In his speech, the president lauded the “enshrined” American values of constitutional protections and freedom of speech, as he reminded his world audience that “citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe,” and that they should be allowed to “speak their minds and assemble without fear.” He then emphatically stated that in the U.S. “our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.”
Yet Muslims around the world wondered where were these protections of freedom of speech when several American Muslims were indicted and sentenced to as much as life in prison in the U.S. for exercising First Amendment activities, including an American Muslim pharmacist of Egyptian descent in Boston who was sentenced to seventeen years in 2012 for translating passages and uploading videos to the internet, and a cable operator of Pakistani descent who was sentenced to almost six years in 2004 for connecting his New York customers to Hezbollah’s satellite channel.
In many of these cases, government prosecutors speculated that the speech of the Muslim defendants was not protected because it could have led to violence even though no evidence was ever presented to support such a theory. Contrast that with the proven record of hate speech spewed by numerous American Islamophobes, many of whom were quoted extensively by anti-Muslim extremist Anders Breivik, who deliberately killed in cold blood 77 people in Norway in July 2011. In his 1500-page manifesto, Breivik cited many American anti-Muslim haters such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Pamela Geller, Martin Kramer, and others. They apparently inspired him to commit the atrocious killings, though none were ever held, even morally, accountable, or subsequently condemned for their hateful inciting anti-Muslim speech. (Esam Al-Amin)