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You can still find parts of the world where blaspheming Islam is punishable by fines or even death. Minnesota, however, is not among these places.
"It is not the way we roll in America, until now," reads one noxious fake news item. "Minnesota has just established" an anti-blasphemy law.
We decided to hose off this dumpster fire.
A hate crime hotline is not an anti-blasphemy law
Defining blasphemy is easy enough: in legal terms it’s "any oral or written reproach maliciously cast upon God, His name, attributes, or religion."
But it strains credulity beyond the breaking point to believe a hate crime hotline set up June 19 by the city of Minneapolis is actually an Islamic anti-blasphemy law.
First, opening a hotline is not how you make law.
Second, this hotline is not meant for suspected crimes against Muslims only.
As a statement describing the new service makes clear, reports concerning "any crime against a person or property motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity" are encouraged.
Third, even if this hotline were law (it’s not), anti-blasphemy laws are unenforceable in the United States because blasphemy is considered protected speech under the Constitution.
To suss out the raison d’etre of this fake news article, look no further than its inflammatory headline, which reads, "State Of Minnesota Has Just Handed Over FULL CONTROL To Muslims So They Can Take Down ‘Infidels.’ "
We rate this statement Pants on Fire!
Fake news article on Political Mayhem, "State Of Minnesota Has Just Handed Over FULL CONTROL To Muslims So They Can Take Down ‘Infidels,’" June 24, 2017
Black’s Law Dictionary, "blasphemy"
Caleb Holzaepfel in Emory International Law Review, "Can I Say That?: How an International Blasphemy Law Pits the Freedom of Religion Against the Freedom of Speech," 2014
City of Minneapolis press release, "New hotline to report hate crimes," June 19, 2017
Star Tribune, "Minneapolis launches hate-crime hot line," June 19, 2017
Pew Research Center, "Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy?" July 29, 2016
Council on American-Islamic Relations, "The Empowerment of Hate," May 9, 2017
Brian Levin, director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, "Hate Crimes Rise in Major American Localities in 2016," 2017
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