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It's completely possible for free speech and hate speech laws to coexist. I'll prove it.

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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:14 PM
Original message
It's completely possible for free speech and hate speech laws to coexist. I'll prove it.
I want to say one last thing about my stance on Terry Jones and what he did. I know I've ruffled more than a few feathers with my stance on hate speech laws and I apologize profusely if I offended anybody. That was clearly not my original intent when defending my position on hate speech.

What I want to address, however is the truly bizarre notion around here that if hate speech laws take place, that some bizarre Taliban / Nazi regime will take over our government. That is not true even slightly! Our government and military are way too big and way too powerful to let that happen. It's the same stupid, boogeyman bullshit logic peddled by the Fox News fans, freepers, and dittoheads of the world on a daily basis. I'd really like to think we're better than that. I'd like to think we're better than their logic.

So rather than drown my sorrows in a defeated argument, I decided to spend some time doing some research to back up my claims. What I found was truly enlightening. There's 26 democracies on this planet. And of those 26 democracies, all 26 have freedom of speech laws defined in their respective constitutions. And of those 26 democracies, 25 have hate speech laws in effect. You know which one doesn't? If you guessed the United States, you guessed correctly. Sure, attempts have been made in the past but it has yet to happen. In any of those 25 countries, Terry Jones would've been shit-canned the second he wrote that press release. But somehow, that can't happen here. Oh no. That's un-American. So what did I find? Look at this:

Take for example, The Netherlands:

Article 137c: He who publicly, orally, in writing or graphically, intentionally expresses himself insultingly regarding a group of people because of their race, their religion or their life philosophy, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental disability, shall be punished by imprisonment of no more than a year or a monetary penalty of the third category.<17>
Article 137d: He who publicly, orally, in writing or graphically, incites hatred against, discrimination of or violent action against person or belongings of people because of their race, their religion or their life philosophy, their gender, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation of their physical, psychological or mental disability, shall be punished by imprisonment of no more than a year or a monetary penalty of the third category.<18>


Poland:

Constitution of Poland

Article 54 of the Constitution protects freedom of speech.<1> By its Article 13, the Constitution prohibits political parties and other organizations which have programmes based upon totalitarian methods and the modes of activity of nazism, fascism, and communism. Article 13 further prohibits any programmes or activities which promote racial or national hatred. Article 35 gives national and ethnic minorities the right to establish educational and cultural institutions and institutions designed to protect religious identity.<2>


England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_the_Un...

Switzerland:

In Switzerland public discrimination or invoking to rancor against persons or a group of people because of their race, ethnicity, is getting penalized with a term of imprisonment until 3 years or a mulct. In 1934, the authorities of the Basel-Stadt canton criminalized anti-Jewish hate speech, e.g. the accusation of ritual murders, mostly in reaction against a pro-nazi antisemitic group and newspaper, the Volksbund.<29>


Ireland:

In Ireland, the right to free speech is guaranteed under the Constitution (Article 40.6.1.i). However, the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, proscribes words or behaviours which are "threatening, abusive or insulting and are intended or, having regard to all the circumstances, are likely to stir up hatred" against "a group of persons in the State or elsewhere on account of their race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origins, membership of the travelling community or sexual orientation."<15>
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech


Croatia:

Croatia

Croatian constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but Croatian penal code prohibits and punishes "who based on racial, religious, language, political or any other belief, wealth, birth, education, social status or other properties, gender, skin color, nationality or ethnicity violates basic human rights and freedoms recognized from international community".<11>


Belgium:



Look, something needs to happen before and if Terry Jones decides to act on his next bizarre stunt - Putting the Prophet Muhammed on trial. That could have serious implications for us and make what happened last seem like a cake walk in comparison. The last thing we need is more war or to escalate the wars we're already in. If this doesn't change your mind, nothing will. I've got my asbestos suit on.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. Look they can call it "freedom of speech" but that doesn't make it so
The USSR had "freedom of speech"

And yeah, you had the right to say whatever you wanted, as long as it was OK with the government
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white_wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Is the USSR really what you want
to compare all those countries too?
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Meh. They have similar policies.
Yes there are a lot of great things we can learn from European Social Democracies - I consider myself a Democratic Socialist.

But not at the expense of free speech - very few countries still have true freedom of speech.

Ever wonder where the term "soapbox" comes from? Hyde Park in London is famous for having free discussion of ANYTHING. But they have a law that says you can't speak ill of the Queen on British Soil. So you use a soapbox which is the required 2 feet from the ground, thus not on "British Soil." UK has very free speech, but not true free speech.

The US may be sucking eggs in a big way right now, but at least it has that one thing going for it.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. You lost me with this paragraph:
"What I want to address, however is the truly bizarre notion around here that if hate speech laws take place, that some bizarre Taliban / Nazi regime will take over our government. That is not true even slightly! Our government and military are way too big and way too powerful to let that happen. It's the same stupid, boogeyman bullshit logic peddled by the Fox News fans, freepers, and dittoheads of the world on a daily basis. I'd really like to think we're better than that. I'd like to think we're better than their logic. "

A bizarre nazi/taliban/teabagloon regime just took over my state legislature. From what I've read here and elsewhere, other state legislatures have suffered similar events. The federal House of Representatives is right now further to the right than anytime in my life on this planet, and that life goes back to Truman. The rightward plunge has been rather steady since 1980, merely slowed down a little bit by the caretaker regimes of Clinton and now Obama.

The Airforce is completely infiltrated and compromised by theo-fascists, so we can pretty much count them out if a constitutional crisis occurred. I have no idea about the other branches, but I would not count on any of them doing squat as long as a facade of legality were maintained.

When it comes to first world democracies we are off the freaking chart with respect to religiousity. Factor that into your comparisons and you end up with nothing at all to base your assertions on.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. There's a saying I keep hearing around here:
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross".

I'd like to think this is going to be a temporary thing. Scott Walker and Rick Scott have shown how dangerous Xtian Taliban/teabagger regimes can be, and I would really like to think it's awoken the masses for the 2012 election.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
36. It'll only be temporary if we fight against it.
It's not going to just go away.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. Unfortunately, you'd have to triple the size of the judicial system
to handle all the yowling Christians offended by the "Good without god" posters and all the screeching Teabaggers who are incensed about being called teabaggers, even though they originally named themselves that. Too many people in this country seem to live in a perpetually offended state and too many of them seem to think they should never be offended by fellow citizens by hearing a word of disagreement, ever.

I like the laws the way they are, simply because they remind the majority that even a despised minority has rights. In real life, hate speech often has the consequences of earning the speaker a knuckle sandwich, being sacked from his job, and a keyed car, things that curtail much of it.

They might be able to go after that nutbag Jones because he is getting people killed in a war zone. A better idea would be to get the hell out of that war zone altogether, but somehow that never occurs to TPTB.

I mostly feel sorry for men like Jones, so twisted up with hatred toward all the wrong people that they'll never figure out what their real problems are. I do think he needs to put a sock in it until our troops (at least) are out of that sink of a country.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Yeah, I really wonder why we're still there.
And it really makes me wonder what Jones' end game plan for that was.
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Mojeoux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
7. When studying the "Fire in a Theater" exception in University classes on the First Ammendment.
If you yelled that it was safe to shoot, knowing it wasn't, is a crime.

That's only one, but there are others and TJones can could be charged, if any of his victims were here in the U.S.

In cases of death or injury, if you said a rider at a rodeo was ready and you knew he wasn't, that's a crime. Even if you didn't know, but you knew you weren't supposed to yell unless you knew the rider was ready, that's a crime, a lesser crime , but illegal.

Hate speech is disgusting.
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TheKentuckian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. Your premise fails pretty quickly relying on the size and power of our military and government
to protect our freedoms. All of history rejects the notion.

As for your contortions to carve out a right against offense and consequentially culpability for offense or vice versa, it is inherently restrictive of expression and free speech no matter what nations attempt to legislate such nonsense.

I don't get to wantonly rampage because some fuckwit burned or pissed on or shat upon an object of my reverence or liking. These people where in no danger real or imaginary, nor was any such threat implied.

This act cannot be conflated with a burning cross in a victim's yard, there is no possibility of even an implied threat, there can be no fear instilled, there is no reasonable standard of intimidation.
This is not a reasonable reaction in unreasonable circumstances.
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Nye Bevan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
9. So you want people who equate Christianity to believing in "Sky Monsters" to go to jail?
You're sentencing quite a few DUers there.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Uh... what?
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #11
28. that would seem to fit the law of the accursed Dutch, for one
"He who publicly, orally, in writing or graphically, intentionally expresses himself insultingly regarding a group of people because of their race, their religion or their life philosophy, their heterosexual or homosexual orientation or their physical, psychological or mental disability, shall be punished by imprisonment of no more than a year or a monetary penalty of the third ..."

