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01/08/2018 / By Lance D Johnson
Has Sharia law found its way into the United States, replacing American democracy? If you live in California and criticize Islam on Facebook, your words could be interpreted as “harassment” and you could be charged with serious misdemeanor crimes.
That’s what happened to one man from California who ranted on a pro-Islam Facebook page. In 2016, 41 year old Mark Feigin posted five messages criticizing Muslims on the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) Facebook page. He wrote things like, “Islam is dangerous” and called out their ties to terror.
Instead of deleting the post, blocking Feigin, and moving on, the Islamic Center of Southern California felt deeply offended, saved the Facebook rant, and used it as evidence that would ultimately be used to charge Feigin with misdemeanors.
ICSC Communications Coordinator Kristin Stangas contacted authorities and shared Feigin’s messages. The messages include:
“THE MORE MUSLIMS WE ALLOW INTO AMERICA THE MORE TERROR WE WILL SEE.”
“PRACTICING ISLAM CAN SLOW OR EVEN REVERSE THE PROCESS OF HUMAN EVOLUTION.”
“Islam is dangerous – fact: the more muslim savages we allow into america – the more terror we will see -this is a fact which is undeniable.”
The Los Angeles Police Department took the Facebook matter seriously, arrested Feigin, and charged him under Cal. Penal Code § 653m(b), which states: “every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device … to another person is … guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this subdivision shall apply to telephone calls or electronic contacts made in good faith or during the ordinary course and scope of business.”
It’s easy to type how you really feel and send it over the internet. You think you’re safe, letting out your anger, as you sit behind a screen anonymously. But it doesn’t matter how free you think you are. Powerful groups can find ways to manipulate the interpretation of the law to use your words against you in court. Ultimately the California Attorney General says the Facebook posts violated the law by making, “repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device” with the “intent to annoy or harass.” The Facebook posts were from 2016 and the trial began on January 2, 2018.
Feigin never committed any real crime and never threatened anybody. He was charged because the organization felt offended and complained to authorities that they were being harassed. If hurt feelings caused by online text can be used to charge someone, then practically anyone could be charged for anything they post on Facebook. It’s easy to dwell on typewritten words and feel deeply offended. This happens all the time on Facebook. This is why former Facebook employees admit that Facebook is “ripping society apart.”
But what happens when an offended religious group uses the power of the law to charge people with crimes? Everyday people freely express their opinions about President Trump, calling him “dangerous” and other more explicit terms. Are Islamic groups a “protected” class of citizens? Threats are constantly blurted out online toward the President of the United States, but authorities aren’t trekking through neighborhoods, hunting down these people and charging them with misdemeanor crimes.
The question now is: If any organization feels annoyed by online ranting, could they use the law to charge that person with “harassment?”
Some of the most radical beliefs of Islam seek to destroy American democracy and culture and replace it with oppressive Sharia law. Is this case in California an open door for Islamic groups to assert dominion over American democracy and speech? Will Islamic groups begin to use American laws as weapons to silence opposing views online? Are other religious groups “protected” in this manner? Muslims should stand up to their religion’s most oppressive ideas of conquest and control, or risk losing their credibility as a “peaceful religion” altogether.
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