Posted Jun 05, 2013 07:09 pm CDT
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian of Knoxville, Tenn., was called a traitor and heckled frequently and loudly by audience members at an event Tuesday evening called to improve relations with the Muslim community.
The event sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council, was countered by a large group of protesters, both outside and inside the facility. Hecklers were sometimes so raucous that Killian could not be heard, the Tennessean reports. One audience member, Elaine Smith, told the newspaper the interruptions were so intense that she was afraid of some of the protesters.
Killian told the audience that hate speech is allowed, but threats of violence can be prosecuted, according to the the Chattanooga Times Free Press account of the event. He said that despite 50 convictions for hate crimes in his district, the Eastern District of Tennessee, “far too many people are still repeating the same vicious acts against the Arab-Muslim …” His point was cut off by shouts from the crowd.