View Full Version : Prosecuting Jihadist Intent

05-14-2009, 03:07 PM
Prosecuting Jihadist Intent

The trial and convictions reported in the story below raise a question that America is going to have to grapple with in the next few years: At what point does the constitutional protection of free speech no longer apply to those who speak about carrying out violent jihad?

For instance, is an imam’s call to jihad, echoing throughout an American mosque, constitutionally protected speech?

Lawyers who we have talked to say the question comes down to an assessment of whether or not the call to jihad is incitement to violence that amounts to an “imminent threat.” Yelling “fire” in a crowded theater is an example of speech that creates an imminent threat of injury to the moviegoers, and is thus not protected speech.

At what point does calling for jihad become the equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater? We in America deeply cherish the right to free speech, but are we at risk of enabling the seeds of our own destruction by erring too far in the protection of speech that calls for jihad against us?

Walid Phares, in his excellent book Future Jihad, argues that “…U.S. and western strategies are a reaction to terror actions.” (p. 197, emphasis in original). His point is that the jihadist ideology is what produces the jihadist actions, that the history of militant Islam demonstrates this, and until we address what he terms the “factory” that produces jihad, we will fall short of success in defeating jihad.

In other words, given the clear pronouncements for jihad against infidels embedded throughout Islam’s holy books, and 1,400 years of Islamic history of violent jihad resulting from the call to jihad in those holy books, it is not unreasonable to conclude a cause and effect relationship between the ideology of jihad and the actions of jihad.

Radical Islam is at heart a supremacist political ideology, and it is not the only such ideology that has ever existed. Nazism immediately comes to mind. Here in America, the Ku Klux Klan built a violent supremacist movement based upon hate and a twisting of the Bible. Each of these ideologies have certain things in common, including treating “non-believers” as second-class citizens and the call to violence against those “non-believers.”

So let us close with two questions. Would 21st century America celebrate the “rights” of a Grand Wizard of the KKK publicly calling for the lynching of African-Americans? By the same token, then, should America celebrate the “rights” of Islamists in America who publicly call for jihad against infidels in America?