(ATLANTA, GA - 12/29/2017) The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today responded to an anti-Muslim smear against the 23rd annual southeast convention hosted by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Muslim American Society (MAS).
In a Dec. 28th letter to the editor published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mr. David Swindle of the hate site Islamist Watch attacked the convention with common Islamophobic claims, comparing its American Muslim organizers to white supremacists, and accusing the organizers of ties to the Taliban, among other false and bigoted claims.
In response, CAIR Georgia submitted the following letter to the AJC:
Letter To The Editor
Dec. 29th, 2017
Over the weekend of Dec. 23rd, many Georgia Muslims gathered at an Atlanta hotel for a convention titled, "Quest for True Success: Lessons from Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, Upon Them Be Peace."
During the 23rd annual event, which was hosted by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and Muslim American Society (MAS), participants dined on international cuisine, played games, and attended lectures about everything from faith to social justice to civic engagement. Community leaders, including a U.S. congressman, spoke at the event. So did prominent American Muslim doctors, civil rights attorneys, and imams.
If you think this convention sounds like a nice holiday event, one person thinks you're wrong. On Dec. 28th, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a letter to the editor written by Mr. David Swindle of the website "Islamist Watch."
Playing a game of guilt by (fictional) association, and mixing half-truths with outright lies, Mr. Swindle compared the convention organizers to "white supremacists," falsely accused them of "links" to Hamas and the Taliban, and criticized the Atlanta hotel for hosting the convention.
Mr. Swindle's lies were no surprise, for anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists live in a hateful fantasy world in which American Muslims who dare to gather for a weekend of fun must actually be terrorist sympathizers in disguise.
In this way, today's anti-Muslim bigots resemble the anti-Semites and anti-Catholic extremists who spent the 20th century accusing our nation's Jewish and Catholic communities of subversion, foreign loyalties, and undermining American values.
Just as Mr. Swindle is free to express such bigotry against American Muslims, we are free to gather for a weekend of faith and fun. As we do so, we thank God for the fact that people like Mr. Swindle control webpages, not hotel chains.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell is a civil rights attorney who serves as executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Georgia).