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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites 1695

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-sticky-wicket dept.
theodp writes "In response to a complaint, Rackspace has shut down the websites of the Dove World Outreach Center, a small 50-member church which has received national and international criticism for a planned book burning of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The center 'violated the hate-speech provision of our acceptable-use policy,' explained Rackspace spokesman Dan Goodgame. 'This is not a constitutional issue. This is a contract issue,' said Goodgame, who added he did not know how long it had hosted the church's sites. Not quite the same thing, but would Kurt Westergaard's cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad also violate Rackspace's AUP? How about Christopher Hitchens' Slate articles? Could articles from one-time Rackspace poster child The Onion pass muster?"
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

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  • Re:solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:00AM (#33519744) Journal

    I don't agree. Instead of a compromise, isn't this more like encouraging people to take more provocative actions so they'd get their way?

  • by Palestrina (715471) * on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:06AM (#33519828) Homepage

    ...how does a tolerant society deal with intolerance?

    There are many inconsistent and hypocritical ways of answering this question. I'm not sure there are any good answers.

    This "church" is doing to tolerance what Gödel did to mathematics -- showing its internal contradictions.

  • Need to quote my own sig for those that have them turned off: (quote is sig was made intentionally shorter to fit the size limit. Here is the full one) "Freedom in the United States of America is no longer the ability to do what you want. It is the ability to stop others from doing what THEY want." - A. Anderson
  • by sanjacguy (908392) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:10AM (#33519882)
    This is about business - if you write a book, you generally can't force somebody to publish it. Nobody can prevent you from writing it.

    My own personal guess is that there's two reasons for this move:

    1) The cost of containing damage from activist and/or religious hackers is higher than the income brought in by the offending site.

    2) The loss of income from muslim clients is greater than the income brought in by the offending site.

    Let's be clear - you have a freedom of speech in the US. And a freedom of religion. But you can't make Putnam Books publish to get your message out there.

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:10AM (#33519886)

    Frankly, while I find the idea of burning any book abhorrent I think that spitting in the face of these radicals of Islam is more important than not.

    I have never thought of it that way but I get the impression that the Reverend is just doing it because he's a bigot. BUT again, if the side effect is spitting in the face of Radical Islam, I'm not so sure now that I'm against these actions anymore.

  • by SpeedBump0619 (324581) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:13AM (#33519922)

    Sooner or later you get into the question, do people have the right to dislike other groups of people?

    Absolutely. My question is this: Why are they burning this particular book at this particular time? Are they making some statement about their beliefs? Or is their goal to foster fear and hatred of someone elses? Would they be offended if I got all my friends together to have a Bible Burning and Weenie Roast?

    I don't believe in thought crimes, so I'm mostly against laws criminalizing some frame of mind. That said, I also believe in the Golden Rule. I'm hoping someone really does rent the yard across the street from their Quran cookoff and hold the first annual Bible Burning and Weenie Roast. Maybe with little brands of the cross or a Jesus fish on every frank.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:17AM (#33519990)

    Actually the interesting way to push back against the burning of the Rainbow flag (representing homosexuals), would be for a group of atheist homosexuals to congregate in public, just across the street from the church, and burning a bunch of Bibles. If they really wanted to be provocative, they'd even burn an effigy of Jesus on the cross.

    I mean - surely such free spirited church goers would have absolutely no problem with homosexual atheists doing such a thing, right? They'd probably defend their right to do so with blood if they had to.

  • by TheKidWho (705796) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:20AM (#33520034)

    There's a big difference between burning a cross in front of some person's yard and burning a cross in your own yard...

    The Koran is just a book, let it burn. In fact, throw in some bibles while you're at it.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:20AM (#33520046)

    Frankly, while I find the idea of burning any book abhorrent I think that spitting in the face of these radicals of Islam is more important than not. Either bring your religion to 21st century and join the rest of us or shut the hell up.

    There are over 1 billion Muslims in the world, and several million living in the Western world. What percentage of them will resort to violence as a form of protest when these books are burned? Even a few thousand people is several orders of magnitude less than 1%. So it's hardly representative of the Muslim world. In a similar vein, Christians burnt down the Saint Michel theater in Paris [wikipedia.org], putting 13 people in hospital, just to protest against the film "The Last Temptation of Christ", so it's hardly like Islam has a monopoly on its followers wanting to restrict freedom of speech. (The Bible actually insists that blasphemers" should be killed by Christian congregations [skepticsan...dbible.com]: "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying ... he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him.")

