(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/11/09) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the San Diego Public Library to drop its sponsorship of an upcoming presentation by an extremist anti-Islam group whose founder claims that “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that Islam is the “real enemy” of America.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the August 15 presentation, “Radical Islam: Its Components and Root Causes,” will be offered by a representative of Act! For America. A library news release claims the presenter will show that followers of “radical Islam” are a “small, vocal faction not to be confused with the Islam practiced by more than one billion people world-wide.”
But in a letter to San Diego Public Library Director Deborah Barrow, CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida said that Act! For America is best known for sweeping condemnations of Islam and attempts to demonize mainstream Muslims.
When asked about the controversy over the presentation, ACT! for America’s national field director claimed Islam has been a “very violent geopolitical movement” throughout history.
SEE: Library Lecture Drawing Protest (Union-Tribune)
“No library would – or should – sponsor a lecture by an anti-Semitic, racist or neo-Nazi speaker,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “It is unconscionable that a representative of a group that promotes a similar form of bigotry would be so honored.”
Hooper said anti-Muslim bigotry like that advanced by ACT! for America can lead to the types of attacks reported recently by African Muslims in New York.
SEE: African Muslims in the Bronx Speak Out Against Hate Crimes
In his letter to the library, Hopida wrote:
“Because we are strong defenders of the First Amendment right to free speech, even the bigoted speech offered by groups such as Act! for America, we do not ask that the presentation be canceled.
“Instead, we respectfully request that the San Diego Public Library withdraw its sponsorship of the event so that local taxpayers are not made unwittingly complicit in the promotion of hatred and bigotry. We also ask that a representative from the San Diego Muslim community be permitted to offer accurate and balanced information about Islam to those attending the event.”
Hopida’s letter also outlined Act! for America’s history of portraying mainstream Islam and all Muslims as threats to America and the world. He wrote:
“Act! for America’s founder Brigitte Gabriel told the Australian Jewish News: ‘Every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim.’ She also claimed that ‘Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word…it’s the vehicle for Islam…Islam is the problem.’
“When asked whether Americans should ‘resist Muslims who want to seek political office in this nation,’ Gabriel said: ‘Absolutely. If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.’
“Brigitte Gabriel has also stated: ‘America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam.’”
“’She has made it her mission — one might say her crusade — to warn that radical Muslims, a term she defines as all practicing Muslims, are bent on taking over the West…Gabriel believes that Muslims cannot serve loyally in the U.S. military, that interfaith dialogue is ‘nonsense,’ and that the difference between the Arab world and Israel is ‘barbarism versus civilization.’ The Muslim world will not be satisfied until all infidels are converted or eliminated, she has said.’
He also cited inaccurate and inflammatory Act! for America online “educational” materials, which state:
“Muslims have been using propaganda as part of their wars of conquest for almost 1400 years. It is a key strategy to prepare unwilling populations to submit to Islam. One of the most difficult aspects of defending America from Islamist intentions is its multifaceted nature. It is truly a wolf in sheep‘s clothing…
“The Qur‘an and Islamic law clearly state that all Muslims have a moral, religious and legal obligation to wage holy war against all infidels until this 7th century ideology is the only religion on Earth…
“Their mastery of propaganda is based on Islamic law and religious doctrine that state that Muslims have a duty to lie to nonbelievers in order to defeat them and subjugate them to Islam…
“When Muslims make up only a small minority of a nation‘s population, they wage stealth jihad. This approach allows them to infiltrate a country without setting off any alarms. Their goal is to prepare the country for the next stage of jihad. When their population increases enough Muslims start to use ‘offensive warfare,’ such as assassinations to silence critics, bombings and other violence to intimidate enemies and punish perceived slights to their religion.”
Hopida’s letter noted that Act! for America was recently banned from using a Texas library after it violated guidelines of the library’s meeting room usage policy.
To read the entire CAIR-San Diego letter, go here.
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-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida, 619-913-0719 or 858-278-4547, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com