The Brett Kimberlin Saga:

Follow this link to my BLOCKBUSTER STORY of how Brett Kimberlin, a convicted terrorist and perjurer, attempted to frame me for a crime, and then got me arrested for blogging when I exposed that misconduct to the world. That sounds like an incredible claim, but I provide primary documents and video evidence proving that he did this. And if you are moved by this story to provide a little help to myself and other victims of Mr. Kimberlin’s intimidation, such as Robert Stacy McCain, you can donate at the PayPal buttons on the right. And I thank everyone who has done so, and will do so.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Danger of Hate Speech Laws... to Islam

One of the things I find to be the most curious about the current confrontation on the subject of free speech is how often people argue that criticism of Islam or Muslims is “hate speech” and thus subject to being banned.  This is often done by Muslims themselves and invariably done by people who believe that Islam itself is protected by the First Amendment (and rightfully so), all while being apparently oblivious, or at least unconcerned about the potential unintended consequences of the precedents they would set.

Now, first, in American law “hate speech” is still protected speech.  For instance, in RAV v. St. Paul, the Supreme Court confronted a cross-burning.  The incident was indeed trespass and arson, as it involved teenagers coming onto the property of a black family and burning a cross.  It was not ordinarily protected speech and the Supreme Court made it clear that if Minnesota wanted to prosecute the defendants for trespass, arson, etc. it would have no problem with that.  Instead Minnesota chose to prosecute them under a local City of St. Paul ordinance that read as follows:

“Whoever places on public or private property a symbol, object, appellation, characterization or graffiti, including, but not limited to, a burning cross or Nazi swastika, which one knows or has reasonable grounds to know arouses anger, alarm or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion or gender commits disorderly conduct and shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Notice that this language even seems to apply to you burning a cross on your own property.  And in that case the Supreme Court said that even though a law banning trespass generally, or arson on someone else’s property generally would be permissible, when it only singles out certain messages for prohibition, the law fails.  For instance Justice Scalia (himself a devout Catholic) noted that under this law

[o]ne could hold up a sign saying, for example, that all “anti-Catholic bigots” are misbegotten; but not that all “papists” are, for that would insult and provoke violence “on the basis of religion.”  St. Paul has no such authority to license one side of a debate to fight freestyle, while requiring the other to follow Marquis of Queensberry rules.

Which is exactly right.  Suppose that a law made it unlawful to burn all buildings without the consent of its owners except synagogues or made it unlawful to attack any person, except reporters for Mother Jones.  The first example would be clear religious discrimination, and the second would be clear viewpoint discrimination (as Mother Jones is a liberal magazine).

(And actually both laws would be viewpoint discrimination as well.  The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Constitutional protections against viewpoint discrimination applies to religions, too.  But I used the Mother Jones example to hit you over the head with that point.)

Now there are two refinements to be made on this point.  First, while the legality of expressive conduct cannot turn on its content, the Supreme Court has blessed hate crime laws that enhance punishment based on bigoted motivations. So if you select a person to rob because of the color of their skin, you can face additional punishment for that depending on the law of the jurisdiction.  Second, the Supreme Court later held that Virginia was allowed to ban cross burning when that burning was intended as a threat, as long as all other kinds of threats were also banned, in Virginia v. Black.

But there are people who still think that if they label something “hate speech” that they can then ban it.  As so they allege that the movie The Innocence of Muslims is hate speech because it suggests that Islam is a violent religion and then they blame the movie on rioting (which seems to be a dubious way of rebutting the claim that Islam is a violent religion).

Offending message: This anti-jihad poster is currently in 10 stations across Manhattan after a court victory by conservative commentator Pamela Geller
Or we see the spectacle by which people say the Geller/American Freedom Defense Initiative poster amounts to hatred by calling all Muslims savages.  I find that to be a bizarre interpretation of it.  I mean here it is, on the right.  It seems to be saying nothing more than support Israel against its enemies.  I think calling their enemies savages is simplistic, but are all Muslims enemies of Israel?  Of course not.  So they are not calling all Muslims savages only the enemies of Israel, making this decidedly a poster about international politics and not a denunciation of any religious or ethnic group.

But let us concede for the sake of argument that it is an anti-Muslim poster.  It isn’t, but let’s put that aside for now.

To those who would ban so called “hate speech,” including the Pamela Geller poster I would ask if the following examples would count as “hate speech” that ought to be banned, too?  Imagine each of these as posters proposed to be placed in the New York subways with the following proposed texts:

Example #1:

Do not take Muslims for friends rather than non-Muslims.

Example #2:

True Christians do not take Muslims as friends.  Muslims are only friends with each other.  If you take a Muslim as a friend, then you are not a true Christian.

Example #3:

True Christians should not make friends with Muslims.  They will wait to see you fail and they delight in your pain.  They speak hate at you and what they conceal in their hearts is much worse.

Example #4:

True Christians should fight the Muslims around them, and never give them an inch!

Example #5:

Christians should fight Muslims until they agree to pay a special tax to Christians, and live in subjugation to them.

Example #6:

Fight the Muslims until they are forced to convert to Christianity.

Pretty awful stuff, huh?  And I would bet that those of you who would ban “hate speech” would seek to ban many, if not all, of those posters if someone proposed it.

And what if a book in a store, written perhaps by Jerry Falwell, said those things?  Would you propose banning the book as hate speech?  Some of the proponents of “hate speech” prohibitions would say yes.

Only there is one problem.  Each and every one of those quotations was not from some radical Christian, but were directly adapted from passages in the Koran itself, only changing it to apply to Christians instead of Muslims and vice versa.  In other words, you are all the victims of a patented Aaron “Worthing” Walker head-fake.

So if those posters are “hate speech,” then so is the Koran!

You don’t believe me?  Well, let me document it.  As my source for the text of the Koran, I picked the Project Gutenberg edition of Three Translations of the Koran.  That is, it literally presents each passage in three forms, varying slightly among the three translators.  You can read it in plain text, here and can easily search using a [Control-F] search to verify.  For instance, when I cite Koran 4:144, you can search for "004.144" to find the same passage.

So look at those hypotheticals again:

Example #1:

“Do not take Muslims for friends rather than non-Muslims.”

That is an adaption of Koran 4:144, which is translated in my source in the following ways:

Y: O ye who believe! Take not for friends unbelievers rather than believers: Do ye wish to offer Allah an open proof against yourselves?

P: O ye who believe! Choose not disbelievers for (your) friends in place of believers. Would ye give Allah a clear warrant against you?

S: O you who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?

“Y” refers to translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali, “P” refers to Marmaduke Pickthall, and “S” refers to Mohammad Habib Shakir.  And as you can see the passage is actually a little worse than my version, because it suggests that if you are friends with non-Muslims that Allah will proclaim you guilty by association of... something.

Example #2:

True Christians do not take Muslims as friends.  Muslims are only friends with each other.  If you take a Muslim as a friend, then you are not a true Christian.

That is adapted from Koran 5:51, which is translated by the three amigos as follows:

Y: O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

P: O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.

S: O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.

I suppose the most direct adaption in switching it around would be to say “don’t be friends with Jews and Muslims” but it was smoother to adapt it as I had.

Example #3:

True Christians should not make friends with Muslisms.  They will wait to see you fail and they delight in your pain.  They speak hate at you and what they conceal in their hearts is much worse.

That is adapted from Koran 3:118, which is translated by our trio as follows:

Y: O ye who believe! Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks: They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin: Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths: What their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.

P: O ye who believe! Take not for intimates others than your own folk, who would spare no pains to ruin you; they love to hamper you. Hatred is revealed by (the utterance of) their mouths, but that which their breasts hide is greater. We have made plain for you the revelations if ye will understand.

S: O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people; they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand.

Example #4:

True Christians should fight the Muslims around them, and never give them an inch!

That is a very contemporary adaptation of Koran 9:123.  And here’s the translation:

Y: O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him.

P: O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).

S: O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Example #5:

Christians should fight Muslims until they agree to pay a special tax to Christians, and live in subjugation to them.

Well, I suspect that readers would have guessed what I was doing with this one.  That is from Koran, 9:29.  Here’s the original translation:

Y: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

P: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

S: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

Example #6:

Fight the Muslims until they are forced to convert to Christianity.

From the Koran 8:38-39:

Y: Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them).  And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.

P: Tell those who disbelieve that if they cease (from persecution of believers) that which is past will be forgiven them; but if they return (thereto) then the example of the men of old hath already gone (before them, for a warning). And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

S: Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed. And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.

The point of this exercise isn’t to say that the Koran is evil, or that Islam is evil.  Yes, there are some gnarly passages in the Koran you have just seen.  But I know enough Muslims to know that they don’t really take this stuff seriously.  For instance, the Koran seems to command Muslims not to be friends with infidels, so the fact that I can count several Muslims as friends proves they don’t take those passages too seriously.

I think what has to be accepted is that the character of a faith doesn’t exist in a text, necessarily, but in the minds of its adherents.  This is true whether a faith has a foundational text or not.  Of course there are certainly going to be those people who will actually try to follow the text of a faith as written down to the letter.  But unless there is perfect adherence to a text, the text can only be some evidence of the character of a faith, but it is not the only and exclusive evidence of it.

I mean Christians profess to believe in and follow the Bible.  I do.  But last night I had ham for dinner.  There are a few passages in the Bible, in the Old Testament, that says I wasn’t supposed to do that, and yet most Christian denominations would have no problem with my cuisine.  So you can’t figure out whether Christians think it is okay to eat pig meat solely by looking at the Old Testament any more than you can look to Koran to determine if Muslims can be friends with non-Muslims.

No, the foundational text of a faith is only one piece of evidence of the character of a faith.  You have to look at the conduct of the faithful, as well as what its adherents say about that faith, to determine the character of a faith.  So it is correct to say that Christianity today has no bias against eating pig meat, and it is equally correct that Islam does not believe Muslims shouldn’t be friends with non-believers, or to fight them until they pay special taxes to them, and so on.

The point of that exercise isn’t therefore to condemn Islam or the Koran as hate speech, but instead to show how easily it could be done, so I can show the danger in a legal regime that allows for the banning of so-called “hate speech.”  In other words, American Muslims should oppose hate speech laws if only because they might find their own religion banned under the same laws.

Do you think that couldn’t happen?  Let me lay out the scenario.  Imagine first the Supreme Court reverses its precedents and holds that speech that tends to incite hatred against people of a different race, gender, religion and so on can be prohibited, even criminalized.  So Pamela Geller’s ads are banned, her site is shut down, and so on...

And then imagine a nuclear bomb goes off in downtown Manhattan, killing millions of innocent people.  Imagine it is set off by a man who screams “Allah Akbar” (“God is Great”) and believes he is going off to his seventy-two virgins in paradise as he presses the button.  Good Muslims protest that this man does not represent true Islam, but all across the country Islam is banned as inciting hatred against Christians and Jews.  Copies of the Koran are burned in the streets.  Devout and peaceful Muslims are told they either have to renounce their faith or leave the country.  Or perhaps they are merely placed in camps.  The Supreme Court will write an opinion that tells us that they “deem it unjustifiable to call them concentration camps with all the ugly connotations that term implies” and the American people watch another dark chapter in our nation’s history unfold.

Good Americans of all faiths should consider my hypothetical of the last two paragraphs to be a nightmare scenario.  It is implausible under current American law, but the first step to making it plausible is if we establish that posters or books you don’t like can be banned as “hate speech.”  That is a Pandora’s box of repression that we should not want to open.

And this is why we must tolerate even speech we deeply disagree with, even so called "hate speech."

Thanks to “Howard Roak” on twitter for helping me find the relevant passages of the Koran.


My wife and I have lost our jobs due to the harassment of convicted terrorist Brett Kimberlin, including an attempt to get us killed and to frame me for a crime carrying a sentence of up to ten years.  I know that claim sounds fantastic, but if you read starting here, you will see absolute proof of these claims using documentary and video evidence.  If you would like to help in the fight to hold Mr. Kimberlin accountable, please hit the Blogger’s Defense Team button on the right.  And thank you.

Follow me at Twitter @aaronworthing, mostly for snark and site updates.  And you can purchase my book (or borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime), Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History here.  And you can read a little more about my novel, here.



I have accused some people, particularly Brett Kimberlin, of reprehensible conduct.  In some cases, the conduct is even criminal.  In all cases, the only justice I want is through the appropriate legal process—such as the criminal justice system.  I do not want to see vigilante violence against any person or any threat of such violence.  This kind of conduct is not only morally wrong, but it is counter-productive.

In the particular case of Brett Kimberlin, I do not want you to even contact him.  Do not call him.  Do not write him a letter.  Do not write him an email.  Do not text-message him.  Do not engage in any kind of directed communication.  I say this in part because under Maryland law, that can quickly become harassment and I don’t want that to happen to him.

And for that matter, don’t go on his property.  Don’t sneak around and try to photograph him.  Frankly try not to even be within his field of vision.  Your behavior could quickly cross the line into harassment in that way too (not to mention trespass and other concerns).

And do not contact his organizations, either.  And most of all, leave his family alone.

The only exception to all that is that if you are reporting on this, there is of course nothing wrong with contacting him for things like his official response to any stories you might report.  And even then if he tells you to stop contacting him, obey that request.  That this is a key element in making out a harassment claim under Maryland law—that a person asks you to stop and you refuse.

And let me say something else.  In my heart of hearts, I don’t believe that any person supporting me has done any of the above.  But if any of you have, stop it, and if you haven’t don’t start.

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