A Florida-based group called Americans Against Hate plans to protest a Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Over Texas later this month because it says the Islamic organization sponsoring the event supports terrorism.
Local Muslims called the accusation a lie.
“They have an agenda and they have a focus, and that is to absolutely tear down any Muslim organization that has any level of promise in America,” said Khalil Meek of Plano, president of the Muslim Legal Fund of America. “I’m not surprised they’re doing it, and I don’t even want to talk about them because the more hype they get, the more voice they get. I’d rather just ignore them and pray they grow up and learn how to become responsible people.”
The demonstration may be easy to ignore – and miss. Fewer than 50 people have turned out for other protests, according to the group’s chairman, Joe Kaufman.
He said education, not turnout, is what’s important.
“We believe this organization is a threat to the city and a threat to the United States because of its ties to overseas terrorism, because of their financing of overseas terrorism,” he said.
Mr. Kaufman says the Islamic Circle of North America was founded three decades ago as an American arm of the terrorist group Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan and funnels money to Hamas.
Mohammad Barney, president of the Dallas chapter of ICNA, said the accusations are troubling and untrue. According to its Web site, ICNA supports Islamic culture and education while promoting justice and understanding.
“It’s disturbing that they are writing false statements like that,” said Mr. Barney. “People have the right to say whatever they want, but that doesn’t make it true.”
The Anti-Defamation League – a pro-Jewish group – seems to agree. ICNA is not listed as a threat on its Web site.
“We don’t involve ourselves in that kind of activity,” said Mark Briskman, regional director of the league, who said his group would not participate in the protest. “He made a lot of claims … without clear documentation of those claims. His statements are problematic.”
A spokesman for the Dallas FBI office would not comment, but the former director of the local office said agents weigh accusations carefully.
“Anybody in today’s world can make any kind of allegation; they can throw anything out there and hope it sticks,” said Danny Defenbaugh, who led the Dallas office from 1998 to 2002. “But if somebody makes allegations and can’t provide any substantive evidence, the FBI is not going to waste its time. Why should they?” (MORE)