Hate Speech or Freedom of Religion?

When I look at religious extremists and terrorist groups in the Middle East like ISIS, it seems like they have their roots in clerics in the UK and the USA (and other places) who spew hate in religious centers in the name of religion. However, I don’t see a lot being done to stop it.

Why can’t Western European countries and the United States shut down these clerics in their tracks? At what point does protected freedom of religion turn into hate speech, which isn’t protected?

Otherwise, it seems that the Islamist extremists are able to create and maintain a seemingly endless supply of jihadists who are willing to fight and die for their cause.

Why can’t these clerics be treated in the same way hate groups are treated so that they can be arrested or deported from countries like Great Britain and the United States?

To me, it seems like such a logical thing to do but nobody seems to be doing it. All I can think is that there must be more to it than what I am taking into consideration.

I believe in freedom of religion but when clerics call for the killing of those of other faiths, they’ve gone too far and should be prevented from speaking openly in mosques and other religious centers, in my opinion when they openly advocate killing members of other faiths.

Needs a link to a related news story

Okay I’ll bite. Which clerics in the US are you referring to that spew hate?

Samir Khan was one of them until he was killed in Yemen in the recent past. The link below lists others.


Your question implies that you don’t think there are any. :confused:

How about those guys from the Minneapolis area who were recently killed in Syria fighting for ISIS? I heard on the news there is an estimated several hundreds of Americans and Brits who were radicalized in the USA and UK.

How are they being radicalized? There are obviously places here where the radicalization is occurring. I don’t think these guys just wake up one day and proclaim their hate for their home country out of the blue.

The new definitions according to certain people:

Freedom of speech= you agree with me

Hate speech= you do not agree with me

Free speech must be promoted, hate speech must be suppressed in order to preserve the peace because I cannot control myself in the presence of hate speech.

Somehow this kind of thinking pervades even universities which were founded to promote the open exchange of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge and truth. There is no good ending to that script.

If the thread is to survive, maybe this link will suffice:

Choudary from London is who is controversial.

Anti-Semitic Incidents Up 500% in the U.K. - shalomlife.com/news/25343/anti-semitic-incidents-up-500-in-the-uk/

Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary: We Will Impose Sharia in British Caliphate


A Muslim majority will one day impose sharia law in Britain, the US and much of western Europe, according to radical cleric Anjem Choudary.

Muslims will dominate the West and impose a return to the harsh moral code of the 13th century Arabian caliphate, Choudary told the US network CBN News. The interview has just emerged on a rightwing website, which has published the interview for the first time in the UK.

The interview was recorded shortly after Choudary’s Sharia4UK group was banned by Whitehall.

I had the same feelings about Twitter. Why are they being allowed to spread their evil message in social media under the guise of freedom of speech? Apparently, they’re getting more tech savvy these days.

Thanks for the links, Path_Finder. He was the other guy I was thinking of.

I decided to start this subject when I was watching the news today and got to thinking about non-military ways to prevent the spread of home grown Islamist terrorism that produces all these jihadists who go and fight for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Adam Gadahn is another product of the USA and is now a senior member of Al Qaeda.


Here is a related news story


New Anti-Hate Speech Laws Could Be Double-Edged Sword
Government attempts to limit anti-Korean rhetoric could be used to silence nuclear protests.

A second U.N. body has highlighted growing concerns about hate speech in Japan, particularly that targeted at the ethnic-Korean community. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Friday urged the government to regulate hate speech. This follows a similar recommendation in July by the U.N. Human Rights Committee. In addition to better regulating the public anti-Korean demonstrations that are seen near government buildings in Tokyo and Osaka, the panel also recommended “further efforts to address the issue of ‘comfort women,’” and noted that public and online hate speech was “not always properly investigated and prosecuted” by the government.

The ruling LDP administration has started to become sensitive to the international attention this issue is beginning to attract, particularly in the run up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. On August 28 the LDP had its first project team meeting to discuss the issue. The team meeting was in response to Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe’s meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on August 7, in which the governor asked Abe to legislate against hate speech. Aside from seeking to limit the negative attention such protests could attract to the Olympics, the government is also concerned that these protests are increasingly happening near public buildings like the Diet and the prime minister’s office. “The possibility of problems arising from such activities, such as right-wing sound trucks and weekend loud protests near the prime minister’s office, could interfere with normal government operations,” said Masahiko Shibayama, deputy chairman of the project team.

However, some are concerned that the government’s attempts to legislate against hate speech and “loud protests” could also be used to limit other activities, like anti-nuclear protests. At a protest on Saturday near the Diet, where 7,000 demonstrators met in opposition to the restart of Japan’s nuclear reactors, several people voiced their concern about the government’s proposed legislation. While speaking with the Asahi Shimbun, Emiko Mizuno said “I feel anger at and fear over the fact that, in the ruling party, there are people who cannot distinguish sound criticism against the government from the acts of racial discrimination.”

