At 8:40 PM Saturday night June 9, 2012, the Council on American Islamic Relations Tampa Director Hassan Shibly, Esq., presented a “Know Your Rights Civil Liberties Conference” at the Masjid Al-Bir in Kissimmee, FL.
The Masjid Al-Bir is a two year old pale green 15,000 square foot Mosque facility located in a remote rural part of Kissimmee, FL off Old Tampa Highway. As we approached the entrance of the Mosque, the women were instructed to enter through the women-only entrance leading them into a small area enclosed by a 6 foot solid white vinyl outdoor fence one could not see in or out of. We did not see or hear from the women until we met again in the poorly lit outside parking lot after the event was over. CAIR and the Masjid Al-Bir had no sensitivity towards the non-Muslim women who were not allowed out of the enclosure even after the Maghreb (evening) prayers were concluded.
Upon entering the Mosque, my video camera and press credentials were clearly visible when Jamal Hassouneh, Masjid Al-Bir Board Member, approached me and said he will need to speak with the speaker (Hassan Shibly) to see if video would be allowed. A few minutes later Mr. Hassouneh returned and said,
“You can stay but no cameras, no recording…because this is basically for the community and that is our policy…you are welcome to listen, there is nothing secret about it but we will not allow cameras or recording.”
It is unusual for a publicly advertised community event to be so secretive, but that is Mr. Shibly’s prerogative and we graciously complied. Mr. Shibly described his lecture as a “community event” and a “community empowerment session” in his opening remarks, and that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Community Event means Muslim Community Only
Mr. Hassouneh had used the words “community event” several times so it caught my attention, and only later we would learn that the “community” meant the Muslim community as a separate group within the larger Central Florida community.
In an email exchange with this reporter, Mr. Shibly articulates the separatist nature of what was mischaracterized as a Civil Liberties Conference when he wrote,
“Anyway this was not a meeting for the public, it was an education seminar for the Muslim community conducted in a Muslim place of worship. It was advertised only to the Muslim community one of two ways. 1. Fliers were put in the Mosque so the attendees of the Mosque to could attend. 2. An email was sent via constant contact ONLY to the email list of Muslims in Florida. The general mailing list, or the mailing list of media, was NOT included. I think you found out about it because you or someone you know has signed up on our Muslim community email list. Otherwise you would not have even received notice of the event. Anyway that was fine with us. But again this was not a public forum or event, it was a private event for the Muslim community on private property.”
Mr. Shibly, nowhere on your flyer does it say “Muslims Only”. Then again you couldn’t really say publicly your civil liberties lectures discriminate against all non-Muslims, could you?
The United West demands that Hassan Shibly attend a personal sensitivity training class to help him understand how his intolerant rhetoric violates the civil rights of all those who do not follow Islamic doctrine and theology. It is the height of insensitivity to say on behalf of CAIR Tampa that your Civil Liberties event was for the Muslim Community only and out of the goodness of your heart you allowed us non-Muslim dhimmis to attend.
Mr. Shibly’s lecture next went into the disclaimers when he said, “no recording of this session is allowed whether it’s audio, visual, or otherwise and the reason for that is very simple. Anyone that is recording will be trespassing on the property illegally and we will pursue that.”
Free Speech Is What I Tell You It Is
Immediately one of the Mosque members got concerned and asked if he could take notes. Mr. Shibly said,
“Notes for personal purposes exclusively are allowed, other than that they are not allowed. So for personal education purposes, so you understand. Anyone writing for the purposes of defaming the Muslim community or writing about the Muslim community or like, that would be considered trespassing, thank you.”
Mr. Shibly, your proclamation that a person cannot defame or write unflatteringly about the Muslim Community is patently offensive to America’s right to freedom of speech, especially at a self-described “civil liberties conference.” Mr. Shibly is trying to limit this reporter’s 1st Amendment right to comment on anything that may be “defaming” the Muslim community. That is not only absurd, it could not be under any circumstances a “trespass” under applicable statutes and case law, see Winselmann v. Reynolds. There is additional case law backing up this reporter’s claim however, this article’s purpose is not to go into the weeds on legal theory but to show one or two examples exposing where Mr. Shibly’s threats and legal knowledge are intended as nothing more than adult bullying tactics.
The Legal Showdown
Simply put, Hassan Shibly, Esq., cannot dictate and purposefully try to intimidate how this reporter or anyone else writes or speaks about what was observed at the Masjid Al-Bir CAIR Civil Liberties Conference. According to Fl. Statute 934.02(2), Stvenson v. State, any criminal of civil “trespass” claims would be frivolous.
Mr. Shibly is an American civil rights lawyer using our laws as a billy club to deny this reporter his first amendment rights. It may not seem like much on the surface but Mr. Shibly’s quote from above, “… Anyone writing for the purposes of defaming the Muslim community or writing about the Muslim community or like, that would be considered trespassing, thank you” follows one of the most important tenets of Shariah-compliant Political Islam, but it certainly does not follow American law.
Mr. Shibly is right that defaming the followers of Islam, Islam as a political ideology, or the Muslim community (ummah) is a punishable offense called blasphemy. When one defames the Muslim community they are committing blasphemy against Allah and his messenger and it is considered a heinous act to the followers of Islamic political doctrine and theology.
Abu Hanifa and Muhammad explain Free Speech, Shariah Style
One of the most renowned and eminent scholars of Islam Imam Abu Hanifa said,
“Muslim speaking against the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) should be executed and if it is a non-Muslim who doesn’t have a contract he should also be executed.”
To fully understand the importance of defaming the “Muslim community” to a follower of Islam one must go back to the life of Muhammad for proper guidance.
Continue reading at Have You Ever Been Inside a CAIR Civil Liberties Lecture?