On June 26, 2010, protestors picketed a Kroger grocery store in Tennessee which was

reIusing to carry a local newspaper, the RutherIord Reader, because oI comments the paper
printed deIaming the religion oI Islam by calling it 'evil¨. The newspaper is now threatening to
sue Kroger, claiming that Kroger`s actions are a blatant breach oI First Amendment Rights. The
publisher and co-owner oI the RutherIord Reader, Pete Doughtie, said that 'when a group or
individual can Iorce a corporation to take something out oI their store which is printed material
and not oIIensive, then we`re headed in the wrong direction.¨ However, Kroger did Iind what the
newspaper printed in a guest column that described Islam as 'an evil, de-humanizing, backward
and deIiling 12
century ideology¨, oIIensive.
The idea that a publisher or owner oI a paper that is deliberately publishing hate propaganda
has the right to Iorce commercial outlets to sell their product and disseminate hate propaganda is
reminiscent oI what the German Government in World War Two Iorced publishers to do in
Germany and many nations in Europe. Leading up to, and during, World War Two, the German
government Iorced German publishers to pump out vast amounts oI hate propaganda against the
Jews, which was used to incite hate and violence against the Jews and served to Iacilitate the
German governments` actions to exterminate the Jews oI Europe.
The RutherIord Reader has no legal grounds on which to sue independent distributors who
choose not to distribute their paper Ior any reason, certainly including iI they Iind it oIIensive.
However, the RutherIord Reader`s actions in publishing deIaming propaganda against the
religion oI Islam, may meet the criteria oI a criminal oIIense as group libel against Muslims and
the religion oI Islam.
Group libel laws penalize speech or other communication that attacks or deIames a particular
group on the basis oI it`s race, ethnicity, religion or other similar group identities. Group libel
laws are based on the belieI that group libel might Ioster a social climate that could encourage
violence against the group being libeled and curtail the Iree speech oI the libeled group.
In Beauharnais v. Illinois (1952), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality oI a
state statute criminalizing the libel oI a group oI citizens. The Court said that like 'Iighting
words¨ (words that would cause the average addressee to Iight), these statements are not within a
constitutionally protected category oI speech. The Supreme Court ruling Iound no diIIerence
between libel against individuals and libel against groups in terms oI speech that was not
protected by the constitution.
Doughtie stated that the paper`s 'not out to hurt anybody¨ and has never called Ior violence
against any person or group. However, the issue oI inciting violence is a valid one and
particularly in regard to constitutionality oI Iree speech. In terms oI libel against individuals, the
constitutionality oI Iree speech has been challenged iI the speech is what is termed 'Iighting
words¨ that have a direct tendency to incite violence in the individual to whom the speech is
addressed as ruled in Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. In this ruling, Justice Murphy stated, that
there were 'certain well deIined and narrowly limited classes oI speech, the prevention and
punishment oI which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. This
includes. the libelous, and the insulting or 'Iighting¨ words those that by their very utterance
inIlict iniury or tend to incite an immediate breach oI the peace.¨
Although the ruling was speciIic to individuals and not groups in regard to what was considered
'Iighting words¨, in both rulings regarding the constitutional protection oI Iree speech, the issue
oI inciting violence or a breach oI the peace is a pertinent one.
In regard to Islam, it is particularly pertinent because we are engaged in a conIlict that
involves military action in other countries as a result oI terrorist attacks that have been termed a
'war against Islamicist terrorism¨.
What has been seen recently is hate propaganda against Islam and Muslims, particularly in
Europe, serving to meet the criteria oI both group libel, deIaming the religion oI Islam and
inciting violence in response to the hate propaganda.
The actions by the RutherIord Record and their claim that their right to publish deliberately
deIamatory statements about Islam, is iust an 'exercise oI their Iree speech¨ is the same claim
that has been made by some publications in Europe who claim that they as well are iust
'exercising Iree speech¨ in publishing things that are deliberately deIamatory to Muslims and
One oI the most publicized cases oI this type oI hate propaganda was the cartoon in a Danish
newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005, that showed the Prophet Mohammed
carrying a bomb shaped like a turban. This cartoon was one oI a series oI cartoons that were
deIamatory to Islam that the Jyllands-Posten published. The deliberately deIaming cartoons were
commissioned by the Jyllands-Posten, because oI what they perceived as 'selI-censorship¨
among artists dealing with Islam and as a test oI 'Iree speech¨.