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:24AM (#33520116) Homepage

    Actually you will, provided they cannot touch the offender. It will cause serious loss of face for all muslim leaders claiming they need the power to prevent this sort of thing, then it turns out they can't touch this guy.

    And loss of face, in a dictatorship, leads to loss of head.

    Besides, if we have a weekly quran burning, they will have to get used to it, it won't even be news anymore. And that would even lead to more freedom for the people living in these countries.

  • by jDeepbeep (913892) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:25AM (#33520162)

    Burning qurans to upset islamists is like burning bibles to upset the WBC.

    Except for the fact that all the WBC ever does is show up with signs and stage a protest. They don't show up with grenade launchers, sharp knives, bombs, and guns. WBC is a significantly less harmful bag of nuts than radical islam. And what these radical muslims have discovered is that threats work to make people in the west roll over so they can get their way, or to strike the right amount of fear in them to make them willing to have full body scans to get on an airplane and give up their rights in the name of terrorism.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:28AM (#33520234)
    The leader of the free world came down from on high and told this guy to stop. The day after Obama speaks they pull his site down. Now if they had pulled it down immediately after this guy started talking about koran burning that would have indeed been all Rackspace and totally within their own rights to serve whomever they please. But once the POTUS comes down on the guy I'm sure Rackspace though "IRS(FCC,CIA,NSA,FTC etc) Audit time, this guy has got to go.". They obviously want to save their own skin not just from the political fallout but more from any retaliation from an openly hostile government.

    Whether or not you agree with the guy you must admit that the government has no right to speak negatively about what this guy is doing, without giving equal feigned outrage at the burning of our flag, bible, constitution etc... Strange he[POTUS] only speak up now. Whatever happened to equal protection? If you say burning the koran is bad, why not through in the bible and the flag too.

    But of course Christians and patriots don't go all jihad on people, so really the government is even more pathetic than first thought. Not only are they stopping out this guys rights to free speech but they are doing so at the behest of foreign invaders whom we are at war with. If the government isn't going to protect the rights of its citizens from foreign invaders what the hell good is it?

    The chain of events is undeniable:
    Obama speaks out publicly against this guy's speech > Rackspace takes him down.

    If that's not government suppression of free speech rights - what is? How far does the government have to go in condemning what you say before you call it an infringement? When do you say "enough bad mouthing this guy just because of how he feels about Islam."

    http://news.google.com/news/more?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&topic=h&ncl=d1QWPuXxsUx51TMtOVUme7-2SzXLM [google.com]
  • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:30AM (#33520286)

    "Burning qurans to upset islamists is like burning bibles to upset the WBC."

    But it is a brilliant troll.

    Peaceful destruction of inanimate objects is reasonable protest, and there is no reason that superstition shouldn't be freely debated and attacked in the marketplace of ideas. We have shied away from attacking superstition
    because much of the world wasn't grown up enough to handle the debate. Now, when Muslims freak out and act as their book dictates, we'll have their demonstration of how the way Muslim superstition is practiced. I'd like to see Muslims FORCE the world to see Islam for what it is, they appear willing, so have at it.

  • by Xest (935314) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:41AM (#33520472)

    Whilst I agree that burning the Koran is probably not the smartest of moves, precisely because it will lead to violence, I do take issue with the double standards here.

    We have for example countries like Malasia, Indonesia, and Afghanistan complaining about how someone burning the Koran is offence and insisting the US government step in to stop it, but where are these country's governments when people in these countries burn western flags, or effigies of foreign people? or even Christian bibles? or the star of David?

    So I'll admit I'm not really sure what stance to take here, on one hand I agree that this pastor is clearly a little Hitler, but on the other, I'm concerned that no one is taking a step back and saying, well hang on, a lot of muslims burn sacred symbols from other religions and important symbols of other cultures, so are they now going to stop doing so if we stop this book burning?

    I don't like this guy, in fact, I don't really like any religion at all if I'm honest, I think it's all a waste of time and money, but I'm concerned that the battle for freedom of speech and expression has already been lost- if we have the whole world condemning this pastor, whilst a blind eye is turned to the burnings of various things by muslim protestors, than hasn't the rest of the world effectively been forced to yield to Islamic values, whilst Islam as a religion has yielded nothing in return?

