Our suspicion was that CAIR etc. wanted to pack the events with their own people and thus attempt to further entrench the hate-speech-averse, anti-profiling, and anti-”Islamophobic” culture in the federal bureaucracy.
The DOJ held a Religious Freedom Seminar today here in Tampa and I was lucky to be able to attend. It was also attended by lawyers, pastors, concerned citizens, CAIR-FL and a representative from the Islamic Society of Tampa. The topics discussed were:
- Religious Discrimination in Education
- Religious Discrimination in Employment
- Religious Discrimination of Institutionalized Persons
- Religious Discrimination in Land Use, Housing and Equal Credit Opportunity
- Criminal Statutes Protecting Individuals From Religious Hate Crimes and Interference With Religious Exercise.
- Reporting of Hate Crimes
Tampa Pirate then goes on to give an account of the speakers, and the subsequent question and answer section of the seminar.
– – – – – – – – – –
After the Q&A and a short break we started the last two sections. The presenter was Mark Kappelhoff, Chief Criminal Section USDOJ Civil Rights Division, who has dealt with some very difficult cases of civil rights violations. However during the presentation he cited a few cases of civil rights violations and those were white skinhead on Jew and whites on Muslims. He also spent a lot of time discussing the sensitivity in the DOJ to Muslims and retaliation against Muslims post 9/11.
During the Q&A after the final two sections I pointed out to Mr. Kapplehoff that since 9/11, 31 non-Muslims have been killed and 25 injured by Muslims on U.S. soil. The victims were mainly Christians and a couple of Jews and they were killed by Muslim snipers primarily yet none of these cases gets any media attention with the exception of the Virginia sniper attacks. I sighted numerous cases, and pointed out that many times crimes against white Christians are not viewed as hate crimes. He confirmed that hate crimes can be committed against any race and any religion.
Mr. [Ahmed] Bedier [the Communication Director for CAIR] brought up the problem with hate crimes against Muslims and inflammatory comments against Muslims and Islam, and what can be done about them. Mr. Kapplehoff replied that hate crimes are viewed as serious to the DOJ, but that statements made may be offensive to some, but do not constitute hate crimes. A few minutes later Mr. Kilic asked a follow up question concerning hate speech, and he spoke about local area blogs and in particular Right-Wing Howler’s site that was shutdown after CAIR went after HostGator because of a tongue-in-cheek comment that was a repost made on the site…
Mr. Kapplehoff explained that he was familiar with the case, and this does not fall under hate speech or hate crimes statutes. In order for a comment to be defined as hate speech it has to
pass the following litmus test:
A) The threat has to be directed at an individual or a corporation, and must be truly ominous in nature. B) It has to be a true threat, not just a veiled threat.
He gave as an example of a real crime as this, “If someone sent an e-mail stating they were heading to that person’s house to kill them.”
He also went on to say that discourse is what makes the U.S. the greatest country on Earth and it is part of our fabric. He also said that he has no intention to become the “thought police.”
Unlike many at CAIR, I know that there are good people and bad people. Guys like Mr. Bedier have a history of saying and doing bad things. He supported Sami Al-Arian, and he has said organizations like PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) were moral organizations prior to 1996 (even though they carried out terrorist attacks on innocent people). These were just two examples. He is also always preaching that Christians and others need to learn tolerance for Islam, yet he does not require the same of his own people. If he did he would be spending time trying to get the Jihadist website removed because that is where many Americans get their biased views. If he wants to clean-up my backyard, he needs to clean his front yard up first.
A big thank-you to Tampa Pirate for attending the seminar and helping to extend the agenda to cover more than “Islamophobia”.
Next up in the “First Freedom” series is Seattle, Washington, on May 10, 2007. More information about the seminar is available here. We’ll need volunteers in Latte City for this event — if you live in or near Seattle and are willing to attend, please send Gates of Vienna your report, and we’ll post it here.
Hat tip: Christine of Vigilant Freedom.