We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here). Now a recent complaint filed by a professor against Home Secretary Amber Rudd illustrates vividly how hate speech has become for some people an extension of political disagreements. The complaint by Prof Joshua Silver, an astrophysicist, will not result in any serious investigation but it was recorded as a hate crime allegation under the existing standards. We recently discussed the criminal charges brought against a conservative Dutch politician. Continue reading
The Saudi Kingdom is back this week reminding people of the inherent extreme lunacy of theocratic legal systems. Saudi Arabia’s top religious authority Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh has proclaimed that cinemas and singing concerts are unIslamic and morally harmful. The Kingdom follows a medieval system of Sharia law and denies basic civil liberties to women, non-Muslims, political dissidents, and journalists. Cinemas and public concerts are already banned in the name of Islam in the Kingdom.
Charles Obong, 52, a deceased Ugandan government official, appeared to be quite concerned about being called to account for his life and actions. Accordingly, he instructed that at least $5,700 (roughly P280,000) be placed inside his casket as an “offertory” to forgive God for his sins and “save him from hell fire.” Given his view of not only the susceptibility or ease of bribing the Almighty, I expect he has good reason to be concerned. While I am still a bit confused of why the Almighty would want Ugandan dollars or where he would use the cash, such attempted bribes are generally viewed as beyond the reach of criminal codes — even ones with really really really long-arm jurisdiction.
We previously discussed the case of Bruyton Mellott who was arrested after posting online pictures of himself burning an American flag has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have the state’s flag desecration law declared unconstitutional. The 22-year-old the Wal-Mart employee was charged with flag desecration despite two Supreme Court cases clearly saying that such an act is constitutionally protected. After various experts (including myself) said that the arrest was unconstitutional, the charges were dropped, but Mellott is now suing. I personally find Mellott’s actions to be highly offensive and disturbing. I have never understood the burning of the flag which represents our collective rights, including free speech. Unfortunately, important free speech cases are often triggered by the most reprehensible forms of speech or most reprehensible individuals. In the end, the lawsuit may force legislators to confront the fact that they have continued a facially unconstitutional law on their books because they fear the political backlash if they comply with long-standing Supreme Court precedent.
The entire community surrounding Arundel High School was traumatized recently when an anonymous person posted a tweet threatening that “We’re planning to attack tomorrow”. What made the tweet particularly menacing was the Twitter account: @KoolkidsKlanKkk. Police launched a full-fledged investigation and has now charged a 14-year-old African-American girl with sending a threatening tweet related to Arundel High School.
We have previously discussed the plight of women and girls subject to Sharia law and extreme Muslim traditions of marriage. The nightmare faced by many women was captured in a horrific guide being distributed by in Turkey by former religious affairs department employee Hasan Caliskan. The guide supports the beating of women who do not “beautify” themselves, supports the marriage of 10-year-old girls, and advances absurd notions like the danger of having a stuttering child if a woman talks during sex.