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Republican conference objects to anti-Islam label

29 March 2014 General No Comment Email This Post Email This Post
michael-del-rosso

Michael Del Rosso

Heidi Hall, hhall@tennessean.com

There are lots of threats to America and ways to destroy the U.S., and it’s not just one particular kind of enemy who might do it, members of the Tennessee Republican Assembly were told Saturday.

They heard a session on economic warfare. They heard about electromagnetic pulse — damaging bursts of atmospheric energy triggered in space or by atomic bombs. They heard about Russia and China backing nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran.

The point is, speakers said, there’s no single issue to worry about. And they objected to characterizations of the event as anti-Islam, despite top billing for authors who have written at length about Islam’s threat to America.

“We’re looking at anyone who doesn’t have our best interests at heart,” said Mike Carter with SecretWeapon.org, a site that promotes the book “Game Plan: How to Protect Yourself from the Coming Cyber-Economic Attack.”

The Tennessee Republican Assembly’s annual conference came under scrutiny recently by area Muslims, who wanted the Tennessee Republican Party to disavow it after confusion over the two groups’ relationship. Tennessee GOP deputy executive director Michael Sullivan said the groups are unaffiliated, so the party couldn’t comment on the assembly’s activities.

But the assembly calls itself “The Republican Wing of the Republican Party,” and the event stage in a packed ballroom at the Millennium Maxwell House was adorned with a banner inviting people to join the RINO Hunters Club. It stands for Republican In Name Only.

Michael Del Rosso, an event headliner who helped write “Shariah: The Threat to America,” took that stage to criticize the U.S. for failing to protect its energy and communications systems from electromagnetic pulse, and he discussed legislation aimed at doing that. His formal speech held few mentions of Islam, but he discussed the book and the topic at length afterward.

He’s not anti-Islam, he said, and in fact likes to barbecue lamb for his Muslim friends. He’s simply bringing to light documents proving that the nation’s Islamic centers are terrorist recruiting stations and that America is in danger of falling under Shariah.

Both points became frequent themes in court filings aimed at stopping construction of a Murfreesboro mosque. Del Rosso’s colleague, Frank Gaffney, testified on behalf of mosque opponents four years ago in the case, now being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Del Rosso dismissed the notion that Islamic centers could be places of worship similar to Christian churches.

Members of the Middle Tennessee Muslim community initially composed a letter to the GOP asking the party to clarify its stance on the TRA’s conference, but decided to ask for face-to-face meetings after getting clarification on the two groups’ relationship.

Drost Kokoye, a board member with the American Muslim Advisory Council, said she was still comfortable characterizing the conference as anti-Islam since that topic was used to promote it — including in a picture on the event’s website.

“To say we’re not just against Muslims, we’re against everyone against America, it carries the connotation that all Muslims are against America,” she said. “That’s hyper-paranoia. Sadly, it works here.”

Reach Heidi Hall at 615-726-5977 or on Twitter @HeidiHallTN.

Original post: Republican conference objects to anti-Islam label

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