CAIR told that anti-Islamist activist presentation at high school will not ‘violate policies prohibiting disparagement of any religion’
Founded by Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese immigrant, ACT! for America describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to give Americans concerned about national security, terrorism, and the threat of radical Islam, a powerful, organized, informed and mobilized voice.”
Gabriel is scheduled to speak at Little Falls Community High School on July 29, 2013 in an event sponsored by the Central Minnesota Tea Party, a group that describes itself as “non-partisan independent thinkers working to restore our Republic. We are pro-family, pro-God, pro-American and pro-Constitution. One thing is certain. You won’t see a Tea Party member desecrating the American flag or engaging in hooliganism. Our core values are fiscal responsibility, limited federal government, personal responsibility, private property rights, free markets, and national sovereignty. We are opposed to the New World Order, social engineering in our schools, UN involvement in our government, and progressive, socialist, and entitlement legislation.”
According to the Minnesota chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), the school district gave CAIR-MN a statement claiming that the Tea Party group has “signed off in writing” to a school district official that Gabriel’s appearance “will not violate policies prohibiting harassment or disparagement of any religion.” CAIR-MN is asking for a clarification.
“Little Falls High School would not, and should not allow a racist or an anti-Semitic speaker to use its facilities. School and district officials should apply the same standard to an anti-Muslim speaker. While Ms. Gabriel has the right to express her views, her anti-Muslim hate should not be given a legitimizing platform such as a school facility,” CAIR said in a press release. “We welcome the assurance that this extremist anti-Muslim speaker will adhere to district policies prohibiting harassment and religious disparagement, but we need to know what actions will be taken if the policies are violated,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya.
In the fall of 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center noted:
During a private legislative briefing in the basement of the Capitol, congressmen — many of them rising stars in the Tea Party movement where Gabriel has made many inroads — spoke freely about the danger supposedly posed by Muslims. “This jihadist, Islamist, terrorist ideology, it is more dangerous than the Nazi ideology,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told about 250 ACT members who attended. “As evil as the Nazis were, they wanted to live.”
ACT defends itself against charges of broad-brush hatred of Muslims by claiming to promote the efforts of “reformist” Muslims such as Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian author who opposes Islamic fundamentalism. In 2009, Hamid wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling on Islam to prove its peacefulness. The same year, in a column written for The Washington Examiner, Hamid was one of the first to spread the groundless fear of Shariah law. “Concessions to Islamic Shariah law can serve as a provocation to radical Islam, as it gives the radicals the impression that the West should bow to their Islamic laws.”
If that’s the work ACT endorses as proof of its moderate views, it seems hard to disagree with the conclusion of a March 2011 New York Times profile of Gabriel: “She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.”
Saroya said CAIR-MN will monitor the event and will consider filing a federal complaint against the school district if the policies are violated.