Free Beacon The Saturday event, which seeks to combat “Islamophobes in America” who have turned the Islamic Prophet Muhammad “into an object of hate,” according to organizers, comes just a week after radicalized Islamists in France killed 17 people.
The victims died in events that began with the shooting attack on French newspaper Charlie Hebdo for its satirical cartoons that skewered the prophet.
Organizers of the event place the blame for Islam’s bad reputation on the media and so-called American Islamophobes who have “invested at least $160 million dollars to attack our Prophet and Islam,” according to the conference web page.
Keynote speakers at the event will include Georgetown University professor John Esposito, founding director of the school’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, which has come under fire for, among other things, hosting 9/11 Truthers and a member of Egypt’s Nazi Party. John Esposito favors ‘incitement to hatred’ legislation, under the rubric of religious freedom, that would effectively trump freedom of expression. Rallies such as the one Esposito will address have one purpose: granting Islam a protected status, and denying that protection to its critics.
Also scheduled to attend the forum is controversial New York-based Imam Siraj Wahhaj, who was an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings trial. Wahhaj has called the FBI and CIA the “real terrorists” and expressed a desire for all Americans to become Muslim, according to the New York Post.
Organizers of the conference claim that the media and Islamophobes in America are the main reason why Islam and its prophet have such a bad reputation in the Western world.
“This is not an event. It is the beginning of a movement,” organizers write on their website, which blames Americans for giving Islam a bad name. “A movement to defend Prophet Muhammad, his person, and his message.”
“All these accusations were invented by Islamophobes in America,” the group claims. “As we celebrate the Prophet in our now annual, nationwide event: Stand with the Prophet, we recommit ourselves to rectify his image, peace be upon him.”
The event seeks to capitalize on outrage over cartoons and other materials mocking Mohammed in popular culture.
“Frustrated with Islamophobes defaming the Prophet?” the event materials ask. “Fuming over extremists like ISIS who give a bad name to Islam? Remember the Danish cartoons defaming the Prophet? Or the anti-Islam film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’?”
The goal of the forum is to raise money to fund a “Strategic Communication Center for the Muslim community, which will develop effective responses to anti-Islamic attacks, as well as to train young Muslims in media.” This center will be equipped to respond to insults to the prophet, such as when publications run cartoons critical of Mohammed.
Patrick Poole, a terrorism expert and national security reporter, said the conference is part of larger campaign to blame some in America for the negative impression of Muslims in the West.
“This is a yet another manifestation of ‘Islamophobia’-phobia,” Poole said. “The conference organizers invoke an ‘Islamophobia hate machine’ based in the U.S. that is responsible for defaming Muslims worldwide but the events of the past week and other recent attacks have done more to damage the image of Islam than any other factor.”
“Obama is the first Muslim president.”