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Proposed Ban conflicts with First Amendment protections

Reader comment on item: Ban Islam?

Submitted by Stuart Fagin (United States), Aug 29, 2007 at 21:52

Dr. Pipes' engrossing review of past attempts to ban the public expression of Islamist thought, and indeed the Koran itself, leads one to wonder why they failed. He offers one answer in the Indian example; the violent Muslim response. However, most of the examples cited are from western democracies.

The reason for the failure here must surely lie in the ban's conflict with freedom of expression protections essential to liberal democracies. In this light how are we to view Dr. Pipes' position that we "…reduce the threats of jihad and Shariah by banning Islamist interpretations of the Koran". How can we expect such a ban to pass First Amendment tests? One would have to argue that Islamists doctrine constitutes incitement to violence or insurrection.

Has this exception to First Amendment protection ever been applied to a doctrine, as opposed to a specific oration? Dr. Pipes' citing of Saudi Arabia, as an example to follow, speaks for itself. Dr. Pipes' other suggestions are more tenable. Calling for Islamists to leave the country and removing Islamists materials from public schools, (or withdrawing public support from such-minded private schools) are right on the mark and do not transgress First Amendment protections.

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