Muslim civil rights group decries GOP's pattern of hosting speakers who bash Islam
(PEMBROKE PINES, FL, 10/16/2013) — The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on Republican leaders in that state to drop anti-Muslim speakers Pamela Geller and Tom Trento, who are scheduled to appear Thursday at a “hate fest” hosted by GOP groups at a middle school in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
CAIR-FL is urging the event's sponsors, the Davie/Cooper City Republican ClubÂ and the Southwest Broward Republican Organization, to disassociate their party from the anti-Muslim bigotry routinely espoused by the speakers.Â Â Â Â Â Â
CAIR's executive director in South Florida, Nezar Hamze, said in a statement:
“By hosting another anti-Islam hate fest, it seems the Republican Party hasn't learned the lesson of the last election cycle when their hero Allen West lost to Congressman Patrick Murphy. In Broward County,Â minorities are now the majority, and hate-based campaigns do not work.Â Bigotry and intolerance must not be tolerated in any shape or form. Events like these show residents of Broward County what GOP hate really looks like. We call on the Florida GOP and all Floridians to repudiate Islamophobia.”
As a Muslim and registered Republican, Hamze in 2012 attempted to join the County's GOP Executive Committee, but was resoundingly rejected simplyÂ becauseÂ of his faith.Â
SEE: The Elephant in the Room (The Daily Show)
SEE:Â CAIR-MN Asks GOP to Repudiate Michele Bachmann's Anti-Mosque RemarksÂ Â Â
Hamze urged GOP leaders to repudiate the type of anti-Muslim hate that is often associated with the Republican Party, and condemns the pattern of repeated GOP-organized events featuring anti-Muslim speakers.
Recent events promoting anti-Muslim speakers organized by Florida GOP groups include those inÂ St. John's County and at the Florida Tea Party Convention, where Pam Geller was the keynote speaker.Â
“ModerateÂ RepublicansÂ have the power to curb these very extreme fringes of their party,”Â said CAIR-FL Communications Director Samantha Bowden. “When moderates in the Pinellas County GOP heard that an Islam-bashing speaker from ACT! for America was going to speak to their County meeting, they organized to have it canceled. It's that type ofÂ standing up for reason and moderation that we seek from GOP leaders. Their voices can help end the anti-Muslim bigotry organized by their fellow party organizations.”
Background on Geller and Trento:Â
Pamela Geller's organizations, Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), have been designated as hate groups by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Along with condemnation by the ADL and SPLC, Geller's organization was the subject of a CAIR “Islamophobe profile” documenting the individuals and organizations involved in spreading anti-Muslim bias in the United States. She is also named in CAIR's recent “Legislating Fear” report as part of the “inner core” of individuals and groups promoting Islamophobia in America.
Geller has bragged online that she uses a Quran, Islam's holy text, as a doorstop and posted a video on her personal website that claims Muslims have sex with goats. Her hate blog was cited by Anders Breivik, the terrorist who went on a killing spree in Norway.
She has claimed that “Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam” and that Islam “mandates” lies and deception. She has also posted images on her blog that include a fake photograph of then Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan in a Nazi uniform, another fake image of President Obama urinating on an American flag, and drawings purporting to depict Islam's Prophet Muhammad as a pig.
Another image posted by Geller, headlined “Piss Be Upon Him,” showed one of the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad covered in urine. (“Piss Be Upon Him” is designed to mock the traditional phrase “Peace Be Upon Him” that Muslims use when mentioning any prophet of God, including Abraham and Jesus.)
Tom Trento recently took over a public event marking the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks and spewed Islamophobic rhetoric in the presence of law enforcement authorities, public officials and schoolchildren.
He told the audience: “I'm not talking about radical Islam or moderate Islam. I'm talking about all Islam. Their goal is to get every single one of us to convert to Islam. And they won't stop until we do.”
SEE: Florida 9/11 Memorial Turns Into Anti-Islam Hate Fest (Herald Tribune)
Another speaker at the October 17 event, “Wild Bill for America,” will discuss “the dangers this religion presents.”Â
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-South Florida Executive Director Nezar Hamze, 954-673-9459, email@example.com; CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly, 813-541-4321, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com