(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/18/09) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) has canceled a scheduled appearance at an “anti-Islam” conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing think tank headed by Daniel Pipes, who is regarded by many Muslims as one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes.
CAIR reports that Specter, who was to give the opening address at the conference, cited a “scheduling conflict” for his decision to withdraw from the event. As late as today, media schedules listed Specter as a speaker at the conference.
The false premise of the conference, called “Libel Lawfare: Silencing Criticism of Radical Islam,” is that American Muslims are involved in a concerted effort to suppress free speech by misusing the American legal system.
SEE: Specter Embraces Pipes’ Islamophobia (Tikum Olam)
SEE ALSO: Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter to Speak at ‘Anti-Islamist’ Conference
Last week, CAIR’s Pennsylvania chapter launched an online petition drive to allow constituents to express concerns about Sen. Specter’s participation in the conference.
“We applaud Senator Specter’s decision to withdraw from this inaccurate, inflammatory and agenda-driven conference,” said CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Justin Peyton. “We strongly support free speech and other First Amendment rights, but believe the senator’s appearance at this event would have legitimized views not shared by the majority of Pennsylvanians of all faiths.”
Peyton said conference host and speaker Daniel Pipes has stated that the views of far-right French racist Jean-Marie Le Pen “represent an important outlook in the national debate over immigration and Islam” and that he supports racial and religious profiling of Muslims and Arabs. In December 2004, Pipes wrote on his website that he supports the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
Frank Gaffney, one of the event’s other speakers, is linked to an anti-Islam group that has advocated prison terms in the U.S. for “adherence to Islam” and that questioned whether women and African-Americans should be allowed to vote. Gaffney has also claimed that the use of Islamic finance in America is a form of treason.
Other conference participants include Joe Kaufman, a Florida anti-Muslim extremist with a long history of seeking to marginalize and disenfranchise the American Muslim community and its institutions. In 2006, Kaufman joined forces with an anti-Islam preacher in Florida to block the expansion of a mosque in Boca Raton. “This mosque should not exist on American shores,” said Kaufman. (St. Petersburg Times, 7/14/06)
Kaufman has in the past promoted the views of the terrorist organizations Kach and Kahane Chai and praised the Kahane terror group and its founder Mier Kahane on a forum of the radical Jewish Defense League in Florida.
SEE: “A Kahane Legacy Lost” by Joe Kaufman
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: 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