Two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations have issued a press release stating that after a meeting, the Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum agreed to establish a Muslim community advisory group. The meeting took place following McCollum’s showing of a film to his staff which warns of the dangers of radical Islam. According to the press release:
Today’s meeting came following a controversy in which McCollum’s office reportedly directed staff throughout the state to view the controversial anti-Islam film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The film includes interviews with infamous Islamophobes like Nonie Darwish, Walid Shoebat, Daniel Pipes, and Steven Emerson. During the meeting with representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the ACLU of Florida, and the Florida Muslim Bar Association, McCollum also agreed to offer educational programs on Islam and Muslims to his staff and to help build better relations between the Muslim community and law enforcement agencies. “The challenge for all state and federal law enforcement agencies is to treat Muslim Americans as partners in keeping our country safe,” said MPAC Executive Director Salam al-Marayati, who took part in today’s meeting. “Reliance on propagandistic films like ‘Obsession’ is an obstacle to that objective.” “We commend Attorney General McCollum for taking the time to meet with us and to address our concerns by creating a Muslim advisory group,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, another meeting participant. Interfaith leaders who took part in the hour-long meeting with the attorney general included Rabbi Steven Jacobs and Rev. Dr. Sandra Hulse. “We ought to be obsessed with the truth, not distortions that lead to demonization and hatred of any group,” said Rabbi Jacobs following the meeting.
A news story about the controversy provides further details:
“Staff asked for it,” said Bill Stewart, assistant deputy chief of staff for McCollum. But the e-mail to the staff about the film said McCollum had presented the film to private groups. In August, McCollum praised the film at a screening for about 200 people in government and business which included Adam Hasner, now the majority leader in the state House, and Orlando lawyer Jonathan Kilman, counsel to Charlie Crist during his campaign. The film begins with a disclaimer: “It is important to remember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror.”
Both CAIR and MPAC have a problematic history with respect to terrorism. MPAC has frequently defended Hamas and Hezbollah as “freedom fighters” and CAIR itself is an outgrowth of the Hamas infrastructure in the U.S.