Even in today’s crazy world, there’s still some justice to be found in the United States.
A convert to Islam who helped promote death threats against the producers of the animated television show “South Park” after it featured a character representing the prophet Mohammad will serve eleven-and-a-half years in prison, a federal judge ordered Friday.
Jesse Morton pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and two counts related to issuing threats in connection with actions after an April 2010 episode of the comedy.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady seemed to agree with the prosecution argument that the threats will live on indefinitely for those targeted, and that a strong sentence is needed to stand against such brutal assaults on free speech.
“You were rubbing elbows with some of the most dangerous revolutionaries of the past few years,” O’Grady said Friday, adding “there has to be religious tolerance in the world. There has to be freedom of speech.”
Amen. (And I mean that in the most secular of ways.)
And it’s about time. Like many Americans, I am sick of the pretense that holding Muslim fanatics responsible for their actions and threats somehow represents an attack on freedom of speech. We’re not talking here about the right to publish and read, buy and sell religious documents. We’re talking about open threats of violence against the producers and writers of a television show.
If you or I threatened the producers of a television show, or a website, that we didn’t like — suggesting, as Jesse Morton did, that we’d be “paying a visit” to them in order to do them harm — we would be prosecuted under the law for making a threat. Nobody would say it’s an attack on our freedom of speech. The “freedom” to make physical threats against others? Since when!? Only when you’re a Muslim; at least, until now.
The one valid function of government is to protect individuals from the initiation of force. Innocent, nonviolent people are entitled to be protected from the violence of another. This includes the threat of violence.
Jesse Morton, age 33, was reportedly a founder of the radical website Revolution Muslim, created in 2007 for posting material “supportive of violent jihad,” court papers showed.
That’s where the “South Park” threats were published, along with excerpts on bomb-making from al-Qaida’s English-language Inspire magazine. The posting included a picture of slain Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was killed after producing a short film considered offensive to Islam.
Nobody has a right to announce publicly an intention to physically harm another, and then to hide behind the cloak of a politically correct religion as a defense. This should be self-evident. But our current President of the United States forbids his administration from publicly referring to such people as terrorists. Why? Because it might offend Muslims. This is the kind of moral cowardice which gives confidence to terrorists who threaten others in the name of their religion.
We do justice a disservice by pretending that threats and violence are not what they are, as these apologists for Islam such as our current President do.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) minimized (according to Newsmax.com) the significance of the threats when they first were issued, dismissing Revolution Muslim as “an extreme fringe group that has absolutely no credibility within the Muslim community.” National spokesman Ibrahim Hooper even speculated the group was “set up only to make Muslims look bad.”
Earth to Council on American-Islamic Relations: It’s not the victims of Islamic terrorism who make Muslims look bad. It’s Muslims who make Muslims look bad. I’m talking here of the Muslims who commit violence, as well as the Muslims who either excuse that violence or refuse to speak out against it (i.e., almost all of them.)
I cannot help the fact that nearly all the organized violence taking place on the planet these days is done in the name of Islam. The next use of nuclear weapons will almost certainly be an attack by fundamentalist Muslims against those they dislike, most likely Israel.
People who are Muslim and don’t agree with violence ought to take a stand against their fellow Muslims who make all these threats. Instead, I see them defending and excusing them. It’s frankly twisted and sick.
Jesse Morton was convicted because he was prosecuted on principled grounds, a rare thing in these timid times. His prosecutors made the case, correctly, that Morton’s actions are not only physical threats, but attacks on freedom of speech itself.
Remember that advocates of Islam are not defending themselves against dictatorship. They are fighting — literally bombing and killing — for the “right” to impose dictatorship on others. They feel it is a violation of their rights to be forced to live on a planet with people who don’t practice their faith.
People openly committed to the destruction of free speech are not the victims. They are the victimizers. They are not in violation of the law for holding their irrational beliefs, but they are in violation the minute they cross over the line and threaten or impose force. Radical Muslim Jesse Morton did exactly that, and he got what he deserved.