Update January 12th: Although CAIR demonstrated outside Pamela Geller spoke to a standing room only crowd in Annapolis today, here. 270 people got her message.
CAIR is the Council on American Islamic Relations and Maryland has a new chapter that is making headlines in perhaps its first foray into the agitation business by attempting to intimidate elected officials and keep them from speaking at the Maryland Conservative Action Network Conference on Saturday. Their beef is that outspoken defender of free speech, Pamela Geller, will be speaking ( ironically on the topic of defending free speech).
Here is the Maryland Gazette story from yesterday in which Del. Nic Kipke, one of four targeted elected officials on the program says he has no intention of backing out of the program. Kipke will be speaking on Obamacare and how it will affect Maryland.
The new chairman of the Anne Arundel County House delegation said today he will attend a conservative political conference Saturday in Annapolis despite calls from a Muslim advocacy group that described a keynote speaker as a notorious “Islamaphobe.”
Del. Nic Kipke, who was elected chairman on Tuesday, called blogger and author Pamela Geller an outspoken critic of the treatment of women in some Islamic countries.
“I don’t know Ms. Geller personally,” the Pasadena Republican said. “What I do know about her is that she has pointed out gross atrocities that occur in some Muslim countries against women.”
The Maryland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Tuesday calling on Kipke and other public officials to withdraw from the Maryland Conservative Action Network Conference. The Gaithersburg-based group said Geller co-founded an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Former Montgomery County Del. Saqib Ali, government relations director for CAIR-MD, called his former colleague’s defense of Geller “despicable.” He said she is widely know for spreading the “most vile sort of bigotry you could imagine.”
“Everybody knows who Pam Geller is,” he said. “Sure, she criticizes people in foreign countries but her main thrust are Muslims here … She led the effort to block a Mosque in New York. She published a manual on how people can prevent mosques from being built in their neighborhoods.”
Geller responded in her internationally-read and acclaimed blog, Atlas Shrugs, with praise for Kipke, here. Geller refers to CAIR as Hamas-CAIR.
So what is CAIR doing to bully speakers this time?
They have produced an action alert with a draft letter for constituents to send to their elected officials asking the official to back out of the conference. One of the MD CAN speakers that we know of has already received his form letter.
And, when I say “this time,” Saqib Ali ginned up opposition to MD CAN’s last conference in October of 2011. I wrote all about it here. CASA de Maryland joined CAIR in that failed attempt to intimidate speakers as well as urge the DoubleTree Hotel to break their contract.
My argument is, if groups like CASA and CAIR don’t like what people are saying, then they should hold their own conferences, exercise their free speech rights and say what they want to say! With this latest publicity stunt they are only making the point Ms. Geller will make on Saturday—that freedom of speech is under attack in America!
Back to that canned letter at CAIR’s website (hat tip: Jim)
Here it is (directed at Commissioners Blaine Young, Richard Rothschild, Delegates Parrott and Kipke).
To make it easy for the low information “activists,” this is the required text:
On Saturday, January 12th, the Maryland Conservative Action Network (MDCAN) is hosting a day-long conference in Annapolis entitled “Turning the Tides.” The headline speaker at this event is Pamela Geller, one of the nation’s most virulent Islamophobes.
You are one of the few public officials who have chosen to speak at this conference. I believe your appearance with a hate group leader would be a disservice to your constituents and bring disrepute to your office. I respectfully urge you to withdraw from this conference.
The first paragraph of the optional text is this:
Geller’s organization, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which also named Geller as a member of the anti-Muslim inner circle.
Readers of PTPR, so that you know all the facts, please visit this fantastic report by James Simpson writing at the Capital Research Center on the Southern Poverty Law Center. Jim, who will be reporting from MDCAN on Saturday, is a well-known researcher of the structure and tactics of the radical/Communist left.
A new Maryland CAIR!
So back in October 2011 when Ali and his Quaker “friends” demonstrated outside the DoubleTree hotel, there was no longer a CAIR chapter in Maryland. In fact it had been disbanded 5 years earlier when it ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service. I wrote a definitive post here on November 4th 2011 about Ali’s tangled web and the demise of CAIR-MD.
None other than DNC super lawyer, Joseph Sandler (CASA de Maryland’s lawyer too!), wrote a legal defense of CAIR-MD to the IRS! By the way, I have a whole category here at PTPR (40 previous posts on Sandler!).
Bottomline is that CAIR-MD was disbanded; they briefly joined CAIR-Virginia until it too ran afoul of the feds on an immigration scandal, and they both went down for awhile.
Now, thanks to Ali and CAIR, we have CAIR-MD back in business and back in the news!
Here is the news we missed last year—Maryland and Virginia are CAIR’s “missing links!”—from the Muslim Link:
At the iftar fundraiser, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad stressed the need for local activism in Maryland, noting that Maryland and Virginia are the missing links in CAIR’s nationwide chapters.
The new CAIR-MD is launched (The Muslim Link):
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is one of the most widely respected and supported national organizations in the American Muslim community.
But here in the Washington DC metropolitan region where CAIR maintains its national office, the group is part of the local Islamic landscape. For a national office that seeks to focus on strategy, national issues and priorities, and developing platforms for American Muslims, dealing with individual issues of workplace discrimination – though important – can actually make CAIR’s executive office less effective.
Enter CAIR-Maryland, a local CAIR chapter just a short drive away from the national office, but focused on local activism.
This past Ramadan, CAIR-Maryland held an inaugural fundraising iftar at the home of its new president, Maryland physician Mudusar Raza.
A former president of the Islamic Society of Frederick and Vice President of Maryland Muslim Council, Raza is no newcomer to activism or social work. The father of three served as a volunteer field doctor in Pakistan in the aftermath of floods which devastated that country in the summer of 2010, and he was awarded a Congressional Recognition for his work at Frederick Memorial Hospital in 2008.
They admit a former CAIR-MD did go under:
The inauguration is actually a re-start for the Maryland chapter, which first launched in 2002 under the leadership of Seyed Rizwan Mowlana, then ceased operations for about one year, re-starting as CAIR Maryland-Virginia chapter in 2006. After taking some immigration rights cases, that chapter also suspended operations in 2008.
According to Raza, the rebirth of CAIR-Maryland was spearheaded by Zainab Chaudry, a doctor of pharmacy from Columbia, Maryland, in August of this year. Now serving as the Vice-President of CAIR-Maryland, Chaudry “was pretty much was the driving force in terms of the idea and [she was the one] who got everyone together [and] recruited people from the community. She worked diligently to comprise the people [on the board],” said Raza.
So, doctors Raza and Chaudry are launching their education and agitation campaign at speakers who are speaking on various issues (unrelated to Islam) at MD CAN on Saturday. Great way to promote “democracy” and “tolerance” in America—just shut people up!
If you are planning on attending MD CAN on Saturday, you need to register on-line in advance.
Do not count on being able to register at the door!
CAIR publicity stunts like this one only serve to bring more people out and the room at the DoubleTree is now near full capacity.