I want to share with you a victory we have achieved in our efforts to protect the rights of those who wanted to show a powerful documentary marking the anniversary of 9/11 in several parks in New York City.
You may recall the post a couple of weeks ago in which we announced that we were representing the Christian Action Network (CAN) in this case. CAN had been denied permission to utilize a number of City parks, which are available and routinely used by other organizations, to show a documentary entitled: “Sacrificed Survivors: The Untold Story of the Ground Zero Mega-Mosque,” which addresses the controversy surrounding the mosque at Ground Zero from the perspective of individuals who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Communications between the Parks Department and CAN’s representatives revealed that the Department’s concern over the documentary’s content and viewpoint was the issue.
We got involved. We sent the City a demand letter outlining our position and the constitutional issues involved.
"The law is clear: the City has violated the Christian Action Network’s rights under the First Amendment," the demand letter stated. "The City’s refusal to approve CAN’s applications due to disagreement with the content and viewpoint of the documentary violates CAN’s First Amendment rights. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from 'abridging the freedom of speech.'"
I am extremely pleased to report that the City's Department of Parks and Recreation has agreed to CAN's request to show the film in several City parks.
Our legal team did a fantastic job on this case and the outcome clearly reflects an important victory for our clients and for the First Amendment. We're also pleased that the corrective action was taken in a timely manner so that our clients can show this film in the days leading up to the 10th anniversary commemorating the tragic events of 9-11, as they had planned.
CAN expressed its gratitude for our involvement in the case. "We’d like to thank everyone who supported us, and thank the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) that issued a 'demand letter' on our behalf." CAN acknowledged the ACLJ's assistance and noted that "the Department responded positively and gave us a list of seven parks and eight available dates."