Sometimes being a supporter of free speech can be really really really hard. A leading expert of “comparative jurisprudence” and Sunni cleric at al-Azhar University, Dr. Sabri Abdel Raouf, has been placed under review by his university (and ordered by the state media regulator to stay off the air) after dispensing some rather chilling advice on Sharia law and Islamic values. Abdel Raouf had told viewers that it is is permissible under Islamic law for a husband to have sex with his dead wife in what is called “goodbye intercourse.” The action taken by the university and the government highlights the curious line drawn over the discussion of Islam in Egypt. Moreover, it is a rather bizarre example of the debate that we are having in this country over the right of academics to engage in free (and controversial) speech outside of their schools. In this case, both the university and the government have moved to prevent anyone from airing these views as an insult to Islam.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated the defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The decision by Judge Katherine Forrest is an interesting application of the rarely successful “group defamation” claim. The decision comes as the Rolling Stone magazine itself has been put up for sale. As I have previously written, the editors failed on almost every level in the scandal, including failing to fire author Sabrina Erdely for the article alleging the gang rape of a freshman identified as “Jackie” at the University of Virginia. The panel in Elias v. Rolling Stone, 16-2465-cv, consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges José Alberto Cabranes and Raymond Lohier Jr., with U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York sitting by designation. The vote was 2-1.
Below is a column that I wrote for the Hill Newspaper in response to a “fact checker” column by the Washington Post. I have written for the Washington Post and have great respect for the publication. Indeed, I have objected to the attacks by President Donald Trump on the Post and the New York Times which remain two of our premiere journalistic organizations. However, I was frankly floored by the column by Glenn Kessler in criticizing White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I have discussed previously how there has been a palpable bias in reporting on the Trump Administration. It is often that case that some journalists are not simply satisfied with disagreeing with the Administration. They sometimes take judgment calls or opinions and declare the Trump side to be simply factually incorrect. This relieves the need for readers to address the opposing view of controversies like the alleged misconduct of former FBI director James Comey. Those views are simply dismissed as untrue. This is a prime example.
Here is the column:
Below is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the allegations raised by the White House over the alleged misconduct of former FBI Director James Comey. It is clear that Comey violated FBI rules and regulations — offenses that would have likely cost any of his subordinates their jobs at the Bureau when he was director. However, there remains a virtual news blackout on the obvious violations and their implications.
Here is the column.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has become an international pariah for his orders to police to murder drug suspects and his bragging about his own killings. Thousands of suspected drug dealers have been killed under Duterte. For that reason, many of us were alarmed by President Donald Trump’s praise of Duterte as “a good man” and praising his crackdown on drugs. Duterte however shows no ability to control himself any more than his son (who has been implicated in drugs and corruption) or his henchman . . . or his mouth. Last week, Duterte was asked by the head of the country’s Commission on Human Rights (CHR) about the killing of teenagers by his police and supporters. Duterte’s response was to ask if CHR head Chito Gascon was a pedophile. It is the type of disgusting and dismissive attitude that Duterte has shown all notions of human rights or human decency.