Arguments ensue at anti-Islamophobia, free speech meeting

A meeting to discuss free speech turned into two hours of clashing opinions and arguments at the Ethical Cultural Society in Westchester Thursday.

A meeting to discuss free speech turned into two hours of clashing opinions and arguments at the Ethical Cultural Society in Westchester Thursday.

A meeting to discuss free speech turned into two hours of clashing opinions and arguments at the Ethical Cultural Society in Westchester Thursday. (11/5/15)

WHITE PLAINS - A meeting to discuss free speech turned into two hours of clashing opinions and arguments at the Ethical Cultural Society in Westchester Thursday.

The meeting, entitled "Free Speech/Hate Speech," invited members of the Westchester Coalition against Islamophobia and the Global Jewish Advocacy to discuss ways to defend civil rights by hearing from three panelists. Other advocacy groups also participated in the panel. These panelists were made up of lawyers of diverse backgrounds.

Instead of partaking in a night of discussion, the panelists defended themselves against ongoing outbursts from those with the Jewish Rapid Response Coalition who claimed the event was "anti-Israel."

"The people are civil rights lawyers so we're relying on them to give off their expertise as far as the law is concerned. So, what they believe about Israel, that's not the subject we'll talk about today," says Khurso Elley, Westchester Coalition against Islamophobia member and meeting organizer.

The disruptions reportedly continued for two hours.

"What we're trying to do is point out that there is a difference between Islam, which is a wonderful religion, and political radical Islamism like terrorists, Hamas, ISIS," says Paul Furbank of Jewish Rapid Response Coalition.

Several meeting attendees told News 12 that they wanted to discuss religion at the meeting, while others wanted to discuss free speech.  Many meeting attendees said they would be willing to discuss their feelings together, as long as every voice can be heard.

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