(TAMPA, FL, 2/27/14) — The Florida office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Fla., to withdraw a speaking invitation to University of Central Florida Professor JonathanMatusitz, who the civil rights organization says is a known anti-Muslim extremist who promotes blanket fear and hatred of an entire religious minority.
CAIR-FL: Islamic group asks Embry-Riddle to cancel event featuring UCF Professor Jonathan Matusitz (Orlando Sentinel)
CAIR-FL also released a video in which Matusitzsays:
- “Coexistence with Islam is not possible.”
- “My colleagues say Islam is a religion of peace. I say it's a religion of pieces — piece of body here, piece of body there.”
- “When I see those 'coexist' bumper stickers on cars, I laugh because I think it's ridiculous.”
- “Anybody with a fraction of a brain should be afraid of Islam because it's a dangerous doctrine.”
In its letter to Embry-Riddle University President Dr. John P. Johnson, CAIR-FL wrote in part:
“CAIR and the American Muslim community strongly support freedom of speech. We also understand that freedom of speech does not obligate any institution to provide a platform to honor those who advocate hate. Dr. Matusitz has the right to spew his views in a private venue, but our tax dollars shouldn't go to promote and legitimize a known bigot and Islamophobe.
Matusitz certainly has the right to express his views; we just want to make sure that Embry-Riddle's Safety & Culture statement and mission defined in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion are honored, as Embry-Riddle does have an active Muslim Students Association and many international students from the Middle East whose safety, well-being, and feeling of belonging might be jeopardized by an inciting talk by Dr. Matusitz. Such a talk would also destroy any sort of credibility of religious tolerance at the university.”
CAIR-FL has challenged Matusitz's anti-Muslim bigotry on a number of occasions.
Last year, Pinellas Country GOP leadership cancelled a speaking event with Matusitz after learning of his toxic Islamophobic rhetoric. GOP stalwart Chris Latvala stated that Matusitz “bashes an entire religion practiced by many in Pinellas County, including fellow Republicans.”
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-FL Executive Director Hassan Shibly, 813-541-4321, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, email@example.com