Robert Spencer: Free Speech Battle in Small-Town Tennessee


Free Speech Battle in Small-Town Tennessee Robert Spencer, FrontPage Magazine

Tuesday, Bill Killian, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of
Tennessee, FBI Special
Gelller-web-450x301Agent Kenneth Moore, and Zak Mohyuddin of the
American Muslim Advisory Council hosted an event called “Public
Disclosure in a Diverse Society” in the town of Manchester, Tennessee.
My American Freedom Defense Initiative colleague Pamela Geller and I
called for a protest of what was clearly an event designed to intimidate
Americans into being afraid to criticize the elements of Islam that
give rise to violence and supremacism – and patriots turned out in
numbers far beyond what we expected.

Nearly 2,000 protesters assembled at the Manchester Convention Center
to register their disapproval of this latest Obama Administration
attempt to silence criticism of jihad and Islamic supremacism, and to
stigmatize the critics. When the event started, the room was filled way
beyond capacity, with people filling the aisles and standing in the
doorways – while many hundreds more continued to rally outside and wait
for news of what went on.

The event, predictably, was all about hate crimes, hate speech, and
how Tennesseans needed to be more inclusive and welcoming of the
increasing numbers of Muslims in their midst. Mohyuddin, Killian and
Moore all spoke with extraordinary condescension to the crowd, as if it
were taken for granted that their only reason for being suspicious of
Muslims was the color of their skin (Killian said exactly that) and
cultural differences. The audience, however, was having none of it, and
frequently shouted responses to the various (and numerous) disingenuous
and manipulative assertions coming from the speakers.

That gave the mainstream media their take on the event. In a peculiar
move coming from those who would seem to have a good bit to lose if the
freedom of speech were entirely subverted, mainstream media reporting
on the event uniformly portrayed the pro-free speech protesters as a
gang of racist, bigoted thugs, shouting down the valiant paladins of

Nicole Young’s report in the generally hopeless Nashville paper, The Tennessean,
was a case in point: “The interruptions,” it claimed, “were so intense
at times that attendee Elaine Smith, 55, of Bedford County, said she was
afraid of other audience members. ‘I came here because I wanted to
learn something … but I couldn’t hear because the audience was so
disrespectful,’ she said. ‘I cried when I got here. It makes me really
sad especially because these people say they’re Christians. The God I
worship doesn’t teach hate.’”

The claim that someone in the crowd was “afraid” of the other
audience members, as if these patriots who came out to defend the
freedom of speech were some gang of menacing thugs, bent on silencing
their foes by force, was utterly preposterous – this was not, after all,
a meeting of United Against Fascism or some other genuinely thuggish
Leftist group. But this, of course, is how the mainstream media always
portray those who oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism, and the facts be

Pamela Geller’s questions
are apposite: “The enemedia supporting the suppression and restriction
of free speech in America presents an interesting paradox. Are they so
clueless or self-important that they think they will be spared? Didn’t
the Obama administration spying on the AP and other news organizations
teach them anything?” Good questions for Nicole Young to ponder.

The Tennessean report, like Bill Killian, Kenneth Moore, and Zak
Mohyuddin at the “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” event,
completely ignores the genuine concern that people have about jihad and
Islamic supremacist activity, and the fact that Muslim groups (aided and
abetted by Barack Obama) use claims of “hate” and “bigotry” to shut
down honest discussion of how jihadists use the texts and teachings of
Islam to justify violence and supremacism.

Killian and Moore expatiated at length about how “inflammatory”
speech could violate civil rights laws, and how Arab and Muslim children
were being taunted in school, and how Tennesseans should be more
welcoming. But no one, of course, was there to defend the taunting of
Muslim or Arab schoolchildren. No one was there because he hated
foreigners. No one was there to defend sending people violent threats.
The protesters turned out in such unexpectedly high numbers because they
knew that truthful and accurate exploration of Islam’s violent
teachings has been deemed “inflammatory” by both Muslim groups and the
Obama regime — and that leaves us unable to examine the motives and
goals of jihad terrorists, or to defend ourselves adequately against
them. That’s why everyone was so upset with Killian, Moore, and
Mohyuddin, but the media were either oblivious to that fact or intent on
ignoring it.

One wonders who decided to hold an event like this in small-town
Tennessee, rather than some higher-profile area, in the first place. Did
the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s office think that their
new suggestion that civil rights laws could be used to silence criticism
of Islam would escape notice if it were held in a place that is usually
outside the relentless gaze of the mainstream media? Did they hope to
float a trial balloon and see if their anti-free speech initiative would
be met with indifference and complacency in Manchester, Tennessee,
which might be an indication that it wouldn’t encounter serious
resistance in Nashville or Dallas or New York or Washington, either?

Whatever the real reason may be, their efforts failed. The patriots
who came to the Manchester event demonstrated to the Obama
Administration that their efforts to subvert the First Amendment will
not go unchallenged. That evening showed that the children and heirs of
those who were responsible for the Boston Tea Party and other
manifestations of resistance to tyranny have not all become willfully
ignorant and complacent. And resist tyranny we will, once again.

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