February 16, 2017 is a day that will live on in infamy for the American Muslim communities as Robert Rankin Doggart, American terrorist, was found guilty on all counts charged. Many of us were exuberant over such a victory, especially in this beginning “age of Trump” wherein expectations for justice are low. However, we are just as certain that Doggart and his cohorts were more surprised at the verdict, not expecting in these times that white men would be found guilty of terrorizing an ethnic, particularly Muslim, community.
Minorities in America have not experienced equality and justice in this country from its conception. However today, movements are springing up all over the place demanding that constitutional freedoms be applied equally to all who live within these borders, whether native-born or immigrant. It was the promise of the founding fathers that all who came here would enjoy the rights and freedoms of the U.S. Constitution as citizens and/or visitors.
Amongst Muslims, the expectations under the current administration are disheartening, but perhaps the guilty verdict for Doggart by a jury of his peers may be a symbol of hope and changing tides, that the foundation of truth and justice may still hold for most if not all our citizens.
Following the trial, Bill Killian, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, compared free speech and true threat. He said, “Let me be clear: in this country, hateful speech is allowed. It is protected by the freedom of speech part of the first amendment. But, if someone makes threats of violence, that is not protected speech and they will be prosecuted; likewise, if someone commits acts of violence under the guise of religious or other speech, they will be prosecuted for their violent acts.”
The Muslims of the Americas, at this time, hold onto hope and fly the banners of patriotism and justice – at least from this moment till the next time.
Islamic Post Editorial