Cruz, Jindal, Santorum already confirmed to attend event featuring appearance by anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/20/15) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), Gov. Scott Walker (WI), former governor Mike Huckabee (AR), former governor Rick Perry (TX), Dr. Ben Carson, and Donald Trump to decline their invitations to a â€œnational security forumâ€ taking place this weekend in New Hampshire sponsored by an anti-Muslim hate group and featuring conspiracy theorist John Guandolo, who claims the CIA director is a â€œsecret Muslim.â€
The New Hampshire event is co-hosted by Frank Gaffneyâ€™s Center for Security Policy, which is part of the â€œinner coreâ€ of Americaâ€™s Islamophobia network. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that tracks hate groups in America, named Gaffney as part of the nation's “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”
While CAIR is also urging presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) and former senator Rick Santorum (PA) to cancel their scheduled appearances at the hate group-backed summit, the civil rights group said those candidates all have a well-documented track record of seeking the endorsement of anti-Muslim hate groups or of making disparaging statements about Islam and Muslims, and are therefore likely to attend. Â
â€œWe are seeing the attempted mainstreaming of anti-Muslim hate and bigotry in the 2016 Republican presidential primary by Islamophobic hate groups and by the desperate candidates who seek their endorsement,â€ said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. â€œ We are calling on all serious Republican candidates who believe they can unite the nation to decline invitations from hate groups that seek racial, religious and social division.â€
He noted that Republican presidential candidates who do attend the hate group-backed forum will be sharing center stage with John Guandolo, a disgraced former FBI agent who regularly attacks the U.S. government,Â claimsÂ that the director of the CIA is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims â€œdo not have a First Amendment right to do anything.â€
Backgrounder on Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy
Frank Gaffneyâ€™s paranoia regarding Muslims has generated criticism from a multiplicity of sources.
The FBI said a Center for Security Policy report is based on â€œoutdated informationâ€ and â€œoverstatedâ€ any threat Muslim observances pose to America.
Gaffney is a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
He has questioned â€œwhether Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States,â€ claimed the Missile Defense Agency logo is part of a â€œworrying pattern of official U.S. submission to Islam,â€ claimed an aide to Hillary Clinton was a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative, and was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit seeking to block construction of a Tennessee mosque. He has also promoted the false belief that President Obama is a Muslim.
His staff attorney, David Yerushalmi, has advocated outlawing the practice of Islam in America and is the key promoter of anti-Islam bills in state legislatures nationwide.
CAIR details Gaffneyâ€™s and the Center for Security Policyâ€™s role in Americaâ€™s Islamophobia network in its report, â€œLegislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States.â€
Â David Keene, former president of the National Rifle Association, said Gaffney is â€œtiresomely obsessedâ€ with his â€œweird beliefâ€ that anyone who does not agree with him is a dupe of Americaâ€™s enemies.
Frank Gaffneyâ€™s conspiracy theories regarding Muslim infiltration of all aspects of American life are so overblown that he was banned from attending theÂ Conservative Political Action ConferenceÂ in 2011 after accusing its top leadership of being infiltrated by Islamists.
Gaffney was a key witness for the plaintiffs in a controversial lawsuit against a mosque being built in Tennessee, where he promoted the notion that mosques want to â€œdestroy western civilization from within.â€
Backgrounder on John Guandolo
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes John Guandolo as “a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims 'do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.'”
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: John Guandolo
Virginiaâ€™s Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy rescinded its earlier approval of in-service training credits for state law enforcement scheduled to attend a training Guandolo was conducting in Culpeper, Va., after being made aware of his anti-Islam rhetoric.
A sheriff in Kansas decided not to partner with a citizens group sponsoring a Guandolo training after being informed of his conspiracy theories. When a journalist at Kansasâ€™ Wichita Eagle covered the controversy, Guandolo accused the reporter of material support of terrorism.
A number of Arizona police departments decided not to send officers to one of Guandoloâ€™s trainings.
Guandolo left the FBI shortly after reports surfaced that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a key witness in a corruption trial targeting a member of Congress.
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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