Rather than denouncing acts of terrorism, just one day after recent tragic events in San Bernardino, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a group assembled for the Muslim Advocates dinner that the Justice Department is prepared to take “aggressive action” against people employing anti-Muslim rhetoric that “edges towards violence.”
In effect, she’s saying she would use prosecution as a weapon to protect Muslims from others employing their First Amendment rights.
Seemingly, her greatest fear at the time was not another Paris, or San Bernardino, but “anti-Muslim rhetoric,” instead.
Speaking at Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner, Lynch said since the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, she is increasingly concerned with the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric … that fear is my greatest fear.”
The fear that you have just mentioned is in fact my greatest fear as a prosecutor, as someone who is sworn to the protection of all of the American people, which is that the rhetoric will be accompanied by acts of violence. My message to not just the Muslim community but to the entire American community is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.
Lynch made it clear that she shares those concerns, but vowed to use the DOJ to protect Muslims from discrimination and violence. Noting the rise in violence against Muslims and mosques in the wake of the Paris attacks, Lynch added that, “When we talk about the First amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”
As for San Bernardino, yesterday at a press conference, Lynch said it presented a “wonderful opportunity” for change.
UPDATE: Loretta Lynch, at a press conference yesterday, termed the San Bernardino shootings a “wonderful opportunity” to change the nature of police work: “We’re at the point where these issues have come together really like never before in law enforcement thought and in our nation’s history and it gives us a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful moment to really make significant change.”