And in this case, the guy from the Southern Poverty Law Center gets it right. That link takes you to the full interview. It’s possible he went off the rails later in the story.
Anti-Islam speakers have been making the rounds in northern Minnesota and around the country, warning crowds about refugees and calling on them to oppose Muslims where they live.
They include John Guandolo, a former FBI agent who’s a fixture in anti-Islam circles. MPR News’ John Enger reported on Guandolo’s recent speech at a Warroad, Minn., church.
“Are you prepared?” Guandolo called out. “Are you prepared for the two or three dozen jihadis in, pick a city in Minnesota, with mortars or shoulder-fired rockets? You don’t think they can get those in the United States?”
Some people consider this type of rhetoric to be hate speech. But it’s not illegal, said Richard Cohen, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
[Did anybody else sense the word ‘yet’ being whispered in that first sentence? — Dave]
“If it were, there would be many, many people in jail,” Cohen said. “What you can’t do is cross the line between hate speech and incitement.”
Amen and correct.
The courts have narrowly defined incitement as expression that pushes “imminent lawless action,” he said. Anything short of that definition is protected speech under the First Amendment.
But just because hateful rhetoric is legal, doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous, Cohen added. “You can plant the seeds of violence in people, you can rile up a crowd, and violence sometimes follows.”
Vox Editor: ‘If Trump Comes to Your Town, Start a Riot’/Breitbart
The Gatestone Institute calls the SLPC the New anti-Racist Racists.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC), based in Montgomery, Alabama, has struck again. The self-appointed boundary-markers and policemen of free discussion have issued what they call a “Field Guide” to help “guide” the media in “countering prominent anti-Muslim extremists.”