    It's a difficult problem for sure, largely because both sides are just as bad as each other.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:45AM (#33520576)
    You know, the thing you don't seem to understand is that I am unaware of any Christian groups that teach that it is possible to desecrate the Bible. According to a website on Islam: "In addition, when one is not reading or reciting from the Qur'an, it should be closed and stored a clean, respectable place. Nothing should be placed on top of it, nor should it ever be placed on the floor or in a bathroom."
    From a Christian perspective, burning the Bible is in bad taste. From a Muslim perspective, burning the Quran (except as a means to dispose of a badly worn copy) is blasphemy. Actually , if Muslims had wanted to make this guy disappear as irrelevant (instead of apparently wanting to fan the flames of hostility) they would have praised him for understanding the proper way to dispose of the Quran.
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:50AM (#33520666)

    ...you'd allow a web-hosting company whose CEO and Board of Directors was Pro-Life to shut down the accounts of any blogger who advocated for abortion rights?

    ...you'd allow Comcast to shut down the blog of anyone arguing for 'Net neutrality?

    Yeah, I didn't think so...

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:52AM (#33520708)

    Is it acceptable for a web host to host only Christian pages? Only Linux pages? Only non-profit pages? I mean I see your logic, but there's really no difference between saying "you can't use this service for hate speech" and saying "this service can't be used by for-profit entities"

  • Re:well done (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wonko the Sane (25252) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:53AM (#33520720) Journal

    I would have more respect for them if they could at least ADMIT their cowardice and just admit that they're caving because they're afraid of violent retaliation.

    One of two things is going to happen: either the whole world is going to gradually give in via appeasement or else someone is going to change the dynamics of the situation such that the cowards have to consider the risk of retaliation for NOT standing up for the principals that they've always convinced themselves that they supported.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:54AM (#33520772)

    We host the Church of Scientology, so hosting this site was mildly tame compared to some of the customers we host. The media just so happens to be making a sensation out of this, and it will come across in our favor to drop them as a customer rather than to keep them and stand behind their free speech rights. There have been extreme cases wherein I will refuse to work for a customer because of my own ethical beliefs, and this would have been one of those times.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @09:58AM (#33520844)

    The intolerant church is trolling the vastly more intolerant Muslims so they will violently demonstrate their intolerance of mild intolerance.

    I for one am enjoying this.

  • by Tacvek (948259) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:29AM (#33521430) Journal

    But Rackspace is already limited in how they can control the use of their resources. Would they be allowed to say "We don't allow websites about black people on OUR resources." No.

    Actually, they could. It would be a terrible idea for business, but it would be perfectly legal. What they cannot do is refuse to hire black people, nor can they deliberately create a hostile working environment, or discriminate in pay or benefits.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:29AM (#33521434)

    I don't know about your last comment. As a Muslim-born (with no right to renounce faith) living in an Islamic country, I can guarantee you that what this pastor is doing is advancing MY civil liberties, in that it forces Islamic governments out of positions that were previously non-negociable. Quite frankly, I am appaled by well-meaning people like yourself who aren't striving for global Secular Humanism and get instead entangled in a nationalist perspective.

    The more Muslims get bashed in public, the more they'll have to adjust and actually prove their religion is peaceful in order to get more recruits. Remember, Christians are all about Love nowadays because they were forced into it. I am disgusted by this Pastor's words and actions, but I have to support them for the sake of liberties in the Muslim world.

    P.S: Posted as AC for most obvious reasons.

  • by tarlss (627609) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:32AM (#33521510)

    Uhm.

    To the people who say 'Why doesn't the government condemn radical Islam?" , the fact is, we do.

    The US Government, like all good government, speaks mostly through action rather than words in condemning radical Islam. Think about it.

    -Supporting dictatorships in lieu of radical Islamic Groups (The US's support for Pakistan, and propping up the Shah of Iran)
    -Supporting a dictatorship's war against a theocracy run by radical Muslims (Iran/Iraq War)
    -Targetted killings of radical Islamicists in Iraq and Afghanistan
    -Huge bounties on the heads of radical Islamicists (The hunt for Osama Bin Laden)
    -Wholesale invasions of countries and the dissolution of governments that support radical Islam (Invasion of Afghanistan and the fight against the Taliban)
    -Supporting moderate Muslim governments over radical ones (Visits to Egypt, funding for Pakistan and Iraq)

    In fact, the American military's main goal over the past 9 years has been the suppression, destruction and dissolution of radical Islam over the years. Pretty much every armed force from the Army proper, to the CIA has been devoted to taking radical Islam to task.

