IGP warns atheist group not to cause uneasiness – Free Malaysia Today

The police chief reminds group that Islam is the official religion and there is no provision for atheism in the constitution.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police today warned an atheist group not to cause uneasiness among Malaysians, particularly the Muslims, with their activities.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, who issued the warning, said the group must abide by the laws.

I advise this atheist group not to cause uneasiness, particularly among Muslims who reject atheism, he told a news conference after witnessing a transfer of duty in the narcotics criminal investigation department and pinning on new rank insignias for senior officers.

Last week, the special officer to the prime minister, Rizal Mansor, expressed his concern over the appearance of an atheist club in Malaysia.

Rizal said the club should not be treated lightly.

Khalid said the nations constitution recognised Islam as the official religion without any provision in it for atheism.

He said the police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should the atheist group cause anxiety among Muslims.

The IGP was also asked what action the police would take if the group received threats from Muslims.

If they are threatened and there is an infringement of the laws, we will investigate and take action, he said.

On the discovery of the body of a South Korean woman found bound in a hotel room toilet in Genting Highlands today, Khalid said police had identified the killer and were hunting him.

We believe the killer is a Korean citizen and we have alerted the authorities at all exit points to detain him if he tries to leave the country.

This case involves a gambling debt. We believe it is connected with lending money to South Koreans to gamble in Genting Highlands.

When the borrower is unable to repay, this sort of thing happens, he said.

On the issue of Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali seeking a court order to compel the IGP to arrest businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low in connection with the 1MDB scandal, Khalid said he would wait for the courts decision.

No matter, we wait for the courts order, he said.

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IGP warns atheist group not to cause uneasiness – Free Malaysia Today

Why social media is not a public forum – The Washington Post – Washington Post

For Internet trolls, last week may as well have been Christmas.

On July 25, Judge James Cacheris of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia handed down a decisionstating that public officials may not block their constituents on social media.

The case, which will influence a similar casefiled by the Knight First Amendment Institute against President Trump, involved a dispute between defendant Phyllis Randall, chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, and plaintiff Brian Davison. The facts allege that Randall banned Davison from her Facebook page titled Chair Phyllis J. Randall after Davison published comments during an online forum that, in Randalls view, consisted of slanderous remarks about peoples family members and kickback money (if the facts seem confusing or incomplete, its not just you neither party could recall the precise contents of the deleted comment).

Davison claimed the ban violated his First Amendment rights. The court agreed, reasoning that Randall had acted in her governmental capacity by hosting a Facebook forum open to the public and had engaged in prohibited viewpoint discrimination by choosing to ban only Davison. Granting declaratory judgment to Davison, the court reasoned, By prohibiting Plaintiff from participating in her online forum because she took offense at his claim that her colleagues in the County government had acted unethically, Defendant committed a cardinal sin under the First Amendment.

Although it is difficult to contest that Randall was acting in her official capacity, the courts conclusion that a social media platform is analogous to a public forum is ill-conceived.

The courts rationale rests primarily on Supreme Court dicta in Packingham v. North Carolina, a 2017 case involving a statute which made it a felony for registered sex offenders to access social networking websites. In that case, the court indeed compared social media networks to traditionally public spaces like parks and streets, but that comparison was hardly dispositive of the question, especially considering the courts decision rested primarily on the North Carolina laws expansive reach (the law constituted an absolute bar on mainstream means of communication). Moreover, the court expressly stated, this opinion should not be interpreted as barring a State from enacting more specific laws than the one at issue, a point that the court in Virginia tacitly acknowledged by recognizing that a degree of [comment] moderation is necessary to preserve social media websites as useful forums for the exchange of ideas.

In the Loudoun County case, however, the restriction was extremely lenient. As the court put it, the ramifications of Randalls ban were fairly minor. The ban lasted a matter of hours [and] during that time, Plaintiff was able to post essentially the same thing on multiple pages. Additionally, there was little indication that Plaintiffs message was suppressed in any meaningful sense, or that he was unable to reach his desired audience.

This distinction notwithstanding, the court doubled down on its premise that social media is a public forum, once again citing Packingham.

There is another reason, however, Packingham cannot stand for the proposition that social media is a public forum warranting First Amendment protection. If the contrary were true, Facebooks own terms of useand Community Standardswould violate the First Amendment. No public forum traditional or designated could ban, for example, hate speech, speech by people under the age of 13, speech by a convicted sex offender or speech that is misleading, malicious, or discriminatory, as Facebook does. Facebook even reserves the right to remove certain kinds of sensitive content or limit the audience that sees it, and provides users the unqualified ability to avoid distasteful or offensive content by unfriending, blocking and even reporting other users.

These rules to which Davison and Randall agreed in their decision to use Facebook fall under Facebooks proprietary domain. Accordingly, courts have no authority to alter or limit Facebooks rules regulating the conduct or rights of its users simply because one of those users is a public official. Under the courts reasoning in this case, Facebook would either be forced to permit the public official to use its website without requiring the officials assent to its terms of use or forgo the officials use altogether. Both are unfair to Facebook.

A better analogy than the courts in this case would have been a scenario in which a politician hosted a town hall at her private residence or business. The elucidating effects of such an analogy are immediate; surely, a homeowner does not surrender her property right of exclusion simply because she hosts an event open to the public? In the Loudoun County case, the only difference is that Facebook is the homeowner, and the public official enjoys a license from Facebook to exclude others at her discretion.

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Why social media is not a public forum – The Washington Post – Washington Post

Letter: USS Liberty attack was tragic mistake – Worcester Telegram

Charles Giulianis letter lambasting the City Council for refusing to commemorate the sailors who lost their lives in a tragic 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, resulting from misidentification of the ship, is misleading and biased. A Google search for one of his sources, James Bamford: Golan-Heights attack, leads to an article in a newsletter promoted by lunatic-fringe paleolibertarian Lew Rockwell, a newsletterwhich also described black people as animals and espoused the slogan sodomy=death.

Giulianis other source, Ward Boston, as counsel to the U.S. Navy Court of Inquiry into the Liberty incident signed the Courts 1967 finding that the attack on the Liberty was in fact a mistake. Not until 2003 did Boston recant that finding. His subsequent 2007 news story charging that the U.S. government had covered up the truth about the incident for 40 years supplied no supporting evidence and contained numerous factual errors. It even propagated a myth that the Israelis, rather than trying to rescue the Libertys crew as they did, machine-gunned its life rafts. The elderly Bostons 2007 article relied on the assistance of one Ron Gotcher, who falsely claimed to have worked for the NSA and was reportedly the frontman for a Saudi-financed anti-Israel propaganda coalition.

As journalist James Jackson Kilpatrick wrote in 1967, it would have been utterly irrational for the Israeli Navy knowingly to have launched an attack on the U.S. ship, and the only reasonable explanation was that it was a mistake resulting from the fog of war.

David Lewis Schaefer

Professor of Political Science, Holy Cross College


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Letter: USS Liberty attack was tragic mistake – Worcester Telegram