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The First Amendment guarantees that the government cannot suppress free speech or favor a religion — but a court in New Jersey is violating both of those promises.
According to a report from the Thomas More Law Center, residents of Bernards Township, New Jersey, have been banned from bringing up the topic of Muslims or Islam at an upcoming public hearing.
Forum - Mosque - Community
That public forum is intended to determine whether a mosque should be built in the community.
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Authorities - Citizens - Words - Muslim - Debate
You read that right: Authorities have essentially banned citizens from uttering the words “Muslim” or “Islam” at a public debate that centers on that very religion.
The controversy is focused on a settlement order from a district court, which appears to blatantly violate free speech protections.
Commentary - Islam - Muslims - Court - Order
“No commentary regarding Islam or Muslims will be permitted,” states a legally binding court order about the mosque hearing.
Violators, it seems clear, will be punished by being prohibited from speaking. It’s a tactic that smacks of the Shariah-controlled lands of the Middle East, or other totalitarian societies like communist nations under Soviet domination — not an American township in the state of New Jersey.
Response - Order - Thomas - More - Law
In response to the controversial order, the Thomas More Law Center has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Christopher and Loretta Quick, who live just 200 feet away from the proposed mosque site.
“TMLC’s lawsuit alleges that Bernards Township’s settlement agreement constitutes a prior restraint on speech based on content, as well as, a violation of the (First Amendment) Establishment Clause because it prefers Islam over other religions,” the law center explained.
Lawsuit - Citizens - Concerns - Islamic - Nature
The lawsuit claims that preventing local citizens from voicing their concerns about the “Islamic” nature of the mosque is not only unfair, but also unconstitutional.
“The Quicks reside within 200 feet of the proposed mosque construction in a zoned residential area. Yet,...
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