    ***
    Paster Terry Jones is acting like an asshat and ruining our work against radical Islam. THAT'S why we're condemning him.

    When Muslims burn bibles, the Western world DOES get upset. Infact, we get so upset we make lists of the incidents and eventually take armed actions against groups that go too far. Obviously we hope that the local governments take care of things, but do you think that the US is so naive? We have diplomats and ambassadors all over the world busy 'nudging' governments whenever such actions occur.

    Radical Islam taking action against blasphemers isn't a threat, it's a fact. We have armed men and women protecting us so we CAN do blasphemous acts safely. But doing them makes their job harder. It's just like you don't randomly provoke local gang-members or mafia-men: it's well within your rights to do, but is it SMART? No. Can the government protect you from retaliation? They'll TRY, but whether they'll succeed is a different matter.

    Radical Muslims, like any radical members of a religion, are generally brainwashed ignorant thugs. Pastor Terry Jones is a radical Christian. Why should we treat him any differently? We should condemn his sentiments and desires, and make sure to take action in case things turn violent.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:34AM (#33521530) Homepage

    Network neutrality only means that a network operator should treat packets the same regardless of source,

    Regardless of content too, obviously. And rackspace most definitely is a network provider too.

  • by memyselfandeye (1849868) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:37AM (#33521586)

    QFT. Crazy people always want their 15 minutes, he got his. Newsmakers want to make news, so they can sell ads.However, let me add that I have just returned from the Middle East, Dubai, and this guy was everywhere along with the New York Mosque. If you think it was overwhelming here, you have know idea. "Excuse me Mr. [redacted] but I just wanted to know if all Americans really hate Islam." -OR- "I don't understand why Americans hate us." -OR- "I used to believe in American ideals, but now I'm not so sure."

    I didn't really know what was going on until I got back, but suffice it to say, all anyone wanted to talk about was why Americans preach one thing and do another. Arab TV seemed to be a 24hr America sitcom, news stories about what those crazy and wacky Americans are doing now. I probably said "Just you wait and see, I'll bet this guy will become untouchable and nobody will want anything to do with him except a few crazy followers," a hundred times that week.

    Bottom line, Rackspace apparently felt this was a breach of contract so they declined to continue hosting/co-lo. They probably wanted an out, to protect their bottom line from the possibly many civil suits and canceled services by offended groups or persons, vs. keeping the bare-bones hosting plan this church probably had. This dude can sue them in court if he wants, but good luck buddy, you'll have a tough time proving Rackspace acted with difference towards you. All they have to do is show any number of other instances where they canceled plans for violating that part of their terms. This is like porn, you can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

  • Re:Lunatic? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:46AM (#33521738) Homepage Journal

    but this guy has just picked the most offensive thing he could do to the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, and is then going ahead and doing it. Irrespective of any arguments from common sense, principled tolerance, or basic good manners.

    If he weren't doing it as a part of his own fucked up insane religious agenda, I might even support him. Because yes, he's done what you say. And by doing so has proven just how stupidly easy a vast amount of people can be offended by something that by rights shouldn't be worthy even a three-liner in a local newspaper.

    Doh, he burned a book.

    Uh, what exactly is news about that at all? He can burn books all day long as I care. Does it matter which ones, except for the fact that glossy paper doesn't burn as good?

  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @10:49AM (#33521784) Journal

    Burning the Koran is a deliberate incitement, and is on a different level to the Islamic radicals burning American or western flags or Bibles, because we have a significantly lower attachment to the actual physical object

    So Muslims have made themselves an easy target by emotionally investing themselves in the integrity of all copies of a certain text. So what? Why should non-Muslims cater in any way to their foolishness?

    As a higher denominator, this is what we should be preventing - because its not on our level, its far below it and I don't enjoy being part of a society that can stoop that low.

    It's best not to be so insistent on being "high" that you allow your legs to be cut out from under you.

  • by AlterEager (1803124) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:03AM (#33522100)

    To the people who say 'Why doesn't the government condemn radical Islam?" , the fact is, we do. [...]

    -Supporting dictatorships in lieu of radical Islamic Groups (The US's support for Pakistan, and propping up the Shah of Iran)

    And a splendid success that has been.

    There were no radical Islamic groups in Iran before the US started propping up (a great euphemism) the Shah.

    The Taliban were created by the Pakistani ISI.

