On Friday, over 1,000 activists gathered in Dearborn, Michigan, to rally against free speech, protesting an online anti-Islamic video some still claim is the motivation behind protests in the Middle East.
“There is a need for deterrent legal measures against those individuals or groups that want to damage relations between people, spread hate and incite violence,” said organizer Osama Siblani, a publisher for Arab-American News and self-proclaimed “moderate.”
“We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to sow the seeds of hate and discord against the religious beliefs of others,” he added.
Henry Payne wrote at the Detroit News that Siblani “is apparently oblivious to how gutting the First Amendment would affect his own business.”
According to Payne, organizers “seek an international law banning what they define as anti-Mohammed speech that would supersede American law.”
The event comes just days after President Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that the “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
The Detroit Free Press reported that Friday’s rally was “the third protest in metro Detroit over the movie, the biggest one yet.”
“Say No to Hate-Mongering, Say No to Islamophobia,” said a banner at the Ford Performing Arts & Community Center.
Among those speaking at the event were Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Halloran, and civil rights leaders like Donnell White, executive director of the Detroit branch of the NAACP.
“United we stand, divided we fall,” White said. “We stand with you as our brothers and sisters.”
“We need to speak out against discrimination against Islam,” Judge Halloran said.
Payne notes that the rally “comes at a time when hate crimes toward Muslims in America have dropped more 50 percent in a decade.”
Another rally is scheduled to take place on Saturday, the Free Press reported.
‘Innocence of Muslims’ filmmaker arrested, held without bail
Christians stoned by American Muslims in Dearborn as police watch
Rep. John Conyers calls for government policy to counter anti-Muslim attitudes
Muslim leaders seek global blasphemy ban, limits on free speech
Obama angers conservatives with remarks on slander of Islam at United Nations
Egyptian Prime Minister: U.S. should limit free speech, many rioters paid
New York Times op-ed promotes Shariah law in U.S.
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