Letter from America

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15 September 2012 - 10:37pm | posted by | 1 comment

Should the US revisit the First amendment to stop this craziness?

A scene from the film at the  heart of the problem A scene from the film at the heart of the problem

Is there a case for America looking more closely at its cherished First Amendment? This change , introduced in 1791, aimed to quell fears that the original constitution did not do enough to protect civil liberties.

The First amendment prohibits the making of any law impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, or interfering with the right to peaceably assemble: all of that absolutely at the heart of the American vision.

Yet lack of understanding of the US position is causing mayhem and death across the Middle East and as far away as Sydney, Australia.

Protesting Muslims cannot understand why an odious homemade film, Innocence of Muslims, deeply offensive to Islam, has not been banned by the US Government and the film makers arrested. The answer is, of course, the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and religious freedom .

There is no doubt that the US authorities would like to be able to do SOMETHING.

The California filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55,linked to the film was interviewed by probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff's station today - but not arrested or detained.

The feds were investigating whether Nakoula convicted of bank fraud in 2010 , had violated the terms of his five-year probation. He is banned from using computers or the Internet or using false identities as part of his sentence. If he has broken the rules , a judge could send him back to prison.

He is also thought to be Sam Bacile, the name originally attributed to the moviemaker.

The feds have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind the film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad .

The film was largely shot at the offices of Media for Christ, a non-profit based in Duarte,California, said the Huffington Post. The charity raised more than $1 million last year "to glow Jesus' light" to the world.

The film has reportedly only ever received ONE screening - in Los Angeles. The riots are over a 13-minute trailer widely viewed on You Tube.

A man, who was a script adviser to the film and with a history of anti-Islamic activism, told the local Press-Enterprise newspaper in California that he had received multiple death threats.

"I'm really tired," Steven Klein said when he answered the door of his home wearing shorts and with with a pistol in his hand.

Waving the gun, Klein, a Vietnam veteran told the newspaper he was standing up for his First Amendment rights in helping with the film and said he is prepared to die for those rights.

So we are back to the First Amendment.

Other Americans have already died in Libya.

The First Amendment is an acknowledged pillar of democracy. But it is being abused by people -whom some American commentators call nut-cases - whose actions , whether Koran burning or making abusive movies, have the potential to cost the lives of many innocent people.

It is probably journalistic heresy to say this: but I believe The United States should deal with this dilemma by making an amendment to the First amendment - outlawing deliberate actions of the type we have seen, capable of wreaking havoc across the globe.

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Comments

16 Sep 2012 - 01:27
terry21380's picture

Anyone in the world—including Al Quaeda—can make films, books or cartoons insulting Islamic beliefs. Anyone—including Al Quaeda—can post them on the Internet for the world to see. Anyone—including Al Quaeda—can pass the word to violence-happy losers that the insults exist, where they are, who is responsible and what to do about it.

And you think turning off our First Amendment will make the world safer?

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