"Freedom of speech is not total," proclaimed the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy's (CSID) William Lawrence at its January 22 panel on the "Muslim Response to Charlie Hebdo: Understanding the Root Causes of Radicalization." Lawrence's caveat disturbingly introduced false justifications for non-violently achieving the very sharia censorship sought by Charlie Hebdo's jihadist murderers before a National Press Club audience of about fifty.
The Islamist apologist CSID focused in the panel on Muslims and not the slain at Charlie Hebdo as victims. Lawrence's opening condemnation of the globally infamous January 7 Paris massacre as a "complete aberration" of "Islamic teachings" quickly gave way to criticism of the satire magazine's victims. Their murders were "orgies of violence unleashed on . . . purveyors" of "bigoted provocations," making Charlie Hebdo's satire not just irreverent, but immoral in Lawrence's estimation. "When did bigotry get so needy" that it sheltered behind free speech claims, Lawrence later asked while quoting an article criticizing cartoon racism, as if criticizing Islamic ideas equaled individual prejudice. Accordingly, Lawrence cited the legally discredited phrase from American Supreme Court history that "you can't shout fire in a crowded theater," a universal talking point of censors.