Archive for Town Hall

AAI Community Town Hall Shatters Anti-Muslim Narrative

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by loonwatch

The counter to the anti-Freedom voices:

AAI Community Town Hall Shatters Anti-Muslim Narrative

by Omar Baddar

Yesterday, more than a hundred people gathered at a town hall at the Doubletree Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan to stand in solidarity with the Arab American and American Muslim communities against Islamophobia. The town hall, organized by AAI and local community groups, was held in response to an anti-Muslim conference at the Hyatt in Dearborn, organized by Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and other leading Islamophobes.

Islamophobes try to portray themselves as “the real Americans” defending America from the allegedly foreign presence of Muslims, but it was our community town hall that was attended by many elected officials, including Michigan Congressmen John Conyers, Jr. and Hansen Clarke. Elected officials’ presence at our event reiterated the integrality of the American Muslim community in the U.S. and the fringe nature of those who are pushing America to become otherwise.

The town hall opened with an educational panel that included Fear Inc. co-author Eli Clifton, writer Sarah Posner, and AAI President Jim Zogby. Clifton explained in detail the funding sources that finance the anti-Muslim network, while Posner discussed the influence of Islamophobia on American politics. Zogby shed light on the reasons behind the recent rise in Islamophobia, and gave a broader analysis of its implications on U.S. political culture. AAI Executive Director Maya Berry moderated the discussion.

The educational panel was followed by remarks from local community leaders. Noel Saleh of ACCESS talked about the long history of the Arab American and American Muslim communities as an essential part of the fabric of American society. Dawud Walid of CAIR noted how traditional racism played a significant role in the rise of Islamophobia, including the disputing of President Obama’s faith. Osama Siblani of the Arab American News gave a passionate talk about the inevitable defeat of Islamophobes in America because they are working against American values and against history. Others, including Imam Qazwini of the Islamic Center of America, Suehaila Amen of the Lebanese American Heritage Club, Imad Hamad of ADC-Michigan, Nabih Ayad of the Arab American Civil Rights League, and interfaith stalwarts Rev. Dan Buttry and Victor Begg also offered powerful remarks at the event.

Congressmen Conyers and Clarke offered passionate words of solidarity with the Arab and Muslim communities. Congressman Clarke noted that Islamophobia should not be a “Muslim issue,” but an American one that is combatted vigorously by all Americans. He also urged the community not to only criticize elected officials who engage in anti-Muslim pandering, but to press those who are silent to speak out against Islamophobia. The town hall concluded with a lively Q&A which left everyone in a positive spirit, ready to take on the challenges we face.

Because of our presence in Dearborn to challenge the anti-Muslim narrative, virtually all media coverage accurately described the other event as the anti-Muslim event and ours as the community response to bigotry. As long as our community stands up and speaks out against Islamophobia, and as long as public officials and the broader American community continue to stand with us, the bigots will never build momentum that can disrupt the diversity and tolerance that characterize our society.

After the conclusion of our event, my colleague Omar Tewfik and I tried to attend and cover the anti-Muslim conference, but were denied entry (quite the contrast from our open-to-all event). We’ll be sharing our story very soon, accompanied with video footage and interesting details.

Congresswoman Sue Myrick Distances herself from Dave Gaubatz

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2010 by loonwatch
Sue Myrick wrote the foreward for Muslim MafiaSue Myrick wrote the foreward for Muslim Mafia

After writing the forward for “Muslim Mafia,” which is basically a conspiracy about how Muslims are ‘spying’ on the United States by Paul Sperry and David Gaubatz, Myrick is now attempting to distance herself from Gaubatz.

Constituents Confront GOP Rep. Sue Myrick Over Muslim Bashing at Tense Town Hall

Muslim constituents repeatedly challenged Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) at an emotional town hall meeting in Charlotte Thursday, with Myrick scrambling to distance herself from the Islam-bashing co-author of the book Muslim Mafia, whose foreword was written by the congresswoman herself.

Myrick has had a tense relationship with her district’s Muslim community for many years, but it’s been aggravated recently by her campaign to investigate undercover Muslim intern “spies” on Capitol Hill.

That effort arose from purported revelations in Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that’s Conspiring to Islamize America, written by Paul Sperry and David Gaubatz, with a foreword by Myrick.

But when confronted by some of Gaubatz’s past inflammatory statements — particularly that Islam is a “terminal disease that once spread is hard to destroy” — Myrick said she did not agree, later claiming that he did not even write the book that bears his name.

“The book was written by Paul Sperry, who is very well respected journalist,” Myrick told one questioner, according to audio of the event obtained by TPMmuckraker.

(For the record, Sperry is a WorldNetDaily contributor who once called on America to “force-feed Taliban clerics pork rinds until they give up [Osama bin Laden’s] location.”

“Gaubatz did the investigating for it,” Myrick added. “And, quite frankly, Gaubatz didn’t write a word of the book. And in that sense, it’s kind of a shame his name is on the book because he didn’t write it.”

The book’s cover bears the names of both Gaubatz and Sperry.

And in her own foreword to Muslim Mafia, Myrick wrote: “Former federal investigator and co-author P. David Gaubatz, meanwhile, is a great American who deserves all our gratitude for his heroic service to our country.”

Gaubatz last year called for a “professional and legal backlash” against Muslims in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings, a remark that Myrick declined to denounce at the time.

Here are two clips of Myrick responding to constituents’ questions about Gaubatz (these came about 10 minutes apart). Transcript is below.

Q: My question is, do you stand by Mr. Gaubatz’s statement … that “Islam is a terminal disease that once spread is hard to destory.” Do you stand by the statement?

Myrick: Well — what he says I don’t — that’s not something that I say, no.

Q: Why do you call him a great American?

Myrick: Because of what he did serving our country in the armed forces. You know, that situation with that whole book, and the way they got the information and all, I’ve said it should all be investigated.

Q: I believe that as the veteran eight-term congresswoman that you are, it would have been more fitting if you had repudiated such a book written by David Gaubatz.

Myrick: It was actually written by — let’s get that clear. The book was written by Paul Sperry, who is very well respected journalist. Gaubatz did the investigating for it. And quite frankly, Gaubatz didn’t write a word of the book. and in that sense, it’s kind of a shame his name is on the book because he didn’t write it, Paul Sperry wrote it.