    -Supporting moderate Muslim governments over radical ones (Visits to Egypt, funding for Pakistan and Iraq)

    And Saudi Arabia? The actual funding and religious support for Al-Qaeda?

  • Re:As an example (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:05AM (#33522124)

    It it pure cowardice. We stand behind our freedoms... until someone says they'll hurt us, then we cave.

    And this is how the terrorists genuinely win. If we're no longer America, what the hell are we??

  • by Beetle B. (516615) <beetle_bNO@SPAMemail.com> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:12AM (#33522236)

    More accurate analogy - you are a megaphone rental company and one day someone walks in of a political / religious / ethnic / sexual persuasion that you don't like. You continue to hand out megaphones to everyone else, but tell this person they're not allowed to rent one from you.

    More accurate, but still a poor analogy, because what you describe is illegal. As a business, you cannot discriminate on religious, racial or (now) sexual grounds.

    Take it from someone who was part of an organization that successfully sued a billboard company, because they were clearly discriminating on one of these grounds.

    What Rackspace is doing is not illegal, so it's a poor idea to compare it to your scenario.

    A more accurate scenario would be for a megaphone company to refuse to rent out to someone who will use it to espouse views they consider inflammatory, or just plain don't like. As long as they have a clear policy on this, it's perfectly legal. They can, for example, refuse to rent out megaphones for the use of promoting soccer. Silly, perhaps, but frankly, it is simply not our business if they act that way.

    Yes, freedom of speech is cool, but my property rights trounce your freedom of speech. I know you have something to say, but if you intend to use my property (megaphone, private server, etc) to do it, you're obligated to do it on my terms.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NiteShaed (315799) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @11:33AM (#33522570)

    So AT&T could simply refuse to interconnect with anyone hosting skype servers and that'd be okay with you ?

    AT&T is a network service provider, and is therefore the focus of net neutrality. So no, that would not be alright with me.

    And obviously it violated network neutrality when AT&T intentionally slowed down the sip protocol. Easy enough to do on today's network equipment, and this was obviously seen as a gross violation of net neutrality.

    Do you really not understand the difference between a network provider and a hosting provider? Rackspace is a HOSTING provider. They do not own the network. AT&T is a NETWORK provider. This is what we mean by NETWORK Neutrality.

  • Re:Lunatic? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:59PM (#33523984)

    I'm going to take a wild guess that you are not an Afghan. Quite apart from whether we think we are the good guys, there are certainly factors at work beyond "the bad guys want power back" in determining the opposition we face.

    Would you oppose occupation of your country by Islamic Extremists if you believed they were denying us religious freedom and trying to convert us to Islam?

    Would you oppose occupation of your country by Islamic Extremists if you heard stories that they killed wedding parties with bombs, or that they were doing outrageous things during searches?

    Would you oppose occupation of your country by Islamic Extremists if the quislings they installed in government were building up conspicuously fat stacks of cash in corrupt deals?

    It is incredibly stupid to just ignore the force of these claims while trying to conduct a counter-insurgency.

  • Re:well done (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Coryoth (254751) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:18PM (#33525238) Homepage Journal

    I'm a christian and an American, yet I don't get offended when I see people burning bibles or American flags; I look at them like they're idiots. Sure, the symbolism of their action is bad, but it's still just a book - it's nothing I'm going to lose sleep over.

    Well there was the case of much hullaballoo and threats some time ago when PZ Mysers was threatening to desecrate a consecrated wafer [scienceblogs.com]. A large number of people really did get very offended even by the suggestion that he might do such a thing. Now, of course, I expect you're not Catholic and so wouldn't care. The fact remains that there are things can cause some Christians to lose a lot of sleep. I expect there are plenty of muslims (I'm betting the vast majority) that will have a similar reaction to yours over the book burning, but there will be some who will indeed be offended. This is how religion works: sacred things are sacred and threats to do bad things to them are deemed offensive by whoever takes the dogma very seriously.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:53PM (#33525772) Homepage

    I'm annoyed with Rackspace sucking up to religious zealots. I don't care what religion they're from. It's worth pulling the chain of each religion once in a while. It makes people think about whether religions should be taken seriously.

  • Re:Stupid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:59PM (#33525878) Journal

    "Hate speech" may indeed be a political term, but last time I checked that hosting company is not in the political industry, it's in the hosting industry where (surprise surprise) legal contracts trump your opinions.

    I haven't been arguing though, that the contracts are illegal. I've been arguing that the behaviour of Rackspace is wrong. Saying that they can get away with it is not a counter to that. The intent of your posts seems to be to establish that Rackspace are not obliged to listen to my opinions. That is orthogonal to whether they are in the right or not. If you are merely making the case that I can't force them to my will, then you've stated that twice and I've agreed and said that's not what I'm arguing and we can stop this here. If you're arguing that Rackspace's behaviour is right, then there is still far to go, I'm afraid.

    As it is my opinion on this matter that you keep challenging, then you'll agree that whether or not Rackspace must legally listen to judgement on their behaviour isn't really germane to whether or not my opinion is valid.

  • Re:well done (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 09, 2010 @04:31PM (#33527064)

    Exactly. What's interesting is that although "moderate muslims" will not attack you, they'll happily justify/attempt to rationalize the actions of the "extremist muslims" with expressions such as "they were asking for it", "they offended [...]", "it's not surprising [...]". After that Theo Van Gogh story, I saw this interview with a (supposedly) moderate muslim lady that was doing exactly that: she said she disagreed (to seem "moderate"), but at the same time said it was justifiable/understandable, since muslim sensibilities were attacked by "Submission".

  • Transaction7 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Transaction7 (1527003) <peterschamberlain@embarqmail.com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:36AM (#33531436)
    The First Amendment, like the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, or Tenth does not grant, and was never intended to grant, any rights. They were added to guarantee fundamental, unalienable human rights, generally accepted by those supporting and those opposing the Constitution as granted by or derived from “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” The same argument that the Tenth Amendment was a legal nullity because it was “merely declaratory,” could be made, and exposed as fallacious and false by making, the same argument about the First Amendment. Of course, the Constitution deals only with governmental action, but, in this case, there was pressure to stop this demonstration, applied by General Petraeus as Commander of our war effort in Afghanistan, the Secretary of Defense, the White House, and many others influenced by them, so the governmental-private distinction Some smart and thoughtful conservatives, as well as liberals, on and off the Supreme Court, realized that laws against burning the American flag as a political protest, however repugnant the act, violated the intent of the First Amendment. The opinion failed to mention that the same law would also have criminalized the burring of the flag of North Vietnam with whom we were then at war, the subject of that protest, the Nazi flag, the red flag and hammer and sickle of Communism, etc. The same problem arises with many laws intended to protect other “venerated objects,” the damaging or destruction of which causes particular hurt and anger, beyond the economic value of the object, which laws would protect cemeteries and headstones, religious symbols, Bibles and Qurans, etc. Our law does recognize many instances of intentional infliction of severe emotional distress. Intriguingly, the opinion also appeared to overlook the fact that the flag burned in that case did not belong to the flag-burner, which raised another issue altogether. A retired Texas lawyer, I’m not up on the laws of Florida or wherever Rackspace is based, but a contractual provision against a customer of a web host, an ISP, a media outlet, a publishing company, a quick print shop, or a supplier of chicken feed using the service to promote anything likely to get the web host, etc., entangled, fairly or not, in someone else’s fight, would appear to be reasonable and valid. This could, however, certainly be abused. Microsoft, Google, etc. are big enough, and virtual natural monopolies, that their refusal to deal with someone who disagreed with them or their favored candidate for President could raise some very significant issues, but that’s not the case here. Now what I would want to know, in order to judge Rackspace’s action, might include who else, pushing whatever else, they are and are not willing to serve. Al Qaeda and some other violently militant Muslim terrorists, with whom, unlike “Islam,” we really are at war because they are at war with us. Child porn distributors. People and groups who promote hate and violence. Scandal sheets that habitually invade privacy or publish libelous lies under color of the public-figure rules. I would prefer not to do business with an ISP, a hosting company, a telecommunications company, etc., that don’t guard and take action against such abuses. There were clients I wouldn’t represent in their ongoing business activities when practicing law, though I had no ethical problem representing criminals in court after they got caught or charged, about which there are rules prescribing what defense lawyers may and may not do. I happen to agree with the prevailing view, across the religious and political spectrum, that this Quran-burning protest is wrong for several reasons. I can find nothing in Christian scripture or belief that sanctions it, and it can and will be used against us not only by our real enemies but by others in the Muslim world with whom our country is trying to conduct necessary relations. It could well incite deadly violence against Americans and harm our war effort. It also appears to be a publicity stunt.

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