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Column: We will not be the vehicle for hate

By RiverTown editorial leadership team

The editorial leadership team for RiverTown publications has taken the firm stance that we will not publish what we consider hate speech—letters that threaten or that incite crimes including violence against anyone and for any reason. Period.

The vitriol from some letterwriters lately is not contributing to productive community conversation. In particular, the letters and viewpoints directed in a broad and hostile manner at Muslims, Christians, Jews or other religious groups has elevated safety concerns for all.

READ MORE: Guest editorial: Enough is enough

We tried to honor people's right to express their opinions, but the hate-filled messages pouring in concerning Islam and Muslims has gotten out of control. We refuse to be the vehicle for opinion pieces that are making us appear as if we support the bashing of other religions in our communities. Many readers have reached out to express their distaste and horror that these pieces are published. We are listening.

Our staff does not have the time we'd like to do extensive fact checking on these viewpoints, which are mainly lists of crimes allegedly committed by Muslims. Upon some digging, we have found many of these viewpoints to be plagiarized, rephrased slightly from other works and published elsewhere. That is not acceptable and we cannot tolerate it. Shame on us for not realizing it sooner, but shame on those who can't use their own words.

We can hear the arguments already:

"You are stifling the right to our opinion."

No, you are still entitled to your opinion, but we stand firm that these opinions are not helping anyone; they are harming peaceful discourse.

While there is no "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment, we must be responsible.

Questions? Contact our staff at news@rivertowns.net.

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