A few days ago I wrote about a Muslim man who caused a HUGE panic in a bar in Idaho. The ENTIRE restaurant panicked around 8:15 pm Friday night after a man with a backpack got up on the bar and yelled “praised Allah as the only god.” The restaurant owners say that customers immediately bolted to every door in the restaurant. Because of the rise in terrorism around the world related to extreme Muslims yelling “Allahu Akbar” and other related phrases, it is no surprise that laws are being passed against people yelling these phrases in public being considered ‘dangerous speech’.
The idea of falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater arose from the Supreme Court’s 1919 decision in the case Schenck v. United States. The Court ruled unanimously that the First Amendment, though it protects freedom of expression, does not protect dangerous speech. In the decision, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that no free speech safeguard would cover someone “falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. NOW the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled that cries of “Allahu Akbar” directed at Jews on the Temple Mount are illegal and constitutes disturbing the peace.
“Israel’s past experience has shown that the chant is often used in contexts outside of prayer. Accompanying riots and occasionally leading to terrorism and violence,” the presiding judge, Shmuel Herbest, told the Hebrew language NRG news site. The ruling harked back to an incident five years ago in which Sahar Ghazzawi fought a policeman off and broke his radio when he was escorted off the premises for yelling “Allahu Akbar” at a group of Jews on the flashpoint holy site.
Ghazzawi defended himself with the claim that he was not shouting at the Jews, rather he was saying the phrase as part of his religious ritual. He added that he struggled with the policeman because the latter refused his requests to go to the bathroom.
However, a witness testified that Ghazzawi’s chant was not a prayer but a way of goading Jews visiting the site. The report added that Ghazzawi may have been paid by the Islamist group Amarat al-Aqsa to visit the Temple Mount regularly in order to discourage Jews from coming.
The judge said that saying “Allahu Akbar” during proper times for prayer at a holy site constitutes a fundamental right. But when these chants are misappropriated in the context of riots or protest, they are considered a clear violation of peace. The judge also said Muslims are able to exercise far more rights – including prayer, study, and free access to the complex – on the Temple Mount than members of any other religion.
So what do you think? Does this law restrict the freedom of speech or is it rightful because it restricts dangerous speech? Please comment below…