The project team appears aware of situation, with team leader and Diet member Katsuei Hirasawa saying “By looking into actual conditions (of hate speeches), we want to consider whether the government can deal (with them) under the current laws or if new laws are needed.” However, LDP policy chief Sanae Takaichi said, “When I am in the LDP headquarters building (located near the Diet building), there are times that I cannot concentrate on my work for many hours.” Whether the government will be able to effectively distinguish between hate-speech directed at minorities and regular, constitutionally protected protests through legislation will be difficult.


I was mainly curious if here were any legal eagles out there who knew the limits of freedom of religion in the USA and United Kingdom when it comes to inciting others to violence from the pulpit. To me, it seems logical and necessary to prevent more homegrown terrorists.

I even read on CNN or somewhere where an Iraqi moderate moved to Europe (England, I believe) and became radicalized there and went to Syria to go fight for ISIS. To me, things are totally upside down when a moderate arab does not become radicalized until he moves to Europe :confused:

Thanks, Gilliam!

It is against US law to give ‘material support’ to terrorists. That includes training. See:

It may very well be against the law in the US to support terrorist causes via the Internet. There is a case going in front of the US Supreme Court this year where someone was founded guilty for advocating terrorist views on the Internet.

In Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 130 S. Ct. 2705 (2010), this Court [SCOTUS] announced a standard under which speech might be a “service” constituting “material support” for terrorism if sufficiently “coordinated” with and provided to a foreign terrorist organization (“FTO”). The following year, the United States prosecuted Petitioner, an American citizen, for provision of material support and related crimes.

The government advanced two core theories: (1) that Petitioner’s vigorous political speech, translation and dissemination of religious and other materials in 2005 and 2006 constituted the “coordinated” provision of material support, and (2) that an earlier, short
visit to Yemen in which Petitioner never encountered an FTO, was an unlawful attempt and conspiracy to provide himself as personnel to an FTO. Over Petitioner’s objection, a jury was permitted to return a general verdict based on either theory. The jury returned a guilty verdict.

The question presented is:

Whether a citizen’s political and religious speech may constitute provision of “material support or resources” to an FTO under the “coordination” rubric of Humanitarian Law Project, when the government conceded that Petitioner was not instructed by the
FTO, and the evidence showed that he did not interact with the FTO, but rather viewed, translated, and disseminated materials of his own choosing, while expressing moral support for certain views of the FTO, and associating on the Internet with persons
who the government claims had themselves associated with the FTO.


Keep an eye on Mehanna v. United States

Good info, gilliam. I will folow those. Thanks for the good research.

Remember though in the US we do have Freedom of Religion. That includes preaching that Catholicism is the correct religion and we want everyone to eventually become Catholic… and we don’t want the state police sitting through Sunday mass and writing down everything the priest says to see if it passes muster as far as the government is concerned. We preach Natural Law and some mosques preach Sharia. They don’t enforce it but they say it is the right way. Is that OK?

We do have freedom of religion here.

I’m totally fine with freedom of religion as you described it, which is what has been the norm in the USA for ages. If priests and protestant ministers start advocating killing all non-Christians if they don’t convert to Christianity, then that is a different story but I don’t think there is any risk of that is the history of the country is any indicator.

When violence is promoted and glorified as religious duty and total intolerance of other religions is preached, then that becomes hate speech as far as I am concerned and that should not be tolerated under the guise of freedom of religion.

It’s the promoting of violence in the name of religion combined with intorerance of other faiths that is the key line that has to be crossed, in my view.

Otherwise, if Western countries continue to allow Islamist extremism to thrive under the umbrella of religious tolerance, we will unfortunately only get more and ISIS and Al Qaeda type groups, or at least that is how I see it.

Hello it’s not that I don’t think there are Muslim clerics that spew hatred in the United States, is that I did not know where you were necessarily coming from. In that some posters consider priests and clergy who preach Christianity to be haters especially if they are preaching against gay rights, etc. but if you’re talking about Muslim extremists yes of course I totally understand that they exist in America and that perhaps we ought to keep an eye on what they’re doing.


Actually, Churches are not suppose to endorse political candidates per tax exempt status. So speech is already measured to some extent though some Christian Ministers have indeed tempted the IRS to act, even sending copies of speeches to the agency.

On another note, my friend who is Muslim, from Egypt, a very nice man did not want to have anything to do with the local Islamic Center though I think he is devoted to admirable charitable principles. He certainly was weary of a number of the factions over in that part of the world and had worked in Iraq as well.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.