Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Public disrespect for flag among footballers: Hate speech?

The most recent actions undertaken by a Muslim college basketball player during the national anthem has now raised the stakes to a level that must be challenged. While doubtful the player, Rasool Samir, was acting in a show of unity with the NFL protesters, it is clear he saw their disrespect of the flag as a vehicle for providing him the opportunity to denigrate the flag even further.

As players on the Garden City Community College team halted their warmup to stand silent for the anthem, Samir continued warming-up and throwing jump shots. His actions in doing so come into better focus when one considers his Islamic beliefs. He adhered to a teaching of his religion one is not to render reverence to any un-Islamic symbol, even if the non-Muslim culture demands it.

Although Samir later apologized, he subsequently was kicked off the team. The ACLU has now taken up the player's cause and will undoubtedly claim he was simply exercising his freedom of religion.

The law is fairly clear now concerning the conditions under which religious practices are constitutional. Requirements are participation must be voluntary for students and there can be no involvement by school officials - i.e., the religious activity must be student-led.

It would appear, based on the above, a good argument might exist that Samir was simply exercising his freedom of religion. Hopefully, however, a court would see his behavior did not involve exercising a religious practice per se but, rather, egregiously rebuking a non-Islamic symbol by poking non-Muslims in the eye to underscore Islam's superiority. In effect, Samir's behavior was hate speech with his conduct making him a public nuisance as well. Such behavior deserves to be banned.

An earlier case testing a religious group's beliefs being able to interfere with others engaging in an activity demanding dignified reverence involved the Westboro Baptist Church. The church's ideology includes a belief homosexuality is a sin. When LGBT people were allowed into the military, church members began protesting at military funerals. They shouted inflammatory comments, thanking God for dead soldiers - which they claimed were a consequence of His vengeance for this military policy. Their comments constituted hate speech. The courts eventually ordered such protests at military funerals be conducted 500-feet away so as to maintain reverence for the solemn occasion.

Samir's behavior during the playing of the national anthem achieved no positive religious purpose. It was done, as his religion allows, to disrespect a non-Islamic symbol. Disguised as a religious practice, his behavior was to serve as a poke-in-the-eye of all patriotic Americans in an effort to assert Islam's alleged superiority. As such, his behavior fell into the same category as that of the Westboro Baptist Church. Samir's behavior, like that exhibited by Westboro Baptist Church members, was purely and simply hate speech.

School authorities hopefully will take a stand against Samir in the event the ACLU decides to take legal action on his behalf. Failure to do so opens the door to a wide range of opportunities for Muslims to assert their perceived superiority of Islam over Western values. The end result will be to maximize Islamic culture at the expense of ours. Successfully doing so would put yet another feather in the cap of that religion's proclaimed strategy of using our laws against us to further implementation of their laws here.



Anonymous said...

Islam is evil !

Anonymous said...

Since it is Islam, I am sure he will be forgiven and put back on the team.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the article - and so should everyone else here.
If he does not want to pause for the anthem he should be free to do so - compelled speech is not free. It is analogous to West Virginia v Barnette.
However, the team is also free to sanction him for failure to abide by team rules and standards.