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PATRIOTS: Should the First Amendment Allow for a Terrorist’s ‘Freedom of Speech’?

The First Amendment is often discussed in terms of speech, but it obviously includes many other freedoms.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

There are limits to the First Amendment, and many cases have been brought before the courts. One in particular was Schenck v. United States, where the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a lower court ruling saying that socialist Charles Schenck’s First Amendment rights were not violated when he was arrested and convicted for violating the Espionage Act (the same act Hillary violated) when he distributed leaflets during World War I, telling people to resist the draft. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic … The question in every case is whether the words are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

So if you say something that presents a clear and present danger to the physical security of those around you, or that threatens national security, the First Amendment does not protect you from incrimination. This is straightforward and, on the whole, we’ve lived a very long time in relative peace while living free under this important right.

In recent years, however, the First Amendment has been under assault. We can no longer bake or photograph as we wish. US based companies are being threatened with lawsuits merely for denying man-made climate change. Religious adoption agencies are being shut down because they believe a child’s best interest lies with one-man-one-woman couples versus same-sex couples.

Worse, a new challenge to free speech and freedom of religion is headed our way, and it’s one we should all take seriously because its potential impact is enormous.

Consider this:

A GERMAN doctor feared he was moments from death after a man went berserk in a hospital screaming “Allahu Akbar” and threatening to behead him.

Dr. Attila Tan, from Bonn, had just returned to work after a holiday when he was set upon by the crazed father of a 19-year-old he treated.

The teenager, who had previously fractured his leg, came back to the German hospital on Monday complaining of the treatment he had received.

And this, which occurred two years ago on an American Airlines flight:

Passengers became terrified after a man began shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the top of his voice on a plane.

Mobile phone footage has been uploaded online of a man in traditional Islamic dress shouting the Arabic phrase…but he’s actually just praying.

Terrified passengers on an American Airlines flight watch as the Muslim man stands next to the exit door yelling in Arabic.

At what point can we legally act? How can anyone make the argument that someone shouting Allahu Ackbar does not constitute a threat? Have we not reached the context implied in Schenck v. United States where this phrase is usually followed by immense violence and death? Allahu Ackbar has become the satanic chant while these Islamic cretins torture, light on fire, drown, and/or behead their victims — or stone women for the crime of being a rape victim.

As I’ve mentioned, religious Jews and Christians have been discriminated against in recent years in America, but we don’t generally seem to speak up much. The real complaining is going to come from Muslims from organizations like CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), ISNA (Islamic Society of North America), and others. If an incident similar to what occurred in Germany happens here, and if the Muslim is hurt or killed, the topic of religious liberty will be front and center. We need to expect it.

There is another element to this subject. We’ve seen the videos by the three Jalal brothers from Australia where one of them – dressed in white and wearing a keffiyeh (head scarf) — runs up to an unsuspecting person sitting at an outside café or bus stop, throws a backpack at them, and runs away. The tagline is often “Try not to laugh,” but I have never found their videos funny. In light of what Islam is doing to the world, this is the height of bad taste and poor judgment. Not only that, it’s dangerous for everyone, and the brothers’ pranks have finally landed them in trouble. They should thank their God one of them hasn’t been shot or beaten to death.

Just as law enforcement and the citizens they protect are getting twitchy over Black Lives Matter mobs taking over their neighborhoods, so too are American citizens getting nervous about Islam. Out of anger or because of a prank, if any Muslim starts mumbling or screaming Allahu Ackbar, don’t be surprised if an increasing number of concealed and open carry citizens feel threatened, and take action.

Image: By Dying Regime from Maldives – Protest calling for Sharia in Maldives, CC BY 2.0,

Share if you don’t think the First Amendment shouldn’t condone terrorism.

Michael Cummings

Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.