May 6, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Moderate an Islamic Website, Break the Law?

Anita Ramasastry has an excellent new Findlaw column on PATRIOT's "material support for terrorists" provision and the current case in Idaho (PDF) against the moderator of a controversial Islamic web forum.

"The government's case seems to rest not on Hussayan's postings but the messages and postings of others. And it appears that he worked not with a terrorist group, but alone, on a volunteer basis, in the den of his apartment," writes Ramasastry. "Moreover, according to Hussayen's lawyers, these sites also included viewpoints that criticized jihad as well. Thus, they may have been more 'marketplace of ideas' -- the First Amendment's ideal -- than terrorist platform."

This one's a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the threat to (online) expression from one of the key PATRIOT provisions; do check it out.

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