Anti-Muslim lawn display sparks free speech debate

An Illinois man has drawn outrage from Muslims, concern from neighbors, and ignited a debate over free speech because of a display on his front lawn.

Dennis Murdy erected two silhouette cutouts on his lawn: One shows an American soldier pointing his rifle in the direction of the other piece which shows a Muslim with his hands raised in surrender.

“The Muslims and Islam is one of the most violent cults there is. It is not a religion. It’s a cult,” he told WKTV-TV. “Their Koran says nothing but violence. You can see what ISIS is doing. They are spreading across the country, and this is biblical.”

And while he said he doesn’t believe all Muslims are terrorists, he still doesn’t think they should be allowed in the country.

Kamil Mufti, an Imam from the Islamic Foundation of Peoria, thinks Murdy should not be allowed to display the art.

“Free speech should not be mixed with hate speech. It’s extremely important, and we have to draw that line. If Islamophobia is going to be acceptable, by the same token, anti-semitism and racism would be acceptable. That is wrong,” he told WKTV-TV.

This is a common misconception held by many on the left that certain types of speech are banned as “hate speech,” but it is inaccurate.

Court case after court case have struck down limits placed on speech, including a 2011 Supreme Court decision that allowed the Westboro Baptist Church to continue to protest soldiers funerals with its despicable signs.

Put simply: there are no hate speech laws in the United States nor are there any “hate speech” limits placed on the First Amendment.


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