Get the day’s best political analysis, news and reporting from the TPM team delivered to your inbox every day. In 30-60 seconds, you’ll be first to see TPM’s best stories of the morning and caught up on what to expect for the day ahead.
A public discussion held on the Muslim faith and the First Amendment in Manchester, Tennessee turned to chaos on Tuesday after several hundred people in attendance jeered and heckled a U.S. attorney and an FBI official who spoke about constitutional protections for various forms of speech.
“I came here because I wanted to learn something … but I couldn’t hear because the audience was so disrespectful,” one attendee complained to the Tenneseean. “I cried when I got here. It makes me really sad especially because these people say they’re Christians. The God I worship doesn’t teach hate.”
The event, sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council, also drew scores of protesters outside who began to yell “communist,” “socialist” and “Muslim” at law enforcement officials after the venue reached full capacity.
One protester in attendance disagreed with the two federal officials.
“I feel like (these) men are attempting to intimidate people with the freedom of speech and that bothers me,” he said, according to the Tennesean. “I would like to say that Muslims have a right to live here and worship freely, but I do not think they have the right to change American law to fit Sharia law. Violence no matter where it comes from bothers me.”