Patterico's Pontifications


Liaquat Ali Khan: We Should Ban Koran Burning Because Muslims Are More Dangerous Than Veterans

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:31 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Let me introduce you to a cheerful fellow, Liaquat Ali Khan.  Here’s his picture:

He writes a column today in  MWC News arguing that we should make a special law banning the burning of a Koran.

No, wait, Aaron,–you might say,–he didn’t say Korans only.  He surely tried to pretend he was concerned with all religions equally, right?

Um, no, he said Korans only.  I mean you will have to read the whole thing to decide if I am right, but here’s the key passage:

Invoking their constitutional right, American Muslims should petition the United States Congress for a redress of grievances. They must demand constitutionally sound legislation that outlaws desecrations of the Qur’an. For Congress, such legislation will demonstrate to American Muslims that the United States is prepared to break away from the medieval custom of assaulting the dignity of the Qur’an. It will also send a powerful message to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, and the entire Muslim world, that the U.S. is neither Islamophobic, nor anti-Islamic, a move that can undermine terrorist threats to homeland security.

So that is the first problem with his proposed approach: he would declare that Islam, and Islam only would receive special protecting under our laws.  Which is as flagrant a violation of the First Amendment as they come.

Further, in order to argue that this was lawful, he distorts what the Supreme Court said:

In the language of law, Qur’an burning would be an expressive conduct. The First Amendment is generous in protecting oral and written word. It is less so with respect to expressive conduct. The First Amendment shelters expressive conduct if it does not threaten to disturb the peace. The United States Supreme Court declined to outlaw the burning of an American flag because, “no disturbance of the peace actually occurred or threatened to occur.”

The flag precedent does not apply because Qur’an burning is an expressive conduct that incites actual violence. So far Qur’an burning has produced instantaneous violence outside the United States. Given the presence of a growing population of American Muslims, Qur’an burning threatens domestic peace.

Now he is right to say that Koran burning is expressive conduct.  And thus content-neutral regulations of that conduct are certainly permissible.  I have said from the beginning of the Jones controversy that if the locality had a content neutral restriction on burnings that was actually enforced neutrally, that I would have no problem with enforcing that restriction.  But the rest of that is  a complete distortion of what the Supreme Court actually said in Texas v. Johnson.  Here’s the whole quote in context:

Texas claims that its interest in preventing breaches of the peace justifies Johnson’s conviction for flag desecration. However, no disturbance of the peace actually occurred or threatened to occur because of Johnson’s burning of the flag. Although the State stresses the disruptive behavior of the protestors during their march toward City Hall … it admits that “no actual breach of the peace occurred at the time of the flag burning or in response to the flagburning.” The State’s emphasis on the protestors’ disorderly actions prior to arriving at City Hall is not only somewhat surprising given that no charges were brought on the basis of this conduct, but it also fails to show that a disturbance of the peace was a likely reaction to Johnson’s conduct. The only evidence offered by the State at trial to show the reaction to Johnson’s actions was the testimony of several persons who had been seriously offended by the flag burning.

The State’s position, therefore, amounts to a claim that an audience that takes serious offense at particular expression is necessarily likely to disturb the peace and that the expression may be prohibited on this basis. Our precedents do not countenance such a presumption. On the contrary, they recognize that a principal “function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.” … It would be odd indeed to conclude both that “if it is the speaker’s opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection,”  … and that the government may ban the expression of certain disagreeable ideas on the unsupported presumption that their very disagreeableness will provoke violence.

Thus, we have not permitted the government to assume that every expression of a provocative idea will incite a riot, but have instead required careful consideration of the actual circumstances surrounding such expression, asking whether the expression “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.”

(Citations omitted.)  So under that standard, originally put forward in Brandenburg v. Ohio, you have to 1) intend to cause violence, 2) imminently, and 3) it has to be likely to actually cause that violence to occur (imminently).  And bluntly, that has no application to Jones’ decision to have the Koran burned.

But the real chutzpah on display here is this part.  He spends a lot of time berating any and all criticism of Islam, the Koran or Mohammed (Pedophilia Be Upon Him) asserting it is a medieval practice, etc.  And to prove that we should not be allowed to criticize Islam, he cites Voltaire.

Yes, really:

In 1736, Voltaire, the celebrated French belletrist, wrote a five-act play Mahomet to highlight the depravity of Islam, and perhaps all religions. A few years later, however, Voltaire revised his views and appreciated the Qur’an for removing idolatry.

Sure, because it’s not like as if Voltaire had anything to say about freedom of speech…  Seriously, if Voltaire was alive today he would probably go to Saudi Arabia and burn a Koran in Mecca.  He would not be on your side, Khan.

But while one might be galled by the chutzpah in regard to Voltaire, I felt nothing but contempt and hatred when I read this:

In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Van Gogh produced a short film, called Submission, to highlight the subjugation of women that the Qur’an allegedly advocates. The film shows nude women wearing see-through veils with Arabic verses of the Qur’an etched on their bodies, insinuating that the Qur’an perpetuates their lack of freedom. An infuriated Moroccan murdered Van Gogh. While condemning the murder, another filmmaker opined, “Longtime readers of Van Gogh’s weekly column in the Dutch newspaper “Metro” know very well that his intention was not to reform male chauvinism, but rather to express crude bigotry.”

