“The discussion we have to have is: When does free speech become hate speech, and when does hate speech become incitement to violence?” Ms. Salem said. “Free speech is not the same as responsible speech.”…

Caricatures of the prophet are offensive to him and to others, Mr. Elibiary said, but reactions vary. Not everyone is interested in the arguments of Ms. Geller, who has defended herself by arguing that her enemies are simply trying to crush “truth and freedom.”

Mr. Elibiary said, “You’ve got to remember, I live a middle-class lifestyle in a first-world country.”

“I have plenty of opportunities to express myself,” he said, “and I’m in no way disenfranchised. People who usually react violently to that have a totally different life experience.”

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Heidi Beirich, intelligence project director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said there was no comparison between Geller’s group and Charlie Hebdo.

“Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity mocker,” Beirich said of the Paris newspaper, which was to be honored in New York on Tuesday by the PEN American Center literary group despite a boycott by several prominent authors. “All she does is bash Muslims. That’s it.”

Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Geller’s claim to be a defender of free speech was laughable because she had tried unsuccessfully to block Al Jazeera from expanding into the United States in 2011.

“It’s just so hypocritical. She’s regularly trying to silence Muslim organizations and Muslim academics and then claims to be a champion of free speech,” Hooper said.

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Heidi Beirich, intelligence project director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said there was no comparison between Geller’s group and Charlie Hebdo.

“Charlie Hebdo was an equal opportunity mocker,” Beirich said of the Paris newspaper, which was to be honored in New York on Tuesday by the PEN American Center literary group despite a boycott by several prominent authors. “All she does is bash Muslims. That’s it.”

Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Geller’s claim to be a defender of free speech was laughable because she had tried unsuccessfully to block Al Jazeera from expanding into the United States in 2011.

“It’s just so hypocritical. She’s regularly trying to silence Muslim organizations and Muslim academics and then claims to be a champion of free speech,” Hooper said.

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Repeated demonization can inspire violence. This is a fact. “During the Holocaust, the Nazis went beyond making us social outcasts; they systematically slaughtered our people with unspeakable cruelty. Because we know so well what it is like to be outcasts, we must never, through our deeds or words, make others into modern-day lepers,” says Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the largest Jewish denomination in North America. “[W]hat [Geller] does, what she represents, has no place in a Jewish community that is built on tolerance and understanding.”

We, as society, must do better. Rather than fall for the fallacy that what Geller advocates is free speech, recognize that as human beings our strength rests not in sticking to the bare minimum the law permits, but in elevating our civility to the highest levels possible…

At an international peace conference in the United Kingdom His Holiness the Khalifa of Islam Mirza Masoor Ahmad wisely remarked, “Let it not be that in the name of freedom of speech the peace of the entire world be destroyed.” This simple lesson in personal accountability is the key to establishing peace. No law, no matter how specific, can legislate morality — and speech is essentially a moral issue. If we truly want peace, society must rise above the intolerance that Geller and ISIS alike espouse.

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In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, Professor Erik Bleich of Middlebury College wrote at Huffington Post that “Limiting Hate Speech Is Important, Even After Charlie Hebdo.” In January, NPR asked, “When Should Free Speech Be Protected?” In March, Kent Greenfield of The Atlantic wrote, “We are told the First Amendment protects the odious because we cannot trust the government to make choices about content on our behalf…If that is what the First Amendment means, then we have a problem greater than bigoted frat boys. The problem would be the First Amendment.” Author Jeremy Waldron wrote an entire book, reviewed by Justice John Paul Stevens, calling for regulation of “hate speech.” Our college campuses (including state universities) have been overrun by the “hate speech” police, who are willing to suspend or expel students for exercising their rights or failing to provide “trigger warnings” for their unmannerly expression.

Unfortunately, the “hate speech” police have taken over the entire political left. As Matt Vespa points out, a 2014 Washington Post poll showed that while 60 percent of Americans thought publishing cartoons of Mohammed was “okay,” and over 70 percent believed that there is a right to offend under the First Amendment. But the First Amendment Center published a 2013 poll showing that 40 percent of Americans said the First Amendment “goes too far,” and 56 percent of Americans refused to support a right to say things that are racially offensive (47 percent refused to support a right to say things that are offensive to religious groups).

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Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not stand for being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed, while everyone else lives in fear.

Islamic law as it’s interpreted by extremists forbids criticism of Islam, the Quran, and Muhammad. If they cannot be criticized in the United States, we are in effect accepting Islamic law as overriding the freedom of speech. This would establish Muslims as a protected class and prevent honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence…

Allowing this sort of censorship would mean nothing less civilizational suicide. Many in the media and academic elite assign no blame to an ideology that calls for death to blasphemers — i.e., those who criticize or offend Islam. Instead, they target and blame those who expose this fanaticism. If the cultural elites directed their barbs and attacks at the extremist doctrine of jihad, the world would be a vastly safer place…

To learn who rules over you, simply find out whom you cannot criticize. If the international media had run the Danish cartoons back in 2005, none of this could have happened. The jihadis wouldn’t have been able to kill everyone. But by self-censoring, the media gave the jihadis the power they have today.

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Local Muslim leaders said the FBI hadn’t contacted them to ask about the gunmen.

“They were not part of our community,” said Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, who leads the Islamic Center of Irving…

Imam Moujahed Bakhach of Arlington said he, too, hadn’t talked with the FBI, but would cooperate if the agency contacted him. The imam said he applauds law enforcement for stopping the gunmen, potentially saving lives.

“Don’t mess with Texas,” he said. “Texas is protected. All of us, we are together here.”

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