Last September, a man named Mark Feigin posted five comments on the Facebook page of an Islamic center. They were not Islam-friendly. “THE MORE MUSLIMS WE ALLOW INTO AMERICA,” he wrote, “THE MORE TERROR WE WILL SEE.” He called Islam “dangerous” and said it has “no place in western civilization.” A couple of his comments included vulgar or profane language. On December 20, the State of California sued Feigin, charging him with violation of a penal code that reads, in part:
“Every person who, with intent to annoy or harass, makes repeated telephone calls or makes repeated contact by means of an electronic communication device… to another person is… guilty of a misdemeanor.”
According to the state Attorney General’s office, Feigin was guilty of a crime because he had engaged in “repeated harassment” of people whose religion he sought to “mock and disparage.”
Eugene Volokh, the UCLA law professor whose “Volokh Conspiracy” blog is a popular site of legal debate and discussion, wrote about Feigin’s case on December 29, noting that by the Attorney General’s logic, the state would be able to sue citizens who had written equally critical comments on, for example, an NRA or pro-Trump website. “This can’t possibly be consistent with the First Amendment,” Volokh said.
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