Save 75% - Only $49.99 for 1 full year! digitalPLUS subscription offer ends 12/1
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Conservatives' indulgence of hate speech is cause for concern

Council on American-Islamic RelationsFreedom of the Press

Columnist Marta Mossburg's column on the Maryland Council on American-Islamic Relations' protest against Pamela Geller as a speaker at the recent Maryland Conservative Action Network conference in Annapolis is factually incorrect ("A controversial speaker's right to be heard," Jan. 16).

As a moderator at the conference, Ms. Mossburg was understandably biased in favor of Ms. Geller's hateful and hurtful views, but she failed to disclose this potential conflict of interest to her readers.

As a civil rights organization, CAIR-MD strongly supports free speech. We aim to exercise our freedom of speech by speaking out against bigotry and hatemongering.

Our organization has not asked for the removal of controversial, inflammatory ads Ms. Geller has sponsored, nor are we trying to "silence" those who post them. Our primary objective is to condemn hate speech — in this case by Ms. Geller, the leader of a designated anti-Muslim hate group — and to shed light on the backlash endured by American Muslims as a result of it.

Contrary to Ms. Mossburg's claim, CAIR is not "rehabbing its image" with the "MyJihad" campaign. The campaign, co-sponsored by a CAIR affiliate, is an effort to clarify the literal meaning of the Arabic word "jihad" — which in English means "to struggle," but which has been hijacked and misinterpreted by Muslim and non-Muslim extremists alike.

Ms. Mossburg mentions in her piece that CAIR was named as "an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorist funding trial of the Holy Land Foundation." What she fails to clarify is that the issue was settled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the U.S. Department of Justice in CAIR's favor in 2011.

CAIR and CAIR-MD unequivocally denounce terrorism and extremism and applaud sincere, legitimate efforts to educate citizens and protect our Constitutional rights and liberties. That is, after all, a core part of our mission. We welcome constructive dialogue.

What we strongly object to are hateful ideologies and rhetoric that incite hatred and fear of a specific group of people, in this case American Muslims and those who resemble them. The fact that Ms. Geller's incendiary, anti-Muslim propaganda is viewed as acceptable mainstream discourse among educated and informed individuals like Ms. Mossburg is cause for great concern.

Zainab Chaudry

The writer is vice president of the Maryland Council on American-Islamic Relations.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts
  • Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
    Related Content
    Council on American-Islamic RelationsFreedom of the Press
    • The Sun prints an attack on free speech

      Organizers of the Maryland Conservative Action Network conference (Turning the Tides 2013) were profoundly disappointed that The Sun ran an attack on our conference and our speakers on the very morning of our conference ("The tide of Islamophobia," Jan. 12).

    • 'Rain tax' not optional
      'Rain tax' not optional

      The recent sub-headline on the editorial regarding the "rain tax" was patently false ("The bogus 'rain tax' repeal," Nov. 23).

    • How can Ehrlich relish suffering of others?
      How can Ehrlich relish suffering of others?

      It saddens me to see the former congressman and governor of Maryland salivating with anticipation at the thought of depriving millions of Americans of decent health insurance by rolling back the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare is a varsity stinker," Nov. 23).

    • On 'rain tax,' Hogan has the right idea
      On 'rain tax,' Hogan has the right idea

      The Sun really doesn't get it! Larry Hogan is "repealing" the "rain tax" because it is emblematic of the over-taxing of our state's residents ("The bogus 'rain tax' repeal," Nov. 24). You can engage in all the legalistic finger-wagging you care to, but the people of this state are not impressed...

    • Farrakhan should pipe down
      Farrakhan should pipe down

      Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan needs to shut his pie hole ("Speaking at Morgan, Farrakhan predicts violence in Ferguson," Nov. 22). Mr. Farrakhan's modus operandi is to instill hatred aimed at Caucasians and Jews into his rants. What he has done, in effect, is to set the race...

    • What's so bad about plastic bags?
      What's so bad about plastic bags?

      Plastic grocery/retail bags have many post first-time uses ("Bag it, City Council," Nov 11). We use many of them along with an inner paper bag as liners for our house garbage cans. They are efficient and easy to handle. Once thrown into the garbage, they are hauled away to the Baltimore...

    • Farrakhan the false prophet
      Farrakhan the false prophet

      We are fortunate to have had three great leaders in the 20th century — each a man of color, each a man having no conventional power, each a man of peace. First, Mohandas Gandhi, then Martin Luther King Jr. and finally Nelson Mandela. Each taught us that change, change which is significant...

    • Ferguson: Is there justice for all?
      Ferguson: Is there justice for all?

      While I can, I go on hoping a majority of the grand jury in Ferguson votes to indict Officer Darren Wilson ("Far from Missouri, Baltimore readies for Ferguson ruling," Nov. 24). If they fail in that, the obvious choice is for everyone to go out and protest. The police in most of the country...

    Comments
    Loading