From the Maryland Gazette:
The new chairman of the Anne Arundel County House delegation said today he will attend a conservative political conference Saturday in Annapolis despite calls from a Muslim advocacy group that described a keynote speaker as a notorious “Islamaphobe.” [sic]
Del. Nic Kipke, who was elected chairman on Tuesday, called blogger and author Pamela Geller an outspoken critic of the treatment of women in some Islamic countries.
“I don’t know Ms. Geller personally,” the Pasadena Republican said. “What I do know about her is that she has pointed out gross atrocities that occur in some Muslim countries against women.”
…”I’m sure these folks have a beef with her because she doesn’t speak in politically correct terms,” Kipke said. “But when it comes to an issue as important as human rights you need someone who bangs the drum.”
This is a superficially clever way for Kipke to identify with Geller while maintaining distance from her many excesses, but it’s of course in bad faith – as the report also notes, Geller is famously anti-Islam in general and she promotes the most lurid and absurd conspiracies about Obama.
The conference is entitled “Turning the Tides”, and it is being organised by the Maryland Conservative Action Network (MD CAN). The group was profiled in the Baltimore Sun at the end of 2011 (links added):
…At its most recent conference last October in Annapolis, noted national and international speakers ran discussions on a wide variety of topics, including the possibility of Sharia law’s influence in Maryland (Frank Gaffney, Fred and Catherine Grandy, and John Guandolo); man-made global warming as the pretense for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s PlanMaryland initiative (Lord Monckton and Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild); combating voter fraud (J. Christian Adams); and organizing petition drives, just to name a few. There was even a session on how to become a conservative blogger.
Capital Gazette reported from the event itself:
The 200 activists who attended were almost exclusively white, and they agreed that Muslims, liberals, illegal immigrants, environmentalists and Democrats are the source of just about every problem plaguing America today.
One speaker went so far as to call Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and Baltimore city, “The Axis of Evil.”
…Event organizer Tonya Tiffany of Howard County said the gathering was not meant to stir anti-Muslim sentiment, and Muslims were welcome to attend.
She said the real purpose of the conference was to prod the Republican Party into becoming more conservative.
(H/T Islamophobia Watch)
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