Hundreds attended the so-called “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” meeting in Manchester, Tenn., on Tuesday, a special meeting intended to “educate people on the First Amendment” and the “consequences” of making inflammatory statements against Muslims. The meeting, held at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, was hosted by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee.
Among the speakers at the event were U.S. Attorney Bill Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville Division.
Two weeks ago, Killian told the Tullahoma News that it is possible that saying inflammatory things about Muslims on social media sites could violate federal civil rights laws.
“We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected,” he said. “This is also to inform the public about what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”
Conservative comedian Jeff Allen attended the meeting to get the U.S. attorney’s stance on free speech after the comments he made in the local Tennessee paper. However, he said the meeting was mostly unproductive because of a group of 6-10 “yahoos” that kept shouting out and disrupting the meeting.
“It was kind of embarrassing,” Allen told TheBlaze. “It only took a very small group of yahoos to ruin the night.”
Hecklers, an overwhelming minority, yelled things like “go home” and “we don’t want you here,” he said.
Allen said he was genuinely interested to hear what Killian had to say about the First Amendment and Islam, but he just regurgitated prepared “talking points” about how “wonderful American Muslims have assimilated.”
Allen also said Moore, the FBI agent who spoke at the event, was treated “rudely.”
“He served in Afghanistan,” he added. “I watch what the left does to people like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck when they try to speak publicly…I went because I wanted to hear what people have to say and I didn’t get to hear a whole lot. There was nothing really addressed about freedom of speech.”
U.S. attorney Killian did read directly from U.S. law that relates to hate crimes, but did not elaborate, the comedian explained. “I don’t know if they would have let him anyways,” he said.
The panel only allowed for two questions following the meeting due to all the disruptions, Allen told TheBlaze.
The meeting’s highlight, he recalled, came at the very beginning of the event when the patriotic crowd sang “God Bless America” and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Here’s what the crowd looked like (Video provided to TheBlaze by Jeff Allen):
The “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society” meeting comes after a Tennessee lawmaker found himself in hot water after posting a photo of a man holding a shotgun with the caption, “How to wink at a Muslim.” While the post was indeed “tasteless,” Allen said the U.S. shouldn’t outlaw offensive speech.
In an interview with Fox News’ Todd Starnes, Killian said Tuesday’s meeting would be “an open forum to discuss the First Amendment — to discuss its application to all religions and to Muslim religions.”
The federal government has participated in at least a dozen similar “Muslim education” meetings across Tennessee, Starnes reports.
Allen was also on Glenn Beck’s radio program on Tuesday to discuss the meeting in Manchester. Watch below via TheBlaze TV: