Hate Speech Laws Work Both Ways: Muslims Arrested for Dissing Pope
ROME (AP) - Italian police on Friday arrested six Moroccan men suspected of inciting hatred against Pope Benedict XVI for converting a Muslim journalist in Italy to Catholicism.We consider hate speech laws an outrage, and think they should exist nowhere.
Stefano Fonsi, head of Brescia police’s anti-terrorism squad in northern Italy, said the suspects allegedly banded together and met privately with the goal of stirring up religious hatred against non-Muslims, including the pope.
Investigators say they found literature exhorting Muslim immigrants against integrating into Italian society and saying the pope should be punished for having baptized the journalist during an Easter vigil ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The investigation grew out of security checks ahead of a pastoral visit by Benedict to Brescia in 2009, but authorities insisted that their probe revealed no plot against the pontiff or other terrorism aims.
Brescia Prosecutors Fabio Salmone said there was “absolutely no” indication that the group had attacks in mind. “I rule that out,” he told reporters. “There wasn’t even a plan” to organize attacks, he said.
In 2008, Egyptian-born journalist Magdi Allam angered some Muslims by becoming a Catholic. After being baptized, he changed his name to Magdi Cristiano Allam. He had built a career in Italy as a newspaper commentator and author attacking Islamic extremism and supporting Israel.
Happily, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that they can’t exist in this country.
But if there are going to be such laws, we want them enforced not only against people who verbally attack politically correct victim groups (blacks, gays, feminists, Muslims) but also against people who attack politically incorrect groups (conservative Christians, whites, males).
Hate speech laws, of course, are part of a leftist agenda to shut up speech that liberals and leftists disapprove of. And so long as they can, with impunity, shut up speech they disapprove of, they will continue to do so -- sometimes by actually punishing people who utter politically incorrect speech, and sometimes by simply chilling politically incorrect speech with the threat of punishment.
But this is a prisoner’s dilemma.
If the left knows that they themselves may be punished for their own hateful speech, they are likely to back off a bit on the issue.