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Obeidallah: ‘There Are Limits’ on Free Speech for Inciting Hatred

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Daily Beast columnist Dean Obeidallah argued that while drawing Mohammed is “defensible,” “there are limits” on free speech for trying to “incite hatred” on Monday’s “CNN Newsroom.”

Obeidallah stated, “we all universally defend her [Pamela Geller] right to draw the prophet Mohammed, do whatever she wants. She can taunt us…I defend your right to demonize even my group, that’s what the country’s about. But I have the right to counter it with our own words.”

Later, anchor Carol Costello asked, “I believe in free speech passionately…she can say whatever she wants. But, there’s a responsibility that also comes with that. And if this contest was set up to deliberately taunt or provoke, is that responsible?”

Obeidallah responded, “I think that’s a much harder question. I’m a former lawyer. I understand the First Amendment. I defend it absolutely. I think we have a right to have freedom of speech. But there are lines, though. If you intentionally try to incite hatred, there are limits on that. In this case, drawing the prophet Mohammed, I think it’s defensible, absolutely. Is it responsible or not, that’s up to you. Her goal was to get a reaction, she craves media attention, that’s what she lives by. So, it’s going to be for each person to decide whether it’s appropriate or not. The reaction of violence, absolutely, unequivocally, that’s the wrong response.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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