Attorney General Loretta Lynch has urged the parents of Muslim parents to contact the Justice Department and the Department of Education if their children are bullied at school. She did so in a speech before a Muslim advocacy group.
In the same appearance, Lynch threatened to crack down on “anti-Muslim rhetoric.” To be more precise, she threatened to broaden an existing crackdown.
Where we do see anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions turn into violence, we do take action. As we talk about the importance of free speech we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not America. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.
As to bullying, three questions arise. First, what is the evidence that bullying of Muslim school children is occurring to any appreciable degree? Lynch cited Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old boy who brought a disassembled clock that looked like an explosive device to his high school.
But Mohamed wasn’t bullied; he was aggressively questioned based on reasonable (though incorrect) suspicions of dangerous conduct. Even if one thinks the authorities were too aggressive, this case has nothing to do with bullying as the concept is commonly understood.
Second, what is the evidence that Muslims need to be encouraged to complain about “bullying”? Mohamed’s family certainly wasn’t bashful about playing the “clock” incident for all it was worth. Indeed, the suspicion lingers that the boy, at the prompting of his father, brought the suspicious-looking, fake-invention clock to school for the purpose of drumming up a grievance and perhaps a multimillion dollar lawsuit.
Lynch’s words will likely drum up grievances, many of them inconsequential or imagined. The result will be a waste of resources that could be used to address serious problems like, I dunno, maybe actual crime.
This leads the third question: Why should the United States Justice Department become involved in policing school “bullying”? Doing so represents federal intrusion into the give-and-take of daily life.
It’s the nanny state veering in the direction of a police state.
Lynch’s threats to prosecute speech suggest that she is already in police state territory. She did not limit her threat to speech advocating violence, which would have been easy enough to do. Instead, citing “an incredibly disturbing rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric,” Lynch said that where anti-Muslim rhetoric turns into violence, the federal government will prosecute.
Perhaps Lynch was just being sloppy, but her words suggest that if someone speaks out forcefully against Islam or Muslims and violence follows, the speaker may be prosecuted even if he didn’t advocate violence. As we know from the recent attack on the Colorado Planned Parenthood facility, it has become common for leftists to blame violence against certain targets on forceful issue advocacy standing alone. Lynch’s remarks raise the specter of this meme becoming the basis for federal prosecutions.
The Obama-Lynch Justice Department should be focusing on how to do a better job of identifying and thwarting threats of Islamist domestic terrorism, rather than on preventing school “bullying” and curbing political speech.