ACLU fights for terrorist rights speech

Jerusalem Post:

A civil rights group asked a judge to find it unconstitutional for the US government to exclude a prominent Muslim scholar or anyone else from the United States on the grounds that they may have endorsed or espoused terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the papers attacking the policy in US District Court in Manhattan on Friday. The group included in its submissions a written declaration in which the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, said he has always "opposed terrorism not only through my words but also through my actions."

The ACLU said schools and organizations who want to invite Ramadan and others into the United States are concerned about what is known as the ideological exclusion provision.

It said an entry in the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual says that the provision is directed at those who have voiced "irresponsible expressions of opinion."

The group said the provision violates the constitutional right to free speech and has resulted since 2001 in the exclusion from the United States of numerous foreign scholars, human rights activists and writers, barred "not for legitimate security reasons but rather because the government disfavors their politics."


The preachers of hate have no right to promote mass murder of non combatants, which is what they espouse. What they preach is worse than crying fire in the middle of a crowded theater, which the Supreme Court has already said is not protected speech. Perhaps if the rules were cast as preventing hate crimes the ACLU would have a different attitude.


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