Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 01:05
Mehanna stripped of free speech
In response to your article, “Internet terrorism permeates the home,” (April 24):
Tarek Mehanna’s case presents a major First Amendment issue.
The freedom of speech is an integral part of our society that must not be undervalued. It promotes growth, it protects citizens from the coercive and despotic reach of the state, and it enables democracy to flourish. With the freedom of speech, a marketplace of ideas is created. In this metaphorical marketplace, all ideas and opinions are gathered, considered, and consequently sorted by their value, insight, and purpose.
After returning to the United States, Mehanna was just an independent advocate, not an aid to terrorist organizations. Mehanna did not counsel terrorist groups and his translations and statements were made to the world at large.
Since he did not engage in threats of imminent violence, his course of action does not come within the ‘fighting words’ exception.
This distinction is absolutely crucial as it is what brings his case under the protection of the First Amendment.
We the People ought to be free to exercise our constitutional liberties.
We have the right to express our beliefs (even on the Internet), no matter how contentious, radical, or unpopular they may be.
—Sarah Park ’14
The writer is the secretary of Young Americans for Liberty.