CAIR Good News Alert:
NY Law Firm Drops Anti-Islam Speaker Robert Spencer
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/29/2012) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today thanked a prominent New York law firm for its decision to cancel an event featuring Robert Spencer, the leader of one of the nation’s most extreme anti-Islam hate groups.
Earlier today, CAIR expressed concerns about the April 18 event at the law offices of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Kramer Levin) in New York City.
The event, sponsored by the right-wing Middle East Forum (MEF), would have promoted Spencer’s claim that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad may never have existed. MEF is headed by Daniel Pipes, who is viewed by many Muslims as one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes.
In a statement sent to CAIR, Kramer Levin Executive Director Nicholas J. Tortorella wrote:
“From time to time we receive requests from not for profit or community organizations to use our conference rooms for meetings or other events. While we permit our facilities to be used occasionally for these purposes, Kramer Levin can take no responsibility for the content of these events and in no way endorses any opinions that may be expressed during them. In this instance, we were not aware of the controversy surrounding the speaker at the April 18th event. Now having been alerted to the situation, we have withdrawn permission for the event to take place at our offices.”
“We thank Kramer Levin for taking swift and appropriate action to disassociate itself from Robert Spencer’s extremist views,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The firm’s actions demonstrate a commitment to religious tolerance and diversity.”
In 2010, Kramer Levin published an “Employment Law Update” with a section on “Accommodating Muslim Employees.” That publication stated in part: “Employers must ensure that Muslim employees are protected from discrimination and are provided with reasonable accommodations for their religious practices.”
Hooper said “Fear, Inc.,” a recent report by the Center for American Progress, revealed that “[Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik] cited Robert Spencer, one of the anti-Muslim misinformation scholars we profile in this report, and his blog, Jihad Watch, 162 times in his manifesto.”
Spencer is co-founder of Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Spencer’s “Jihad Watch” organization is also listed as a hate group by the SPLC.
The SPLC named Spencer as part of the nation’s “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle.”
SIOA, which led the Islamophobic challenge to New York’s Park51 Islamic Community Center, is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques on that continent. Stop the Islamization of Europe, SIOA’s sister organization, “considers Islamophobia to be the height of common sense.”
The independent national media watch group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) identified Spencer as one of “Islamophobia’s Dirty Dozen” who systematically “spread fear, bigotry, and misinformation.”
In its report, FAIR said, “By selectively ignoring inconvenient Islamic texts and commentaries, Spencer concludes that Islam is innately extremist and violent.”
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.
— END —
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-NY Board President Zead Ramadan, 212-882-1520; CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick, 212-870-2002, or 203-206-6883, email: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email: firstname.lastname@example.org