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White House Announces Plan To Punish Incitement Speech Against Muslims

Obama Meets With Prime Minister Cameron And Outlines Plan To Discourage Offensive Speech Without Banning It.

By KRISTINA NGU, MATT HUSSFORD, ALEXIS SHAWNEE, LEEZEL TANGLO and DEAN SCHABNERBERG

Published January 18, 2015

 

After thousands of Muslims around the world held protests on Friday against the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, President Obama expressed his concerns over free speech “run amok.”  Following a private meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, the president said that Western democracies could do more to “discourage incitement speech” without outlawing it. 

According to the president the U.S. and other governments should identify those “recklessly offending Islam” and find non-speech related offenses with which to prosecute them.  The president cited the example of how the U.S. responded to the creator of low-budget movie The Innocence of the Muslims.  “We have not heard from that individual in over two years because we had a way of dealing with him,” the president said. 

The president also suggested that France should have “found a tax violation” against Charlie Hebdo “before, not after” it published the offending cartoons.

According to additional details released by White House officials, the federal government will use various law enforcement agencies at its disposal to dissuade any insensitive speech aimed against the Islamic faith.  “Everything from tax violations, to speeding tickets, to confiscating their unregistered pets” will be used, added a senior White House official.  “If offending the peaceful religion of over one billion makes your life unlivable, you won’t publish the statement,” said the official.

Within hours of the president’s announcement, the Pope made his own comments discouraging anti-Muslim speech while traveling to the Philippines.  “I support what the president says,” said the Pope.  “If someone says something bad about Jesus, they should expect to be attacked and sodomized real good so why not the same for [Muslim’s] prophet?”

Demonstrations caused by Charlie Hebdo have reached a fever pitch in Muslim nations.  In Niger alone, four people were killed in the southern town of Zinder, where protesters set fire to a French cultural center and several churches and attacked Christian shops with clubs and Molotov cocktails.  

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – the creator of The Innocence – was imprisoned in the U.S. for violating the terms of his probation soon after the film was released.