Well, then it was okay for people to kill him, right?  Yeah, he doesn’t quite say it, but the entire thrust of this article is to argue that Muslims are uniquely unable to control themselves and therefore we should suppress blasphemy against Islam and Islam only.

Now to be fair, when teamed up with a woman named Jasmine Abou-Kassem, they concluded that Pakistan’s death penalty for blasphemy was going to far.  Which I guess means he is not completely down with the state murder of others.  Which is good to know.

But let me explain something to you, Khan, and I want you to pull up a close seat and listen.  If there is ever a day when I am convinced that Muslims as a group are incapable of responding peacefully to offense, including the burning of their holy book, that is the day I decide that Islam is a threat to America.  And on that day I will start advocating things like an exclusion of all Muslims from this country.

Consider it the “anti-trust” theory of freedom of religion.  You are free to believe in any religion…  that will respect my freedom of religion.  But if you can’t reconcile your faith to my practice of freedom of religion, then it is your freedom that will be restricted, not mine.

Hat tip: Volokh (who notes that he has pushed anti-religious-defamation laws before), via Insty.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

36 Responses to “Liaquat Ali Khan: We Should Ban Koran Burning Because Muslims Are More Dangerous Than Veterans”

  1. He supports broader bans on “defamation of religion.” That’s marvelously ironic, given that the Koran itself defames Christianity and Judaism.

    aunursa (a2a019)

  2. That’s the rub, Aunursa. The Quran offends some religious views. Muhammad being revered at all offends those opposed to rape. And burning the Quran offends some Muslims and a few others.

    Someone is going to be offended, one way or the other. But this Khan guy thinks one group has a right not to be as offended as other people.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  3. We should ban koran burning because it offends my delicate sensibilities.

    /Fixed the headline

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  4. Dustin: and there are Muslims who think they get to be the one with that right by being the most violent. If ever there was a religion in more need of a Reformation…

    Newtons.Bit (b78b37)

  5. I think it would be a lot informative for everybody if we let the congresswhores make the votings on this issue

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  6. “They must demand constitutionally sound legislation that outlaws desecrations of the Qur’an”

    Go ahead. I’ll burn it anyway, if I feel like it, and the law can piss off, if the law don’t like it.

    Dave Surls (196d87)

  7. Forget burning it. Some interpretations would say that non-Muslims touching the book is a desecration, etc.

    Mr. Ali Khan’s article was a well thought-out solution to the urgent problem of Quran desecration in America. Silly article is silly.

    carlitos (28bbc0)

  8. Actually, disrespect to the Koran is only peripherally relevant to violence; Newsweek proved that back in 2005.

    So, logically, it is not burning the Koran which should be prohibited, but rather reporting that the Koran has been burned.

    malclave (1db6c5)

  9. UnAmerican idea expressed in print because we allow freedom of speech – even for unAmerican ideas.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. there are Muslims who think they get to be the one with that right by being the most violent.

    as a practical matter, that makes sense. Many idiots are actually endorsing this method by giving Islam special status. All they do is create more incentive for terrorism. These folks have created a might is right doctrine in the name of preventing violence. It’s not going to last forever, though.

    The sooner we cut this crap out, the fewer people suffer.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  11. And these pieces of trash are allowed here and get stuff free of charge while we don’t.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  12. Doesn’t his argument, if you want to call it that, basically reward bad behavior, because it seems as though he claims that Muslims are incapable of not going all homicidal splodeydope anytime someone criticizes their faith, or touches a Koran. It shows a remarkable lack of faith in the population as a whole, and allows the crazies to determine pubic policy. Basically, Liaquat is an ass.

    JD (318f81)

  13. I imagine if we just kept burning them at some point the killings would taper off.

    People get desensitized. It’s a thing.

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  14. Does it have to be a book, or is it the words that are holy? I only have a digital copy, which I’d be happy to put on a disk and burn. Would order the book, but why pay shipping?

    jodetoad (0e079d)

  15. Perhaps we should petition Congress to pass laws that would allow for the involuntary commitment of anyone who would get so worked up over someone else burning a book that they react violently.

    Oh, we do have such laws. Perhaps it is time to put them to use?

    steve (254463)

  16. malclave: if someone burns a koran but it isn’t reported, has the koran really been burned?

    steve (254463)

  17. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to misattribute this quote to Voltaire.

    Paul (696109)

  18. Aaron,

    With all thats going on in the world don’t you anything better to contribute than front paging some crackpot proposing a law that clearly is in violation of our Constitution.

    Good grief. Majoring in the minors. Who gives damn?

    You all should be all over your state legislators to come up with a plan to opt out of ObamaCare as allowed by law.

    Nah. That would mean you’d actually have to think and come up with ideas. It’s much easier to just incite stupid rednecks to hate Muslims.

    jharp (f8a6a3)

  19. This guy is a “moderate” Muslim, right?

    Does he think Hamas is a terrorist organization?

