Pamela Geller has here the actual letter that Steve Eckley, a senior vice president of the management company that runs the Hutton Hotel, sent to Lou Ann Zelenik. He says that “at least two of your speakers have a history of enraging people to the point of violence.” That would be, as is clear from his earlier statements, Geller and me.
Now, in fact, neither Pamela Geller nor I have ever advocated or approved of violent action. So if someone is enraged to the point of violence by what we say, the responsibility lies entirely with him, not with us. And if Islamic supremacists and their Leftist allies have threatened violence if we speak, as it appears that they have, the police should be called in and these threats investigated, and the right of free citizens to free speech and freedom of assembly upheld. Instead, Eckley blames us for Islamic supremacist irrational violence and rage, and encourages more of that violence by showing that the threat of it gets results.
“Nashville hotel blocks Zelenik’s anti-Sharia conference,” by Scott Broden for DNJ.com, October 25:
MURFREESBORO “” Lou Ann Zelenik started searching for a new place for “The Constitution or Sharia?: Preserving Freedom Conference” Monday after learning a Nashville hotel canceled its Nov. 11 booking.
“It’s ridiculous that they chose to silence our freedom to speak,” said Zelenik, a Murfreesboro resident who came in second in a close Republican primary in 2010 against U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin. “They canceled it because they got threats. The Islamic extremists won, as far as I’m concerned.”
A company official with oversight of Hutton Hotel contends that Zelenik is wrong.
“This has nothing to do with freedom to speak,” said Steve Eckley, a senior vice president of the management company that runs the Hutton Hotel. “This has everything to do with making sure we are protecting our employees, our guests and our property.
“We were very concerned about protests, and those protests turning ugly. Several of the calls that we received led us to believe there was going to be organized protests,” he said. “We have no issue with the organization whatsoever. But because of two of their very inflammatory speakers, we were concerned about those protests.”
Pamela put it best: “My defense of freedom of speech and freedom of conscience enrages Islamic supremacists to the point of violence, and that is our fault.” Yes it is, in today’s Orwellian society.
Eckley confirmed that Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America was one of them and that her involvement is mentioned as a concern on the Anti-Defamation League’s website, which is dedicated to stopping the defamation of the Jewish people and securing justice and fair treatment to all.
“They protect everyone,” Eckley said.
Note how Eckley contradicts himself: he says he has no problem with our message, but is just concerned about violence. Then he cites two hard-Left reports that smear us for our message.
And of course the local Islamic center is pleased by their denial of the freedom of speech:
Islamic Center of Murfreesboro member Saleh Sbenaty said he thinks the hotel did the right thing.
“We as citizens support the First Amendment, whether that be freedom of religion or freedom of speech, but hate speech cannot be called freedom of speech,” said Sbenaty, a 19-year MTSU professor in the Department of Engineering Technology. “The United States does not stand for bigotry or exclusion. The United States is an open country that welcomes people of all faiths and all traditions, including the Muslim tradition.”
The problem with this is that “hate speech” is in the eye of the beholder. Sbenaty would doubtless not characterize a sermon based on Qur’an 9:5 or 9:29 or 4:34 or 5:33 or 4:89 or 47:4, etc., as hate speech, but others would differ. Ultimately hate speech laws are tools in the hands of the powerful to silence dissent. And that’s just what the Islamic supremacists want to do.