Death to Death Threats

Illustrative picture. (Photo: Sebastian Dooris/Public Domain)
Illustrative picture. (Photo: Sebastian Dooris/Public Domain)

One of the best things about living in a democracy is the ability to solve political disagreements without violence. Instead, we use persuasion and ultimately the ballot box to change laws, politicians and even the system itself. It enables us to make needed change, provides a means of disagreeing with the status quo without rioting and generally makes society more orderly and pleasant.

One of the more disheartening developments of recent years is the growth of vicious partisanship. Some of this has manifested itself in ugly ways, such as sending death threats to one’s political enemies.

This happens to both sides. Clarion Project advisory board members Raheel Raza and Dr. Zudhi Jasser have both received many death threats, as have many of the other Muslim activists we are proud to support. We have rightly called out death threats in the past, such as when they were sent to Palestinian filmmaker Maysaloun Hamoud for a film she made about Palestinians living in Israel.

It also happens to activists we oppose. Linda Sarsour, in particular, gets a lot of death threats. Leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) have got death threats.

It shouldn’t need saying, but such things are unacceptable.

In a free society, all must be free to speak their minds without fear of violent repercussions. Clarion Project will continue to challenge those we disagree with. But we cannot allow differences of opinion, however intense they may be, to spill over into physical confrontation.

Death threats have a chilling impact on those who receive them. They are instruments of fear which contribute nothing to the debate.

Those committed to the struggle against radical Islam are involved because we want to see a world in which threats, coercion and violence are not used to silence people with differing views. As such, death threats are antithetical to our values and have no place in this effort.

The First Amendment guarantees the rights of all to freedom of speech and conscience without fear. Upholding it means upholding it for everyone.

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.