In response to the cartoons were protests by Muslims and threats against both the newspaper
and Kurt Westergaard, the author oI the Mohammed turban cartoon and cuts at the very heart oI
what is massively problematic with the hate propaganda that is being printed. And how this hate
propaganda should be considered and what it should be considered 'as¨.
Historically, beIore this period, these publications have not published deIamatory statements
about the religion oI Islam or the prophet Mohammed. Clearly in this situation, where there has
been a deIined war against and in relation to 'Islamicist terrorism¨ there needs to be even more
scrutiny over what is being published and Ior what purpose and the possible result.
Is this propaganda supportive oI and does it promote war itselI? When virulently deIamatory
statements deIaming the nation oI Israel, and the religions oI Judaism and Christianity are
published in Muslim-predominant area publications they are criticized in the press in Western
countries as being inIlammatory and helping to Ioster and incite violence among the readers. It is
a valid criticism and one that should be iust as critically applied to anti Islam and anti Muslim
deIamatory statements in countries that are not predominantly Muslim. There is no reason to
assume that these types oI anti Islamic statements don`t serve to set up a climate whereby Islam
is something that should be Iought. Clearly the terming oI a religion that Ior a thousand years has
been one oI peace, Iorebearance and tolerance, as 'evil¨ is in and oI itselI untrue and could be
said to be terminology that could be used to incite readers to 'Iight against it¨. Just as similar
criticism oI the religions oI Judaism and Christianity could Ioster the same thing.
This speciIic type oI hate propaganda is speciIically having the eIIect oI Iurthering the conIlict
between the religions and inciting violence and conIlict.
We must be quite clear, in the United States, what we are sending our soldiers oII to Iight Ior
in other countries. It can`t be because oI preiudice against the religion oI those in other nations,
and in our own.
The reality is that this type oI hate propaganda against ethnic, religious and racial groups, has in
Iact been used to Ioster conIlict and Iacilitate it in the past. One example was the propaganda that
was used against the Tutsis in Rwanda by the media that helped to Iacilitate the extermination oI
almost a million Rwandan Tutsis by Rwandan Hutu militias. Leading up to, and during the time
oI the attacks, radio broadcasts portrayed the Tutsis as 'cockroaches that must be eliminated¨.
This Iollowed an ever increasing pattern oI violence inciting hate propaganda being published
and broadcast in Rwanda that helped to set the stage and Iacilitate the mass extermination.
This is not the only country where this type oI ethnic, religious or racial group hate propaganda
has accompanied and appeared to help incite violence recently. In a number oI countries around
the world, ethnic, religious, racial and tribal conIlict is occurring with an accompanying
occurrence oI hate propaganda in ethnic speciIic publications railing against the opposite group,
serving to both drive conIlict and to create a climate oI social acceptance oI violence and attacks
against the group being deIamed and attacked.
Historically, the most well known example oI this same type oI propaganda being used to set
up conditions to make it easy to discriminate against, assault and mass exterminate people was
the World War Two German government extermination oI 6 million Jews. The extermination oI
the 6 million Jews by the World War Two German government Iollowed a long period oI ever
increasing hate propaganda directed against the Jews, depicting them as violent, criminals,
rodents and evil. There are horriIically disturbing parallels between anti Jewish propaganda that
was being pumped out in European countries by the German government in World War Two and
the anti Islamic propaganda that is now being seen in Europe.
The anti Jewish propaganda by the German government in World War Two, served a number
oI purposes. It not only served to Iacilitate the increasing isolation and attacks against the Jews,
but resulted in their ultimately being rounded up, deported and exterminated, with little protest
Irom those in the countries where they were deported Irom. The German government in World
War Two also used massive hate propaganda against the Jews, which they pumped out all over
Europe, as a means and rationale that they presented as to 'why they were invading other
countries¨ in Europe, in order to protect both Germany and the Christians oI the other countries
oI Europe Irom the 'Jewish threat¨.
This too, is a particularly disturbing parallel with today and military involvement in Muslim
predominant nations, and we have to be sure that our actions in other countries militarily is not
being inIlamed or driven by this type oI hate propaganda.

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