County GOP executive committee member claims 'Islam is NOT a religion'
TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on state and national Republican Party leaders to repudiate bigoted comments by a GOP official in that state who claimed in an email that "Islam is NOT a religion."
In that email sent this morning to CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly, Hillsborough County Republican Party Executive Committee Member Scott D. Barrish wrote in part:
[NOTE: Barrish's email was signed in his official capacity with the county Republican Party.]
"Islam is NOT a religion, but rather a theocracy. It uses elements of religion to bind a spiritual, cultural and system of law elements. It is NOT a pluralistic ideology for it seeks complete domination; to say otherwise is a complete and utter lie. It is totalitarian and littered with human rights violations. Your efforts in espousing Islam in America and Florida will not succeed. . .This is us vs. you."
"It is imperative that Republican Party leaders at the state and national levels repudiate these bigoted comments and take concrete steps to challenge the growing perception that the GOP is not a big tent party that welcomes Muslims," said Shibly.
SEE: Muslim Activist Challenges Fla. Republican's Views (NPR)
Barrish apparently sent the email in response to a letter to the editor, headlined "U.S. Muslims are not the enemy," written by Shibly and published today in the St. Petersburg Times.
In his letter, Shibly was critical of the Hernando County Republican Party for hosting a dinner with Rep. Allen West (R-FL) and former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, two politicians who he said misdirect their political efforts using the "disturbing smokescreen" of "the hysteria-myth that Islam is the enemy and we must be at war with Islam."
Shibly also wrote: "American Muslims are not the enemy, nor is our faith. We are proud and loyal Americans. . .We cannot let religious extremists — of any faith — guide our political discourse as Americans. I call on Republican leadership to remind their party members that they are also representatives of their Muslim constituents and that there is no room for such bigoted discourse in a civilized and free society."
SEE: U.S. Muslims are Not the Enemy (St. Petersburg Times)
Last week, CAIR-FL thanked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Governor Rick Scott for declining to speak at the upcoming Florida Tea Party convention, which features a presentation by anti-Islam extremist Pamela Geller and another Islamophobe.
CAIR-FL Thanks Rubio, Scott for Avoiding Event with Hate Group Leader
Rubio and Scott are listed as "confirmed speakers" at the convention, but representatives of their respective offices told CAIR-FL that the event is not on the senator's nor the governor's official schedule.
SEE: Fla. Tea Party Convention to Feature Anti-Muslim Extremist
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-South Florida Executive Director Nezar Hamze, 954-673-9459 E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly, 813-541-4321, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: [email protected]
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations