CAIR Blocks Discussion of Islam – But Only Temporarily
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Efforts by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to squash a lecture by writer Robert Spencer have been thwarted.
Spencer originally planned to speak April 18 at the New York law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel about his forthcoming book, Did Muhammad Exist? The talk was sponsored by the Middle East Forum (MEF), headed by Daniel Pipes.
CAIR issued an action alert March 29 calling on the firm to rescind its invitation, claiming the event would promote "Spencer's claim that Islam's Prophet Muhammad may never have existed." Spencer's book is based on his review of the 130-year scholarly tradition that raises fundamental questions about early Islamic history, including the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.
Kramer Levin yielded to CAIR and rescinded Spencer's invitation. "In this instance, we were not aware of the controversy surrounding the speaker at the April 18th event," wrote firm Executive Director Nicholas J. Tortorella. "Now having been alerted to the situation, we have withdrawn permission for the event to take place at our offices."
CAIR issued a statement applauding the move. But that victory satisfaction is likely to be short lived, as the Middle East Forum on Thursday issued a second invitation for Spencer's talk. It takes place April 24 at a location in mid-town Manhattan not made public in advance, but provided only to participants.
"The serious and sober discussion of Islam stands at the heart of the Middle East Forum's mission," Pipes said. "Spencer has something important to say; how could we but reschedule his talk? I hope CAIR listens to his talk and learns from it when it is made public on www.MEForum.org."
The Forum's action reminds us that not all organizations are willing to surrender to Islamist intimidation. Bravo to it.
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