Some well meaning Freedom of Speech advocates to anti-Muslim loons such as Pamela Geller do not believe that the recent Qur’an burning at the Islamic Center of Greater Lansing in East Lansing, MI and yesterday’s Qur’an burning at a mosque in Knoxville, TN are actual hate crimes but protected under the 1st Amendment.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 relating to cross burnings that acts that are meant to intimidate persons (minorities in particular) on their private properties are not protected under the 1st Amendment. Therefore, it is illegal to burn a cross in the yard of a Black man, for instance, or at a Black church because this is a clear act of intimidation. Likewise, to paint a swastika in the parking lot of a Jewish Temple would not be protected speech besides it also being trespassing.
And to burn the foundation of the religion of Islam, the Qur’an, at the entrance of a mosque on mosque property is also an act of religious hatred and intimidation.
By the way, this is not a new occurrence of the Qur’an being burned; there is a history of the Qur’an being burned when Crusaders came into the Holy Land and massacred Muslims during the First Crusade for instance. The Qur’an was also burned during the Spanish Inquisition.
In short, if persons burn a cross or the Qur’an on their own private properties, that’s their right to freely express themselves. However, if persons go to others’ private properties or houses of worship and do such while trespassing, this goes outside the bounds of responsible free speech.