If "conservatism" is a life philosophy, then people cannot legally say anything insulting about conservatism. Insulting may not be the best way to communicate, but sometimes "the truth" is insulting if people say what they really feel about the ridiculous beliefs of other people, like the people who committed suicide so they could be transported onto the alien ship that was flying behind the Hale-Bopp comet, or members of a Flat Earth society, or those who go around putting things on top of other things. Clearly, a bunch of frigging loons, if I can say so from my hotel in Amsterdam.

Excuse me, somebody is knocking loudly at the door. Somebody's ringing the bell.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. Then how did Bill Maher get away with public-square preaching the tenants of Scientology?
Little hole in the theory there.
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
12. The US isn't Poland, Croatia, or Belgium. It's the United States.
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 10:42 PM by RZM
Very permissive free speech laws are how we get down over here. It WOULD be un-American to change them, because our first amendment and the way it's been interpreted are very much part of our identity and helps makes us who we are (and also defines what we are not, which is all of these places you mentioned).

Also, some hate speech laws, especially Holocaust denial laws (which are also on the books in France, Italy, Austria, and other places) are more about having legal means of limiting the ability of far-right fascist parties to express themselves. Europe's history is much different than ours, which is one reason their speech laws are different.

While I abhor holocaust denial, I still support the right of the deniers here to make their case . . . stupid as it is. It doesn't mean you have to listen. It just means they get to say it.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I'm starting to get the feeling that it's damned if you do and damned if you don't.
I too hate things like holocaust denial and the general jackassery that douchebags like Terry Jones and Rush Limbaugh display on a daily basis - but one of the reasons I like reading this site on a daily basis is to learn from them - so I know how the opposition truly thinks. The only way to win against them is to expose them for who they are.
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. That's certainly one good argument for free speech
The flip would be that some ideas are just beyond the pale and nobody has a right to speak (and thus hear) them. But I have a problem with others deciding what I can or can't be exposed to. I don't want anybody making those decisions for me and certainly not anybody in the political class.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I don't either, but I guess I don't get this all or nothing attitude toward free speech.
I don't get how a country like Germany or France keeps from locking up half their citizens from these laws, yet we cant enact them here. I would really like to know.
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Different cultures and different histories I guess
We pretty different from France and Germany, notwithstanding a shared Western heritage. Part of the US 'national character,' to the extent that there is such a thing, rests on our founding political principles and total free speech is a cornerstone of that. Other nations are much different - for many, their identities rest much more heavily on linguistic, ethnic, religious, and cultural identities.

Just since the emergence of the US state in the late 18th century, France and Germany both have gone through numerous upheavals and changes in their modes of governance. France is on its 5th Republic since the Revolution. Germany wasn't even united until 1871 and aside from the Weimar years, Germany has only been a real democracy since after WWII (and the East had to wait until 1990). Both countries have also dealt much more directly and more recently with the legacies of ruinous wars, foreign occupations, and non-Democratic modes of governance.

I'm not arguing that Europe shouldn't have hate-speech laws (though personally I oppose them). But I am arguing that we shouldn't have them. Because I feel to do so would compromise our identity - and that identity is very different from national identities elsewhere in the world. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. That's a good point.
But I've spent my whole life trying to find a reason why these assholes are given a free ride to be assholes. I don't tolerate that kind of behavior. And I don't tolerate the douchebaggery, hatred, and bigotry displayed by the Joneses, the Falwells, the Robertsons, the Dobsons, the Haggards, you name the rest. It just sickens me on a level of no end. I appreciate our free speech laws and I know why they're in place, I just wish we could tell these people when they're being assholes.
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RZM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:27 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Who says you can't?
It works both ways. You can tell them how wrong they are all day long. They don't have to listen, but they can't stop you from saying it.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Certainly true.
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BzaDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. "I just wish we could tell these people when they're being assholes." You can. That's the beauty of
free speech.

I am not a pure absolutist on the issue. For example, I support campaign finance reform, and might potentially support certain time/place/manner restrictions (such as requiring protests at funerals against the dead person to be somewhat further away from the grieving family). But I am very wary of laws that block offensive speech based on content. There IS a way to counter such speech, and it is exactly the way you identified -- more speech.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 09:32 AM
Response to Reply #20
35. How about telling the group of Muslims
that killed people because a book was burned that they are fucking insane and that that shit has to stop?

