A coalition of right-wing groups are up in arms over a presentation made last fall at Tampa’s Steinbrenner High School by Hassan Shibly of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (known as CAIR).
Shibly says the presentation in question was one of many he has made in an effort to teach students about tolerance and clear up common misconceptions about the Muslim faith.
United Conservative Groups, the group behind the outrage, The conservative groups issued a press release with demands for the Hillsborough School District. One of them was to no longer invite CAIR representatives to speak at their school because they claim CAIR is connected to Hamas, a terrorist organization. (See update below).
According to a press release by United Conservative Groups, one of the signers of the letter:
CAIR and their spokesman, such as Hassan Shibly, who regularly advocate for these groups and Sharia Law, are working to subvert American law, loyalty to America, American values, and our American heritage, and they have no place in our public schools.
Allowing CAIR access to our children is tantamount to advocating overturning the Constitution in favor of Sharia Law. This causes our school children to question their loyalty and patriotism.
We are assuming that giving CAIR entre’ into the Hillsborough schools was done without knowledge of who CAIR is. We trust you agree that this organization should not have access to our children, furthermore, that we can no longer tolerate the political correctness or ignorance which has allowed this injustice to be perpetrated on our children.
There are in fact Islamic groups which would be a much better choice to speak to our children, one such group is American Islamist for Democracy (AIFD).
We respectfully request the following actions immediately be taken;
- The School District sever all connections with CAIR and its membership to include Hassan Shibly.
- We request a vetting process be implemented to ensure Islamic groups have no connections or affiliations to Muslim Brotherhood entities listed in Attachment “A” of HLF court documents.
- A list of all schools and classes which CAIR or other Islamic Groups have been allowed to speak to in the Hillsborough School District, be provided to this Coalition.
- We request equal time with each of these classes to give a factual presentation by experts of our choice to speak on similar topics.
- We request that all School Board Members to include the superintendant of Schools attend a briefing on “Islamic Indoctrination in America’s Public Schools” by our experts.
- We request that a presentation on “Islamic Indoctrination in America’s Public Schools” be presented to faculty of each school in the district twice annually.
- We request that factual supplements be prepared in conjunction with our experts and textbook teams, as well as their implementation as soon as possible.
Shibly says these groups are mad about his involvement with students “for the same reasons they are mad about the All-American Muslim TV show.”
“This is all to do with ignorance,” he says.
A group in Florida was behind a recent controversy in which the home improvement chain Lowe’s pulled ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim, a reality show centering on the lives of Muslims living in a Detroit suburb. As The Florida Independent’s Virginia Chamlee reported, the Florida Family Association believed the show was “propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.”
Anti-Islam extremism is rampant in the state of Florida — and CAIR has been the subject of most of the ire. Shibly has long been explaining that CAIR is not connected to terrorist organizations. He says right-wing groups are “attacking Muslims in the name of attacking radicals.”
Richard Swier of The United West, a prominent anti-Islam group based in Florida, and other right-wing groups signed onto the United Conservative demands.
Hat tip: Sunshine State News.
A representative from United Conservative Groups emailed to tell us that the organization is a member of the coalition that sent the letter, not the actual coalition itself. You can read the full letter, and see the list of signatories, here (.pdf).