Islamic leaders in Dearborn, Mich. are holding a rally this Friday night to build momentum for the passage of laws that prohibit speech or expression that hurts "the religious feelings of Muslims."
Put together in response to the film "Innocence of Muslims," rally organizer Tarek Baydoun said, "We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to sow the seeds of hate and discord against the religious beliefs of others." Rally co-organizer Osama Siblani added, "There is a need for deterrent legal measures against those individuals or groups that want to damage relations between people, spread hate and incite violence."
In other words, it appears one of the goals of the rally will be the eventual creation of blasphemy laws: laws that would reflect an international movement toward banning speech that is critical of Islam or Mohammed.
Ironically, this rally comes at a time when hate crimes toward Muslims in America have dropped more 50% in the last ten years. For example, in 2001 hate crimes against Muslims constituted approximately 28% of all such crimes in America, but in 2010 that category of crime against Muslims only constituted 12.7%.
This drop in crime was not due to blasphemy laws or other curbs on free speech.