You can make plenty of "You're an A-Hole" signs and got to Jones' place and let him know. Beautiful system, ain't it. Some of those hate speech laws you quote might prohibit that since it could be determined you are protesting because of his religious beliefs.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
27. one thing about the 1st Amendment
is that it is not necessarily ABSOLUTE.

As The Oxford Companion to SCOTUS writes in "First Amendment Balancing"

"Notwithstanding the specific guarantee of the First Amendment and, by implication, that of the 14th, the quintet of rights enumerated in its language are not regarded as absolute, despite Justice Hugo Black's ardent advocacy of such an approach, a 'balancing' between individual and societal rights seems a logical compromise between those who would brook no governmental regulation of 1st Amendment rights, whatsoever, and those who readily support stern, sometimes draconian, measures on the grounds of national security or law and order. In general, the judicial branch has endeavored to draw a viable line between protected constitutional rights and permissible government regulation.

Unless one rejects utterly any regulatory governmental authority, 1st Amendment balancing, by whatever name, is an obvious necessity. The difficulty, however, is in determining a constitutionally and legally viable line, particularly since many 1st Amendment claims are inherently controversial and polycentric." p. 347
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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
16. Not interested. I like the 1st amendment just how it is.
"In any of those 25 countries, Terry Jones would've been shit-canned the second he wrote that press release"

It's truly interesting that you fail to perceive that this law would end up "shit-canning" a lot of progressive and artistic voices perceived to have "offended" any number of fundamentalist Christian wackos - including Terry Jones himself.

That's the thing about "free speech for me but not for thee" arguments: they inevitably double-back on themselves, and end up silencing all dissenting voices. I can just imagine a "hate speech" law in the hands of a John Ashcroft, as he merrily purged museums nationwide of "offensive art" and had Richard Dawkins arrested upon entering the country for "hate speech" against Christians.

Ah, but I'm sure you're going to tell us, that particular shoe would never be on that other foot....trust me...trust me...

No, thanks: like I said above, I'll stick with the 1st amendment. You're free, on the other hand, to put your money where you browser is and engage in all the self-censorship you wish if you think it's going to "offend" someone somewhere. Just quit badgering those of us not interested in following suit. Thanks.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. I think I'm losing this one, and I'm fine with it.
The only reason I'm so adamant about hate speech laws is that I've seen it first hand. And there was nothing I could do about it because of the first amendment - the people that bullied me had a right to say those things. And I know that even the mere suggestion of fighting it is a lose-lose situation, so I guess I can believe what I want to believe, and others believe what they want to believe.
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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Well, I will give you all the credit in the world for not only honesty, but grappling with the issue
in a nuanced way. There is a refreshing intellectual honesty there that gives you a good deal of credibility in my eyes, even if we ultimately have to agree to disagree.

Thank you for the reply.
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. No problem, I try to be honest.
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 11:43 PM by Initech
A lot of people here know that I'm a huge advocate against bullying, and I've seen what they do first hand, and I've spent most of my life trying to figure out what makes them tick. What Terry Jones did - he bullied an entire religion. And that takes serious balls. To bully an entire religion. I know I poke a lot of fun at Christianity, Scientology, and so on, but that's just it - I'm poking fun at it, none of that should ever be taken seriously.
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #16
30. The UK has hate speech laws. Somehow Richard Dawkins remains unobstructed.
:shrug:
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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
23. Also, Americans use other countries' hate speech laws to their advantage when it suits them
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 11:37 PM by Turborama
I give you the case of Abu Hamza as exhibit 1:

Arrests and convictions for UK offences

On 26 August 2004, Masri was arrested by British police under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which covers the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism. He was de-arrested on 31 August 2004 (not released, he remained on remand for the US extradition case).

Almost two months later on 19 October 2004, he was charged with 16 crimes under the provisions of various British statutes, including encouraging the murder of non-Muslims, and intent to stir up racial hatred. The trial commenced on 5 July 2005 but was adjourned, and resumed on 9 January 2006. On 7 February 2006 he was found guilty on eleven charges and not guilty on four:

* Guilty of six charges of soliciting to murder under the Offences against the Person Act 1861; not guilty on three further such charges.

* Guilty of three charges related to "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention of stirring up racial hatred" under the Public Order Act 1986, not guilty on one further such charge.

* Guilty of one further charge of owning recordings related to "stirring up racial hatred".

* Guilty of one charge of possessing "terrorist encyclopaedia" under the Terrorism Act 2000, s58. The charges under the Terrorism Act of 2000 related to his possession of the Encyclopedia of Afghan Jihad and an Al Qaeda Handbook, and to propaganda materials produced by Masri.

