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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 4, 2005 / 25 Nissan, 5765

When is violent speech still free speech?

By Jonathan Turley


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A case involving a Muslim extremist is forcing America to face a moment of self-definition



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is perhaps the first legal rule that children learn: "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me." It is not just a catchy phrase, but a fair reduction of a legal principle: Words alone are generally not actionable as forms of assault or crimes.


Last week, a jury in Alexandria, Va., offered a new addendum to this childhood axiom. Muslim scholar Ali al-Timimi was convicted of, among other crimes, incitement — encouraging followers to train with terrorist organizations and to engage in violent jihad. He now faces life in prison in a case that even the U.S. attorney called "unusual" based on speech. His appeal may now help define when violent speech crosses the line from free expression into criminal advocacy.


Violent speech is generally protected by the Constitution. However, the line between controversial and criminal speech has proved evasive for courts. Speech is not protected if it advocates "imminent" violent or unlawful conduct. Speech can be calculated to incite people, but not if it incites people in the wrong environment. Thus, screaming "fire" in a crowded theater is actionable, but not necessarily doing so in a park.


Such contradictions reflect a long history of how we deal with violent or inciteful speech. Under the Sedition Act of 1798, Congress made it a crime to "excite" people against the government or otherwise bring the government into "contempt or disrepute." This law was used by President John Adams against critics, despite its flagrant violation of the First Amendment and condemnations by framers such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

AN ALLY IN THE KKK
Al-Timimi, the Islamic extremist, was relying on an unlikely ally in free speech: an Ohio Ku Klux Klan grand dragon. In Brandenburg v. Ohio, a KKK leader was prosecuted for giving a speech at a farm outside of Cincinnati in which he warned that "if our president, our Congress, our Supreme Court, continues to suppress the white, Caucasian race, it's possible that there might be some revengeance taken."


Clarence Brandenburg was convicted under a state law of criminal statements that proclaimed the "necessity or propriety" of acts considered violent or unlawful.


Later, in reversing the conviction, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the government could not "forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such actions."


The decision reflected the court's understanding that political passion often drifts toward violent expressions. Thus, conservative columnist Ann Coulter is allowed to suggest "we should invade (Muslim) countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." More recently, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's chief of staff is allowed to proclaim, "I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"


The question of what constitutes advocacy of an "imminent lawless action" has remained a maddening ambiguity. This is precisely the ambiguity that al-Timimi stepped into during social gatherings in Virginia in the weeks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


Al-Timimi is the spiritual adviser to many Muslims across the country. He has worked with the government, including White House chief of staff Andrew Card, and he has been invited to speak on Islam to the U.S. military. He is the perfect conflicted individual for the conflicted area of violent speech.


On one hand, al-Timimi publicly denounced violence and called for tolerance in some speeches. However, privately, a darker image emerged. Five days after the 9/11 attacks, al-Timimi called for a "holy war" and "violent jihad." On Sept. 16, al-Timimi met in an apartment with a few young men and encouraged them to go abroad to join the jihad. Within days, some members were on their way to Karachi, Pakistan, to join Lashkar-e-Taiba — a group later put on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. Al-Timimi is quoted by former converts (who are now cooperating with the prosecutors) as referring to U.S. forces as "legitimate targets" if they attack Muslims in Afghanistan. (None actually fought, but a few did go abroad for training.)


INTENT OF AL-TIMIMI'S WORDS
The difficult question in the case is whether al-Timimi's statements to supporters not only advocated violent or unlawful conduct (which is protected), but encouraged imminent violent or unlawful acts. Notably, many of his comments have a future element to them. His reference to "legitimate targets" is premised on the possibility of a future U.S. intervention.


Conviction in these cases risks being overturned based on unpopular speech rather than a real imminent threat. Judge Leonie Brinkema allowed the jury to hear inflammatory statements made by al-Timimi on the morning of the Columbia shuttle disaster. Al-Timimi wrote in an e-mail to followers that "there is no doubt that Muslims were overjoyed because of the adversity that befell their greatest enemy" and called the disaster a "good omen." The relevance of such statements is questionable, but the potential prejudicial impact could not be more clear.


We have come a long way since John Adams chased down critics for sedition. We have learned that we have more to fear from the suppression of speech than from its expression.


We are now forced to address this question by a person who engenders little reason for sympathy. Yet, it is never about the defendants. It was not about the racist fantasies of Brandenburg. It certainly is not about the apocalyptic fantasies of al-Timimi. It is ultimately about us and who we are. With al-Timimi's conviction, we face that moment of self-definition again as his articles of speech become the test of our own articles of faith.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University. Click here to visit his website. Comment by clicking here.

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