(Washington, DC, 3/13/2015) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today expressed concern that a number of potential GOP presidential hopefuls are scheduled to participate in an anti-Muslim summit in South Carolina this weekend.
According to the event website, four potential presidential candidates are expected to attend: Ambassador John Bolton, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).
One of the event's main sponsors is Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, a key group in the U.S. Islamophobia network. Gaffney's conspiracy theories regarding Muslim infiltration of all aspects of American life are so overblown that he was banned from attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 after accusing its top leadership of being infiltrated by Islamists.
David Keene, former president of the National Rifle Association, said Gaffney is “tiresomely obsessed” with his “weird belief” that anyone who does not agree with him is a dupe of America's enemies.
Gaffney once promoted a conspiracy theory that a crescent shape, sometimes seen as a symbol of Islam, in a U.S. military logo was a sign of an impending Muslim takeover of the United States. Gaffney has also advocated renewing the House Un-American Activities Committee, a discredited McCarthy-era congressional committee.
Another Center for Security Policy leader, David Yerushalmi, is notable for writing, “There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.”
The summit also features former Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin. Boykin has said that ” should not be protected under the First Amendment,” that there should be “no mosques in America,” that Islam is a “totalitarian way of life,” and that there can be no interfaith dialogue or cooperation between Muslims and Christians.
Another event speaker, disgraced former FBI agent John Guandolo, refers to America's mosques and Islamic centers as “barracks” and falsely claims “it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians.”
“Our country doesn't benefit when our political leaders espouse prejudiced views,” said Corey Saylor, director of CAIR's department to monitor and combat Islamophobia. “For candidates to appear with and legitimize bigots is, at best, un-presidential.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has an already established relationship with Gaffney, having brought him as a witness to a 2013 congressional hearing.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently repeated the now-discredited and universally mocked claim that Muslims in Europe have set up so-called “no-go zones” where people of other faiths and police are not allowed to enter.
In a nationally televised debate in 2012 featuring GOP presidential nominee contenders, Santorum defended ethnic and religious profiling. After being asked who, specifically, he would like to have profiled he answered, “Obviously Muslims would be someone you'd look at, absolutely.” In January 2012, Santorum implied that equality was solely a Christian concept, drawing responses from Sikh, Hindu and Muslim groups. “Where do you think the concept of equality comes from?” Santorum said. “It doesn't come from Islam. It doesn't come from the East and Eastern religions. It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialog, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, email@example.com; CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, email@example.com