On Monday's program, we heard opposing views on the trial of Tarek Mehanna from Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense and civil liberties litigator, and Captain Glenn Sulmasy, a law professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.
Captain Sulmasy commented that "Our Constitution is a living, breathing document," to which Silverglate responded, "Well, it's living and breathing, but if this case is won by the government, it will be on life support."
The discussion sparked diverse feedback from our listeners. Listener "AAB" wrote on our website:
When translation is a crime, we are all in trouble. Freedom of expression must remain a central value of our society.
Listener Ron Evett emailed us this thoughts:
Lots of instances can be found of clear and present threats of violence and urging of others to violence from the right. None are prosecuted until somebody actually gets shot.
But listener "Jan Dumas" wondered:
So are we going to wait until Mehanna goes all Fort Hood on somebody before we take him seriously?
We also spoke with Tamer Mehanna, the brother of Tarek. He told us that the charges against his brother are absurd. "They're absurd," he said, "not only because he did nothing wrong, but they're absurd because we live in the United States and there is such a thing as the Constitution."
Listener Mark O'Day from Avon pushed back on that statement in an email. He wrote:
You should have asked Tarek's brother why Tarek explicitly denounces the United States and calls for Jihad against it, but now wants to hide behind the protections of the U.S. Constitution. He needs to be called out.
And listener Linda Grishman offered a comparison:
While I am concerned about 'War on Terror,' I don't believe anyone was prosecuted for raising money for the Irish Republic Army (IRA) when this group was actively engaging in terrorism in Northern Ireland and England.
We love hearing your perspectives and thoughts, so keep the conversation going.
This program aired on November 2, 2011.