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A Lesson on Free Speech and Sharia in Knoxville
by Andrew E. Harrod
A recent legal victory by Freedom X upheld the right of private citizens to discuss openly sharia law at a Knoxville, Tennessee, high school. "This is a victory for free speech," Freedom X's President William J. Becker rightly explained, in yet another instructive example of Islamists seeking to subvert the United States Constitution's First Amendment.
A local Knoxville chapter of ACT! for America began the case by arranging an April 24 evening town hall at Farragut High School (FHS). The event featured Dr. Bill French, Center for the Study of Political Islam founder under the pen name Warner, and Matt Bonner, regional director of the Crescent Project, a Christian evangelization ministry for Muslims. They intended to address the encroachment in America of sharia, vaguely described in one online report as "Islamic laws governing worship and lifestyle." Becker correctly clarifies that "Sharia is incompatible with our constitutional and legal protections" in numerous ways.
Both local and national Muslims groups, however, greeted the event with harsh opposition. Abdel Rahman Murphy, a Muslim chaplain at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, emailed then FHS principal Mike F. Reynolds on April 8 requesting the event's cancellation. The town hall flyer had "kind of an aggressive tone," Murphy argued to reporters. "Feel free hosting" the event "anywhere else by renting out a banquet hall," Murphy added, "but to host it at a public place…is not comfortable for the rest of us."
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