CAIR Asks GOP to Repudiate Tenn. Event Honoring Islam-Hater

May 12, 2011, 12:48 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

Notorious Islamophobe Geert Wilders to be honored at Republican luncheon

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on state and national GOP leaders to repudiate a Tennessee event at which party officials will honor one of the world's leading Islam-haters, extremist Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

A luncheon in Wilders' honor will reportedly be held today at Williamson County Republican Party headquarters in Franklin, Tenn. Wilders is in Tennessee at the invitation of a group headed by former congressional candidate Lou Ann Zelenik, who once claimed that the construction of a new mosque would pose a threat to that state's "moral and political foundation."

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Wilders claims that "Islam is not a religion" and "the right to religious freedom should not apply to Islam." When Wilders spoke in Florida, that state's office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned his "message of hate against Islam as inflammatory, divisive and antithetical to American democratic ideals." Wilders is also notorious for campaigning to ban the Quran, Muslim headscarves and Islamic schools in the Netherlands.

"It is time for mainstream leaders in Tennessee to stem the anti-Muslim tide that is emerging in their state," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Hatred directed toward a minority should never be given a chance to go mainstream."

He pointed to several indicators currently raising reasonable concerns about tolerance in Tennessee. In 2010, anti-Muslim incidents –- including apparently bias-motivated arson -- occurred at mosques in Nashville, Brentwood, Antioch, Mufreesboro, and Knoxville.

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Also in 2010, the Department of Justice was compelled to argue the basic premise that Islam is a religion in a lawsuit targeting construction of a mosque in that state.

Hooper added that legislation recently proposed in the Tennessee legislature would have essentially made it illegal to be a practicing Muslim.

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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations