Guest Pastor Leon Benjamin. This podcast is designed to invite conversations around the Christian faith. Pastor Ellis rightly divides the word to reach and teach…
By Scotty Reid
While researching for an article on the fallacy of what is being promoted as free speech rights specifically regarding Tim Wise’s assertion on Facebook that he has the free speech right to terrorize Black folks by standing in Times Square yelling racial slurs at them as they pass by on the street, I was reminded of a real life hero.
In my research on free speech rights in the United States codified in the Bill of Rights, I came across information that directly related to former NBA baller Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf aka Chris Jackson. Abdul-Rauf was essentially kicked out of the NBA because he would not salute the US flag or participate in opening ceremonies regarding the singing of the national anthem. He said he did not want to participate because the American flag and the USA represented genocide and oppression and his religion, Islam, forbade it.
After coming across information on a court case, I wonder why Abdul-Rauf did not sue the NBA for violating his right to not participate or be coerced into an agreement just so he could do his job and earn a living.
According to West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943), free speech protections apply to a person’s right to not speak or participate in such white supremacist “traditions” as standing for the national anthem. Unfortunately there were no fervent supporters for his sacred right of free speech granted to him as a citizen of the United States.
Again, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf had few sympathizers or defenders like Tim Wise who made comments about a non-existent right to express hate speech while defending the French satire publication Charlie Hebdo.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf did have plenty of critics including four employees who invaded a Mosque to terrorize Muslims with the national anthem.
“In an apparent publicity stunt linked to this controversy, four employees of Denver’s KBPI radio station were charged with misdemeanor offenses related to entering a Colorado mosque and playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a bugle and trumpet, in a provocative response to Abdul-Rauf’s refusal to stand for the national anthem”
Isn’t it interesting that those 4 employees of KBPI did not have a right to “freedom of expression” that amounted to harassment and white terrorism of Muslims?
I would like to ask Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf why he did not sue the NBA for violating his “free speech” right to not be forced to participate in a nationalistic white supremacist ritual.
However, it is possible he would like to put this episode of white economic terrorism in his past but I would just like to remind everyone of this example of American hypocrisy when it comes to protecting the rights of religious minorities in the west.
In a very similar incident, a lot of people took issue with Cleveland Cavilers NBA player Dion Waiters when it was falsely reported that he missed the national anthem ritual before a game because of his Muslim faith. It turned out to be false but if it were true, I have no doubt that he was reminded of the religious bigotry faced by Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.
All of this just reminds me of the Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sanford where it was stated that a black man had “No Rights Which the White Man was Bound to Respect”. Apparently that goes for Muslims as well.