While speaking at the Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner on Thursday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that she intends to prosecute those who use “anti-Muslim rhetoric” that “edges toward violence.” Telling those assembled that “we stand with you,” referring to the current administration, she promised to use the Justice Department to protect Muslims from “violence” and perceived discrimination. Her promise sparked a great deal of criticism from many on the right.
“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,” she said. “My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is ‘We cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on,’” she added.
“What backlashes?” asked Pamela Geller, author and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA). “Americans have been slaughtered at a Christmas party in the cause of Allah. This is sharia enforcement. This is sedition by the Obama administration. This should not be the response of the wholesale slaughter of American ‘unbelievers.’”
Former GOP Representative Joe Walsh hammered Lynch for her comments. In a statement sent to Hypeline News, he dared Lynch to prosecute him.
“I have a 1st Amendment right, Ms Lynch, to say whatever I want about Muslims,” he said. “You want to try and prosecute me for what I say? I dare you.” He wasn’t finished, however.
“Most Muslims around the world are terrorists, support terrorism, and/or support Sharia Law,” he said. “They are our enemy. I don’t want them in America. Any Muslim that won’t assimilate should get the hell out of America. Any Muslim that is a terrorist or supports terrorism should be killed.”
A number of conservative figures, including Rush Limbaugh and Monica Crowley, slammed Lynch and the administration. Limbaugh addressed the statement on his Friday program.
“The attorney general promising to prosecute anyone who criticizes Islam,” he said. “Anybody who criticizes the religion of peace will be called an Islamophobe, and she has threatened prosecution. Can you imagine the attorney general [of] the United States threatening to prosecute anybody for criticizing Christianity, folks?”
In a message sent on Twitter, Crowley called Lynch’s vow “truly frightening.” One person responded: “Good bye liberty, I knew thee well.”