their movement, that’s not surprising. However, on the bright side, their hypocrisy is something that we can use against them.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    By the way, speaking of anti Muslim bigots, Brigitte Gabriel in particular,

    ACT! for America Releases Petition to Oppose S.744 Immigration Bill
    http://imagine2050.newcomm.org/2013/06/05/act-for-america-releases-petition-to-oppose-s-744-immigration-bill/

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Probably

  • CriticalDragon1177

    If there is really a movement to silence people criticizing Islam or just offending Muslims, and laws banning it have been passed in the US, how come no one has even attempted to arrest Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller or Brigitte Gabriel? Last I checked, they were all living in the US and are still free as a bird. They can still travel the country attacking Islam and Muslims as much as they like, and no one in Law in law enforcement is going to try to silence them.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    I got into a similar argument with an Islamophobe on that Islamophobia and Antisemetism video you made that mirrored over at My Gargamelgold channel. He basically made the exact same baseless claim about Killian wanting to prosicute people for insulting Islam on face book.

  • Just_Stopping_By

    Actually, Garibaldi, there appears to have been some uncertainty as to what Killian said earlier, with some media reporting that he did create such an implication (http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/05/feds-suggest-antimuslim-speech-can-be-punished-165163.html). If you go to the original news story, it’s not clear what Killian said before the event on this particular point, and that paper may have been the one that first suggested that the government might crack down on negative comments on social media.

    That said, even if the protesters did feel that they were rightly standing up for free speech, the actions by some of them in terms of disrupting this event were shameful and, ironically, anti-free-speech.

    By all appearances, the event itself was peaceful and presumably informative before the interruptions. The protesters could have likely asked questions at the end in a Q&A session, which is typical for this type of government presentation. By repeatedly drowning out the speaker, those protesters showed a lack of class and a lack of interest in actually learning, putting them at a decidedly inferior moral position here to the organizers (the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee) and to those audience members who listened respectfully whether they came in agreeing with the speaker or not.

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    Jim, why continue to lie so transparently?

    It’s true that is how the protesters wanted to portray themselves as “Free Speech” activists even though many of them are the most ignorant and radical extremist Christians themselves.

    Killian only stated and he clarified further at the event what a “hate crime” actually is according to US law.

    I hope you would have more courage for your convictions and clearly state your agenda: you don’t want Islam or Muslims in Tennessee and likely the US in general.

  • Leftwing_Muslim_Alliance

    one does wonder if some of these people are related to each other rmore than once .
    However if the FBI want to have some ideas of who is likely to commit hate crimes in the future a video of the demonstration would be a good place to start I think.
    Sir Dvid

  • Jon Diamond

    So if a Muslim makes a cartoon showing how stupid these protesters are, would that get printed?

  • mindy1

    The sad part is that they scream freedom, but deny it for others, and do not see the irony-what is it with that state???

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