Roland has extensive background on the case here. I am still trying to get hold of Harrison’s letter, to see if he really threatened the mosque or if this is a freedom of speech issue — but note that even the affidavit accusing him says that the letter falls short of making an actual threat. “Man says message about Islam misinterpreted,” by Jerry Wofford for the Tulsa World, January 8:
A Tulsa man who is charged with making threats against a local mosque and is being held in a mental health facility said he is not a violent person and that his message has been misinterpreted.
Jesse Quinn Harrison, 33, was charged Dec. 28 with transmitting a threatening letter and with malicious intimidation or harassment under Oklahoma’s hate-crimes statute. The charges allege that Harrison sent a letter to the Islamic Peace Academy “with the intent to intimidate.”
The charges also allege that a video showing Harrison “smearing pork on the Quran and (on a picture of) an Islamic religious figure and grilling those items” was posted online by Harrison with the intent of producing “violence directed to others because of their religious belief.”
How can they judge his intent? His video is here, and you can see that while it may be tasteless and offensive, he doesn’t say anything in it about doing violence to anyone.
But Harrison told the Tulsa World that although he recognizes that the video could be offensive to many, it was not his intent to harass Muslims. He said his goal was to “shine a light on the hypocrisy and fear that drives so much hate” and that the video is an exercise of his First Amendment right to free speech.
Harrison said he voluntarily admitted himself to the Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health on Dec. 18 but has been held there against his will since the charges were filed Dec. 28. He is scheduled for a mental-health hearing Monday in Tulsa County District Court.
Why is he being held against his will? Is this the Soviet Union now, holding people in mental health facilities for thoughtcrime?
According to a court affidavit filed Monday by Tulsa Police Cpl. Brian Blair, Harrison sent a packet containing a DVD and nine pages to the Peace Academy on Oct. 22.
The DVD contains images of family photos, business and personal records, and several videos and photos related to Harrison’s Quran burning and target practice with handguns, according to both the affidavit and Harrison.
The packet included Harrison’s resume, a letter outlining a domestic assault witnessed by Harrison, a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller and “a message” to the people of Islam asking “Who am I?” and “Who are you?”
Harrison posted on his Facebook page that he intended to “march on the Tulsa Islamic Mosque” on Dec. 31 and “will await Islam’s Fatwa. Lastly, I will impart my message.”
Harrison confirmed for the Tulsa World that he wrote the post and that before he was held against his will in the Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health, he had intended to go to the mosque on New Year’s Eve, but he would not say what message he would have delivered there.
Although the affidavit states that the individual actions “fall short of the description of a threatening or intimidating letter” as described in statutes, “the totality of circumstances and actions by Jesse Quinn Harrison would lead the average person to believe that he does possess animosity toward the Islamic Society of Tulsa.”…
Who is this “average person”? Honest Ibe Hooper?