Does the Term ‘Islamist’ Constitute Hate Speech?

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Does the Term ‘Islamist’ Constitute Hate Speech?

Spanish prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation to determine whether the secretary general of Vox, a fast-rising Spanish populist party, is guilty of hate speech for warning of an “Islamist invasion.”

The criminal inquiry, based on a complaint from a Muslim activist group, appears aimed at silencing critical discussion of Islam ahead of national elections on April 28. More broadly, however, the case poses a huge threat to free speech in Spain.

Prosecutors in Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain, said that they were investigating Javier Ortega Smith, the deputy leader of Vox, for an alleged hate crime after they received a complaint from a political Muslim group calling itself “Muslims Against Islamophobia” (Musulmanes Contra la Islamofobia).

At a rally in Valencia on September 16, 2018, Ortega Smith declared that Europe’s “common enemy” is the “Islamist invasion”:

“TOGETHER WE WILL BE STRONGER AGAINST THE COMMON ENEMY THAT HAS A VERY CLEAR NAME. I WILL NOT STOP SAYING IT. OUR COMMON ENEMY, THE ENEMY OF EUROPE, THE ENEMY OF FREEDOM, THE ENEMY OF PROGRESS, THE ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY, THE ENEMY OF THE FAMILY, THE ENEMY OF LIFE, THE ENEMY OF THE FUTURE IS CALLED THE ISLAMIST INVASION.

“WHAT IS AT STAKE IS WHAT WE UNDERSTAND OR KNOW AS CIVILIZATION. IT IS UNDER SERIOUS THREAT. WE ARE NOT ALONE. MORE AND MORE EUROPEANS ARE STANDING UP BECAUSE THEY ARE SUFFERING IN THEIR CITIES, ON THEIR STREETS AND IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS DUE TO THE APPLICATION OF SHARIA LAW. THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO HAVE THEIR CATHEDRALS TORN DOWN AND FORCIBLY REPLACED WITH MOSQUES.

“THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO HAVE THEIR WOMEN COVER THEIR FACES WITH A BLACK CLOTH AND BE FORCED TO WALK TEN STEPS BEHIND — TO BE TREATED WORSE THAN CAMELS. THEY ARE NOT WILLING TO EXTINGUISH WHAT WE UNDERSTAND AS CIVILIZATION AND A RESPECT FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOM.”

Since Vox’s inception, party leaders have warned against creeping Islamization. In December 2014, for example, Vox President Santiago Abascal criticized the Spanish government’s decision to approve a law that promotes Islam in Spanish public schools. 

 

 

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