Muslim pressure on U.S. school district results in censorship of after-hours presentation KNOXVILLE, TN – Freedom X, a non-profit legal organization, filed a federal lawsuit on August 4 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee against the Knox County School District and two school officials after the district canceled an after-hours presentation at a Knoxville public high school in reaction to demands by Muslim activists.
The lawsuit (Peach vs. Knox County Schools) alleges that school officials cancelled an evening town hall meeting sponsored by a local chapter of ACT! for America (“ACT! Knoxville”) set last April at Farragut High School in Knoxville, TN. ACT! Knoxville planned the event to discuss the increasing acceptance of Islamic law (known as sharia) within the United States and its harmful impact on American freedom. Labeling ACT! Knoxville and its scheduled speakers “bigots,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a local Muslim cleric wrote the school protesting ACT! Knoxville’s use of public school facilities, arguing the event was likely to incite violence and “disrupt the school environment.”
William J. Becker, Jr., Freedom X president and general counsel, stated that Muslim activists resort to fear-mongering as a way of silencing critics of Islamic law. “Muslims in America led by CAIR, which is affiliated with Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization, are exploiting our laws to erode everyone else’s freedom of speech,” Becker said. “It’s part and parcel of a greater plan to eventually make us into an Islamic caliphate.”
Becker said that blasphemy laws are unconstitutional. “Public officials, and that includes public school officials, violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment whenever they censor speech merely because it offends someone. Unfortunately, we are seeing this trend grow as Muslim activists play the victim card.” ACT! Knoxville was forced to move its meeting to a church following the school district’s cancellation. John Peach, its director, said he didn’t seek out another public venue out of concern the group’s request would be rejected. “We are concerned Americans,” Peach said. “Sharia is not well-understood and we wanted to inform the public about it. I don’t think that as an American I should have to be afraid to speak out on public matters in a public forum affecting our culture.”
The ACT! Knoxville event was to have featured Dr. Bill French, who goes by the pen name of Bill Warner, an expert on Islam and the Koran, and Matt Bonner, the Knoxville chapter director of the Crescent Project, a Christian group that evangelizes to Muslims.
The lawsuit was filed to coincide with the start of the new school year. “We have a lesson to teach the teachers,” Becker stated. “The First Amendment protects speech some might not want to hear but school officials are sworn to uphold the Constitution and to allow it. They were tricked into censoring American citizens wanting to exercise the freedom of speech that distinguishes America from Muslim nations.”
Freedom X is a non-profit legal organization protecting conservative and religious freedom of expression.
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