AFDI to Protest Justice Department's Attempt to Criminalize Criticism of Islam

Jun 03, 2013, 12:06 ET from American Freedom Defense Initiative

NEW YORK, June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The human rights organization American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is holding a demonstration for free speech in Tennessee, at the site of a Justice Department initiative advising the application of civil rights laws to shut down criticism of Islam.

AFDI Executive Director Pamela Geller said in a statement: "This is Sharia law. This is imposing the blasphemy laws under the Sharia in contradiction to our fundamental First Amendment rights."

The demonstration and press conference will be held on June 4 at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Blvd, in Manchester, Tennessee, at 5:30 p.m. It is in response to an event at the same place that evening at 6:30, hosted by Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and an unnamed FBI special agent.

The event hosted by Killian, "Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society," will advise Muslim groups about how some criticism of Islam may violate U.S. civil rights laws.

"We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we're here, they're going to be protected," Killian said.

This follows the Obama Administration's endorsement of the UN Human Rights Council's Resolution 16/18, which calls on member states to criminalize "incitement to religious hatred."

Geller's statement continued: "They call 'incitement to religious hatred' any truthful speech about Islam's violent doctrines. That means that this effort to criminalize criticism of Islam robs us of our ability to defend ourselves against the global jihad. They have declared war on our very freedoms. While we still have freedom of speech, we must use it."

Robert Spencer, AFDI's Associate Director, said: "This Justice Department initiative is an egregious violation of the First Amendment, but it is also furthering the willful ignorance about the jihad threat that renders us all less safe."

Geller advised demonstrators to come to the event with signs calling for the defense of the freedom of speech. She added: "Note to the Justice Department -- we will fight you on this every step of the way, even to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it."

AFDI stands for:

  • The freedom of speech – as opposed to Islamic prohibitions of "blasphemy" and "slander," which are used effectively to quash honest discussion of jihad and Islamic supremacism;
  • The freedom of conscience – as opposed to the Islamic death penalty for apostasy;
  • The equality of rights of all people before the law – as opposed to Sharia's institutionalized discrimination against women and non-Muslims.

Join the AFDI Facebook page here.

For more information, contact Pamela Geller at

SOURCE American Freedom Defense Initiative