(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 3/5/13) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called for a meeting with church officials in Perham, Minn., after two Muslim exchange students were kicked out of an event for questioning the anti-Islam bigotry of the speaker, Walid Shoebat. Shoebat is a notorious Islamophobe who claims "Islam is the devil."
CAIR-MN is also offering to provide the Assembly of God church leaders with accurate and balanced information about Islam and Muslims and to arrange for a presentation on the faith to church members.
The Muslim students, one from Indonesia and the other from Azerbaijan, say they heard falsehoods and distortions from Shoebat, and when they questioned his bigoted views, they were quickly told to leave.
"We hope the church will help promote mutual understanding and strengthen interfaith relations in our state by meeting with us and then offering an opportunity for its congregation to hear about Islam directly from Muslims," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya.
Saroya noted that Shoebat, who has been exposed by CNN as an anti-Islam fraud, once told a Missouri newspaper that he sees "many parallels between the Antichrist and Islam" and that "Islam is not the religion of God -- Islam is the devil." (Springfield News-Leader, 9/24/07)
Shoebat claims that President Obama is a Muslim. In a YouTube video, Shoebat said, "[I]f Islam is not playing the major role in Antichrist spirit, why do you think the devil wants to appoint somebody connected to Islam in the White House?" He told radio host G. Gordon Liddy, "No one is called Hussein unless he is Muslim. So it is very clear that Barack Hussein Obama is definitely a Muslim."
According to an official who attended a Shoebat lecture at a conference in Las Vegas, the solution he offered for the threat of "militant Muslims" was to "Kill them...including the children."
Shoebat claims to be a former "terrorist," yet the Washington Post noted: "Shoebat. . .says he was recruited by the Palestine Liberation Organization as a teenager. In 1977, he has said, he threw a bomb on the roof of the Bethlehem branch of an Israeli bank. The bank, however, has no record of the incident, and it was never reported by Israeli news outlets."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, [email protected]