"I think that legislation's already there,” Rashid said, "no court can regard them as protected by any constitutional right.”
This is so wrong on so many levels. This is a gross abuse of laws that were meant to deal with individual harassment to eliminate freedom of speech and religious freedom on behalf of Islamic theocracy.
Dr. Qasim Rashid argued that cyber-bullying laws could be used to limit freedom of expression – such as the burning of Korans -- in war time:
“Most, if not all of you are familiar with the 2011 case where Terry Jones, a pastor from Florida, burned a Koran on March 20, 2011, and this event itself provides a prime example of the gap that advanced technology caused in America's free speech model,” Rashid said.
“So in addition to placing a big sign on his church lawn that said Islam is the devil, Jones burned the Koran, screened it live on the Internet and put in layman's translations so that people in war-torn [areas] in particular can see what he's doing,” he continued. “Now like the hypothetical KKK member who might burn a cross on his black neighbor’s lawn to target him specifically, Jones did the exact same thing by burning the Koran -- broadcast it and targeted Muslims in a war- torn country…to target them specifically.”
Qasim Rashid is practicing to be a lawyer, but he's not very good at it. The essence here is individual targeting. Burning a cross on your own property and broadcasting it over the internet is not a crime. Burning a cross on someone else's property in order to harass them is.
Rashid is trying to pretend that the two are the same. And Rashid is further trying to claim some international notion of hate crimes in which people in other countries who feel upset by some message in the United States can cry havoc and let loose the legal dogs of war.
Cyberbullying laws also do not apply to groups, they apply to the specific targeting of individuals. Otherwise nearly all free speech that offends someone would be outlawed.
Using the Koran burning as an example, Rashid said that cyber-bullying legislation could be used to prosecute individuals for their speech on a case-by-case basis.
“My argument is that we already have legislation, right?” he said. “I mean, we already have a cyber-bullying policy in all 50 states that even without the threat of violence – even without violence occurring, we're already holding individuals responsible for this intentional infliction of harm on others.”
“So I think that legislation's already there,” Rashid said. “It's just more a question of how is it going to be applied.”
Cyber-bullying policies involve individual harassment. No cyber bullying policies allow someone to be arrested and convicted for merely expressing views that other people are then offended by.
No one is forced to watch Terry Jones burn a Koran. Just as no one is forced to listen to Rashid suggest that the Constitution should be burned with lighter fluid and cyberbullying laws.
But Rashid is an example of what's coming down the pike. And Qasim Rashid's support for using cyberbullying laws as a trojan horse for blasphemy laws is doubly ironic as Qasim Rashid claims to be an Ahmadi, a Muslim minority group persecuted in Pakistan.
So why does Qasim Rashid wish to transplant Pakistan's blasphemy laws to the United States, when this is one of the few countries where Ahmadi are not persecuted under religious laws?
“When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in times of peace are a hindrance to this effort,” Rashid said on March 19 at Howard University. “And their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight and…no court can regard them as protected by any constitutional right.”
Since Islam is perpetually at war with the rest of the world, this means a perpetual ban on freedom of speech. Permanent darkness. Perpetual oppression.