Monday, April 4, 2011

A Judge gets SMART and Rules in Favor of Freedom of Speech

In the spring of 2010 the city of Detroit refused to run Pamela Geller's religious liberty bus ads, which offer help to people wishing to leave Islam safely.

Pamela Geller stated, "Despite the desperate need for resources for Muslims under threat for leaving Islam, the city of Detroit refused to run our freedom campaign on the Dearborn and Detroit buses." 

In May of 2010 her group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, sued the city of Detroit for refusing to post their religious liberty ads.

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Detroit's SMART bus system must run Pamela's religious liberty ads which are aimed at helping those living in fear, wishing to leave Islam.

The city of Detroit even violated their own ad guidelines on freedom of speech.  The fear which Islamic supremacy poses to others of different faiths has permeated throughout both Detroit and Dearborn. Here is SMART's first guideline:

"As a governmental agency that receives state and federal funds, SMART is mandated to comply with federal and state laws.  First Amendment free speech rights require that SMART not censor free speech and because of that, SMART is required to provide equal access to advertising on our vehicles." 

CAIR claimed that Pamela's ads were "offensive." An individual or group's claim that something is "offensive' does not give them the right to violate the Constitution by violating person' free speech rights.

'According to the Washington Times, a teacher in Dearborn noted that there was "a climate of fear in the Detroit area's community." The educator explained: "The fear is palpable. I know there are things I am ‘not allowed' to say. A discussion of religion with a Muslim person is often prefaced by the statement, ‘Don't say anything about the Prophet [Muhammad].' In free society, open and honest conversation is not usually begun by a prohibition. Threats and intimidation are just part of life here." ' 

Then SMART accused Pamela's ads of being political.  WOW! Is Islam a political entity?  Are they effectively admitting that Islam is political?  Instead of or in addition to Islam being religiously based?

In their motion, AFDI argued "The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection."

Pamela stated:

"I flew to Detroit to testify in the suit back in July 2010.  David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, who is with the Thomas More Law Center, represented me. I was armed with hundreds of pictures of honor killing victims; the testimony of ex-Muslim teenager Rifqa Bary, whose life was threatened; screenshots of Facebook fatwas on apostates, and the actual death fatwa issued at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the most important institution of Islamic law in the Sunni world and the authority that approved the revealing English-language guide to the Sharia (Islamic law) known as Reliance of the Traveller." 

"This was a huge win, not just for us, but for the First Amendment, and a defeat for all those who claim that I am a hater because I am willing to talk about what is wrong in Islam -- including, as in this case, honor killings and fatwas for apostasy. Judge Hood protected free speech and did not take any swipes at my message, which she could have (such as saying, "While we might despise AFDI's message, we must protect it..."). She did not do that. Good for her." 

"I was thrilled, not just for the protection of free speech, but for those living in danger who will be helped by our freedom buses." 

"Those ignored and abandoned people were the ones who really won this victory." 

This is indeed a huge win for the First Amendment.  The Constitution won out, as it should, over Islam's environment of fear in Detroit and Dearborn.

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