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Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Reader comment on item: Stealth Islamist: Khaled Abou El Fadl

Submitted by Tom Laichas (United States), Oct 31, 2005 at 02:08

Daniel Pipes writes:

"Abou El Fadl's efforts on behalf of Shari‘a go further. As the academic reviewer for the "Origins of Islamic Law" unit put out by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, he is at least associated with, if not the author of, an analysis that forwards a new amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enabling Shari‘a-like blasphemy laws to encroach on traditional U.S. notions of freedom of religion. The proposed amendment reads: "The First Amendment shall not be interpreted to protect blasphemous speech. States shall be free to enact anti-blasphemy laws as long as they prohibit offensive speech against all religions."

Well, I read the text in question. It is NOT a "proposed amendment". It is a hypothetical amendment, offered to prompt student discussion. Given the article preceding the activity, it's crystal clear that the intention is to encourage students to OPPOSE anti-blasphemy statutes. I've reproduced the entire activity below.

In its entirety, this is the context for the quote:


A C T I V I T Y

Blasphemy vs. Freedom of Expression

Imagine that you are advisors to a U.S. senator. The following constitutional amendment has been proposed:

The First Amendment shall not be interpreted to protect blasphemous speech. States shall be free to enact anti-blasphemy laws as long as they prohibit offensive speech against all religions.

The senator has asked you to evaluate this proposed amendment.

1. Form small groups. Each group will role play advisors to a U.S. senator.

2. Each group should analyze the proposed amendment by answering these questions:

a.What is the goal of the amendment?

b.What are the amendment's advantages? (What are its benefits? Will it achieve its goal? Will it achieve the goal efficiently? Is it inexpensive? Does it protect people from harm? Does it ensure their liberties?)

c. What are the amendment's disadvantages? (What are its costs? Is it inefficient? Does it cause harm? Does it intrude on people's liberties? Does it have any potential negative consequences?)

d. Weighing the amendment's advantages and disadvantages, do you recommend that the senator support or oppose it? Why?
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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