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Free Speech in an anti-Islamic Environment

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While absent from the divisive coverage of the conventional news media, internet media has been picking up a story of an emerging confrontation in America that is divided along religious lines. This weekend, anti-Islam activists are planning national wide rallies outside of mosques to voice their opposition to what they call “Muslim colonization”. This group of “patriots” as they call themselves, will gather at mosques on October 9th and 10th to take a stand against increase immigration from Muslim-majority countries.

Plans of these rallies have made members of the American-Muslim community nervous as there are concerns that these proclaimed peaceful rallies could lead to violence against the Muslim community. Incidents of violence and intimidation against the American Muslim community has been a periodic occurrence in the United State for decades, becoming more frequent after the September 11th attacks. Intimidation has taken the form of vandalization of mosques, verbal harassment, and even physical violence.

This planned rally brings up, yet again, the debate on what the limits of protected free speech are. Just as with the debate in the United States following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Despite the offensive nature of the speech displayed by the organizers of these rallies, their actions are protected under the first amendment.

While this speech may be protected, it is important that the proper precautions be taken to ensure the safety of American Muslims in Mosques. The threat against American Muslims is a serious issue so for the American government to ignore this would constitute negligence. Too often around the world we have seen mosques being blown up and the people inside killed. While the statistical probability of a mosque bombing in the United States are low, it would be a violation of religious liberty if the state did not take the proper precautions no matter how likely.

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