A Muslim advocacy group is decrying the U.S. Air Force Academy’s decision to invite three former “terrorists” who the group said slam the religion with “hate-filled” rhetoric.
The D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said one of the speakers, Walid Shoebat, has said that “Islam is the devil.”
Shoebat, along with Kamal Saleem and Zachariah Anani are scheduled to speak Wednesday at the 50th Annual Academy Assembly in Colorado Springs, where the topic of the four-day event is “Dismantling Terrorism.”
Maj. Brett Ashworth, an Air Force Academy spokesman, said the purpose of the event is “to educate future officers and delegates from 50 colleges on the ideology and methodology of terrorists.”
Ashworth said the men are former terrorists and provide valuable insight to the discussion.
But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, said in speaking about terrorism the men also denounce the Muslim faith.
“Islam is the devil? I mean c’mon!” Hooper said. “And these people are going to talk as experts to cadets who may possibly serve in parts of the Muslim world?”
A message left with the academy seeking to interview the three speakers was not immediately returned. E-mails to Shoebat and Saleem were not immediately answered.
Hooper said the three speakers trigger protests to their speaking engagements throughout the country. He said he told Air Force academy officials that inviting the men to speak about terrorism would be like “inviting David Duke to speak about race relations.”