A Virginia lawyer is accused of defending a video showing the Prophet Muhammad burning the Koran and other controversial images.
The video, posted on Facebook by a user known as “Al-Anon”, has been viewed over a million times.
In a Facebook post, Virginia law firm William & Banks accused the video’s creator of inciting hate and violence.
“This is the first time in history that the Virginia Bar has been involved in this kind of case,” said lawyer Brian Burchfield.
“We have been looking into it, and it’s been very disturbing.”
Burchfields’ firm represented an accused killer of a Muslim man in 2014.
“There are people out there who think they have a right to do this, and that they have the right to burn books,” he said.
This is a blatant attack on free speech.”
The video shows a woman burning the Quran.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group has claimed responsibility for the video.
“I am the first person to burn the Koran, the Koran is the highest holy book,” the woman says.
“And I’m burning it because of the hatred that Muslims have for our prophet.”
The man says: “It is the most sacred book.
The Quran is the greatest book, the word of God.
It is the word that is guiding the world.
It’s the word which makes the sun rise and the moon rise.”
The woman replies: “I’m not a prophet.”
She says: I am a person.
I am someone who is fighting for humanity, and I am also someone who loves Allah.
“In Islam, we call the Quran, the Quran is a book of peace.
It gives guidance to Muslims to be peaceful, and to be kind to one another,” the man says.
The woman responds: You are trying to convert me to Islam.
I’m not going to convert you, and if you’re going to be a Muslim, you need to do the same for me.
The man responds: Yes.
The two women, wearing white robes and black head scarves, are seen on a screen in a crowded courtroom.
Burchman, who represented the man, said: This is the worst, most offensive, most dangerous video I have ever seen.
This person has the right under the First Amendment to be free to do what he wants.
He has the legal right to publish what he sees as blasphemous material.
I would say the First and Fourteenth Amendments are both very clear in that regard.
The First Amendment says that you may not, for example, publish the words “Allah is the only god”.
The Fourteenth Amendment says: All persons have the equal right to freedom of speech.
This freedom of expression does not mean that we’re going after people who are making statements about a religion that is the antithesis of that religion.
The case is now before a judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, which covers the southern part of the state.
The ACLU of Virginia said the video had the potential to incite violence and that the law firm should have intervened earlier.
“What is particularly disturbing about the video is that the accused is a law student and an aspiring lawyer,” said Laura Mixon, the ACLU’s director of public policy and litigation.
“He’s the first law student in Virginia history to be arrested for advocating for violence against the prophet.”
“What is especially disturbing about this video is the accused,” said ACLU of VA public policy director Laura Mignon.
“The accused is the lawyer.
He’s the law student who was going to become a lawyer.”
The ACLU said the law firms Facebook post showed the “lack of any factual basis for the claims that the video depicts.”
The law firm said the complaint had been filed with the Virginia Attorney General’s office and is still under review.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.