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  20. The French are eventually going to win this, I think. Some French Catholics broke the “Piss Christ” the other day. They are learning. I do wonder at our “ruling class,” as Angelo Codevilla calls them. They seem to support a religion that opposes, and violently so, every cultural icon they have. Gays, GLBTs, women, smoking pot, abortion, Vanity Fair magazine are all subject to attack by an addled rag head at any time.

    I would expect to see an army of transgendered people of both directions, including those of more than one, marching to protest in front of mosques.

    I just can’t understand it. I think they might be getting ready to surrender in the culture war but they would be the first to go.

    Well, logic has not been their strong suit.

    Mike K (8f3f19)

  21. Comment by Paul — 4/20/2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Please report to the prize booth to collect your One Internet.

    Comment by Dave Surls — 4/20/2011 @ 3:27 pm

    Please report to the bar for your free drink…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  22. ‘With a grunt and a thud he lays the case of Koarns in the neat pyrimid like pile. He pauses to fish out a cigarette from a worn pack puts it in his mouth, head bent to sheild the match from the prairie winds he look down and sees he Dog urinating on the pile of holy books.
    He chuckles and says to his companion
    “My opinion exactly”
    He drops the match in a glob of rendered lard and the flames start to mount. Walking to his car he flips the switch on the Video camera. Before he starts the car to leave he gets atext message ;
    “Signal is 5×5 here in Mecca!”
    With the orange sun in his unshaven face He exhales a grate lungful of smoke muttering “Bring it on Ahmed.”
    In mecca they see a three story pile of boxes clear marked “Koran” burning Somewhere in the Great American Prairie. In the Background An American Flag stiff in the wind in the forground in Arabic lettering the words
    “Lan Asteslem”

    pitchforkntorches (888cb1)

  23. He spends a lot of time berating any and all criticism of Islam, the Koran or Mohammed (Pedophilia Be Upon Him) asserting it is a medieval practice, etc.

    I’m guessing irony is lost on these people.

    Dana (4eca6e)

  24. Well, pitchforktorches gets the award for bringing the weird and bizarre into the discussion.

    Ag80 (6134b7)

  25. _________________________________________

    I think they might be getting ready to surrender in the culture war but they would be the first to go.

    I’ll throw in some snark and say an Islamicized future (throughout the Western world) will have at least a silver lining.

    I try to balance my contempt for the left by musing about an analogous rightist version of purposeful gullibility or “useful idiot” thinking. Perhaps that would be conservative, pro-Republican people — certainly in the country-club or libertarian clique — who are soft and snuggly about illegal immigration (hello, editorial page of the Wall Street Journal!) because of the plentiful cheap labor a porous border provides to parts of the nation’s economy. But then such shortsighted people eventually being forced to confront their country as one that’s increasingly Mexicanized, with all its attendant misery, backwardness and crime/corruption galore.

    Mark (411533)

  26. Personally, I woudn’t waste time burning Korans, when it’s so much more fun to set fire to Muslim terrorists.

    But, like they say, different strokes…

    Dave Surls (196d87)

  27. What the sand Nazis want (note: not all Muslims are sand Nazis) is for all Jews to end up like David Jakubovic and for all women to end up like Jaycee Lee Dugard.

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  28. Let me get this straight. Extortion, backed by sufficiently alarming threats of violence, is protected by the Constitution, trumps the 1st amendment, and should be enacted into law. Talk about medieval.

    melanerpes (5c0dda)

  29. The day they make burning ink and paper illegal to burn is the day that I open up a youtube account and burn a stack of these stupid books.

    It’s kind of funny how folks don’t become preoccupied with silly stuff until our God given rights that this country is based on is threatened.

    justavoter (b003e1)

  30. The actual problem is that laws do not prevent anything!!!! They simply give redress once the law has been broken. In fact he is conceding that more people will burn Kerrrrrannns (I really have no taste to spell it correctly). With the price of gas and fuel oil continuing to rise, I’d use some to heat my house.

    Seamusmeboy (08fc5f)

  31. Muslims AKA sand nazis align with progressives because they share the same goal of exterminating Judaism and Christianity and yes the nazis were ultra-left.

    I have to give credit to Mr.Ejercito for that awesome name Sand Nazi.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  32. He was actually trained as a lawyer, but he’s like
    the firemen in Fahrenheit 451, he sets fires rather
    than puts them out.

    narciso (79ddc3)

  33. justavoter

    agree 100%. and its called the Streisand effect. google it.

    or to paraphrase Princess Leia: the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers…

    Btw, google’s chrome browser totally knew how Leia was spelled.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  34. Muslims AKA sand nazis align with progressives because they share the same goal of exterminating Judaism and Christianity and yes the nazis were ultra-left.

    I have to give credit to Mr.Ejercito for that awesome name Sand Nazi.

    Sand Nazi is an appropriate term.

    Have you ever heard of David Jakubovic? Or Jaycee Lee Dugard?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  35. I agree Sand Nazi is an appropriate name.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  36. I think Mr. Kahn has a point. I am looking for a Quran scroll that I can place in a special niche, made just for it, on my bathroom wall.

    Bart (5c65d1)

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