[IMPORTANT NOTE: Within a few hours of this action alert, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel withdrew their permission for the event featuring Robert Spencer to be held at their offices. This alert is left as a record only; there is no longer any need to contact Kramer Levin. Thank you to all those who took action and helped bring this issue to their attention.]
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/29/2012) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today expressed concern that a prominent New York law firm is scheduled to host Robert Spencer, the leader of one of the nation’s most extreme anti-Islam hate groups.
On April 18, Spencer will give a talk titled “Did Muhammad Exist?” at the law offices of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Kramer Levin) in New York City. The event will promote Spencer’s claim that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad may never have existed.
[ACTION REQUESTED: Send POLITE comments to Kramer Levin’s Director of Diversity Lauren Tapper. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org COPY TO: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com ]
“If Kramer Levin is determined to host the leader of an anti-Islam hate group, the least they could do is invite a credible representative of the New York Muslim community to balance Robert Spencer’s extremist views,” said Zead Ramadan, board president of CAIR’s New York chapter.
Ramadan said the firm’s hosting of an anti-Islam extremist is in apparent opposition to its policy on diversity, which cites the “imperative that we maintain an environment where people from diverse backgrounds can flourish, both as lawyers and as individuals.”
“One can only imagine how a Muslim attorney employed by Kramer Levin would feel about Spencer’s appearance and its negative impact on the work environment,” said Ramadan.
“Fear, Inc.,” a recent report by the Center for American Progress noted 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. (NOTE: 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Board President Zead Ramadan, 212-882-1520; CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick, 212-870-2002, or 203-206-6883, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org