This weekend, a group called the Maryland Conservative Action Network is hosting a conference for Republicans and right-wing causes. One of the headline speakers is Frank Gaffney, a notorious hate preacher behind many of the anti-Muslim conspiracies now popular in some parts of the country. As Center for American Progress’s “Fear, Inc.” report revealed, well-funded Islamophobes like Gaffney have penetrated the conservative movement and the larger political discourse largely by taking a lead role in Republican groups like the one hosting him this Saturday.
Although Gaffney has enjoyed an uninterrupted platform on major media outlets, this conference, however, might be different. Former Maryland state Del. Saqib Ali (D) and activists from a number of civil rights groups in Maryland have organized a rally outside the conference. “Unfortunately, instead of inviting legitimate conservative speakers, MDCAN has instead chosen speakers who are well-known conspiracy theorists, McCarthyites, racists and anti-Muslim fanatics,” Ali wrote in a letter protesting the event.
“This is standard operating procedure for CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood front groups,” Gaffney told TheDC in a discussion about the letter. “They are trying to impose what are known as Shariah blasphemy laws, whereby anyone who says anything critical about Islam, no matter how true, is to be silenced. It is actually a capital offense.”
In an interview with ThinkProgress, Ali laughed off Gaffney’s accusations. “I can promise him that neither I nor anyone else is trying to kill him,” said Ali. “However we do seek to get him some urgent psychological care.” Ali added, “The voices in his head seem to be getting a tad unruly.”
Ali is also concerned that several of the major speakers have a history of bigotry. “At this conference, one of the speakers, Robert Stacy McCain has repeatedly referred to gay people as ‘Faggots’ and Mexicans as ‘Beaners,'” Ali notes. “That is highly offensive to me.”