He was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. He has already been in jail since May 2004. In sentencing, Mr Justice Hughes said Masri had "helped to create an atmosphere in which to kill has become regarded by some as not only a legitimate course but a moral and religious duty in pursuit of perceived justice".

On 18 January 2007 Lord Justice Hughes made the order for the recovery of the full costs of the defence of the race-hate charges, estimated in excess of 1 million pounds. This judgement was based on his view that "the story I have been told today (by Masri) is simply not true" that he had no share in a 220,000 house in Greenford, west London. Masri had claimed it belonged to his sister. The court also found that Masri was contributing 9000 a year for private education for his children.

Although Masri would normally have completed his sentence and be freed, he is still being held on remand in Belmarsh Prison whilst the U.S. seeks to extradite him (see here).

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Hamza_al-Masri
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
26. Good thing we're not in the Netherlands
or there'd be a lot of DUers in jail.
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Unvanguard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
29. I support hate-speech laws, but I don't support criminalizing the desecration of "sacred" objects.
Edited on Tue Apr-05-11 12:04 AM by Unvanguard
I have no doubt that Terry Jones is an Islamophobic bigot, and his actions should be roundly condemned, but criticism of belief systems should not be proscribable in a democratic society. (Anti-Muslim hate speech--e.g. "Muslims are pedophiles and we should deport them all"--would be a different matter.)
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 02:21 AM
Response to Original message
32. Waaah. The pesky 1st Amendment. Waaaaah.
Sorry, I'll keep it.
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ProgressiveProfessor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
33. Such speech restrictions can and have been used capriciously, particularly in Canada
It is much better and clearer here in the US
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
34. Well, you've certainly provent that you don't know how to win frineds or influence people,
This paragraph pretty much seals that deal:

"What I want to address, however is the truly bizarre notion around here that if hate speech laws take place, that some bizarre Taliban / Nazi regime will take over our government. That is not true even slightly! Our government and military are way too big and way too powerful to let that happen. It's the same stupid, boogeyman bullshit logic peddled by the Fox News fans, freepers, and dittoheads of the world on a daily basis. I'd really like to think we're better than that. I'd like to think we're better than their logic."

First of all, in these discussions and posts I've seen you discussing this subject, I have yet to see any comparison to a "bizarre Taliban/Nazi regime. Such hyperbole does your case no good.

Furthermore, comparing those who disagree with you to "Fox News fans, freepers, and dittoheads of the world" is insulting a lot of people around here, and further weakening your position.

But to get to the meat of your argument, you claim that other democracies can do hate speech legislation just fine, but the real question is, who would define speech as hate speech? You? Me? The government or courts? This could lead to a whole Pandora's box of problems, and frankly I'm not comfortable with anybody judging whether or not what I say is hate speech, nor are a lot of people, probably a majority of the population.

Finally, what you are trying to do is water down the First Amendment. We have a longstanding tradition in this country of idiots saying what they want and being able to prove to the world just what idiots they are.

And again, the simple fact of the matter is that Terry Jones is not responsible for murders committed halfway around the world. You are continuously putting the blame on him for what he said, but conveniently put none of the blame on the religious fundies who actually murdered those innocents.

It is time for you to do two things, first of all, recognize that it is those religious fundies who actually committed the murders who are responsible for those actions. Not Jones, not anybody else. Those religious fundies apparently can't exercise the self control any civilized person has, and they need to pay for the crime they committed.

Second, the First Amendment can be inconvenient and maddening. allowing a platform for every nutcase in this country. But if you try to legislate matters so that those nutcases don't have a Constitutional platform from which to speak, then guess what, neither will you, I, or and other liberal have a platform to speak from. You will, in essence, be cutting your own throat. Never the brightest of maneuvers.
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brooklynite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 10:01 AM
Response to Original message
37. So, you would support Ireland's anti-blasphemy law...
After all, their Constitution supports free speech:

(6.1) The State guarantees liberty for the exercise of the following rights, subject to public order and morality:--
(i) The right of the citizens to express freely their convictions and opinions.


But somehow, that Constitutional right still allows the state to criminalize any comment deemed offensive about any religion:

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if
(a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.


Would a law like this get passed in United States? I'm not personally willing to assume not. I'll stick with the 1st Amendment as is, thank you.



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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 02:24 PM
Response to Original message
38. I think your ultimate goal of reducing hate is honorable, but I don't think locking people up
for saying what is on their minds will reduce hate.
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