Dozens of parents in Tampa, Florida, are outraged after finding out that a member of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) spoke to history students at Steinbrenner High School last fall. Dozens of parents showed up at the Hillsborough County school board meeting on Tuesday night to make their frustrations known. Among their concerns, as FOX News reports, the parents discussed the group’s alleged ties to a terror financing case involving Hamas.
MyFoxTampaBay describes the meeting that took place earlier this week:
Dozens flooded into the school board meeting to try and convince members not to allow CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) representatives to talk to public school students, claiming the group has ties to terrorism.
Amid the uproar, a board member made a motion to schedule a workshop that would include presentations from CAIR and the education coalition.
“We want a public workshop so that these folks who don’t understand what the truth is about this can hear the truth,” said Terry Kemple of the community issues council.
That motion was voted down.
This isn’t the first meeting during which this issue has come up. Video posted on YouTube at the end of January shows various community members voicing their concern:
CAIR is widely known as one of the nation’s premiere — not to mention the largest — Islamic civil liberties organizations. In recent years, the group has come under government and media scrutiny after being named by the Justice Department as a co-conspirator in a massive terror-financing case involving the Holy Land Foundation (read more about the Holy Land Foundation and CAIR).
The outraged parents weren’t upset that a Muslim had come to speak to students, they said. Instead, it was this aforementioned alleged terror connection that led to angst and concern.
“We do not have a problem with Islamic groups speaking with students, but we do have an issue with a group that has ties to terrorism speaking,” said Randall McDaniels. McDaniels’ group, ACT for America, seeks to prevent CAIR members from speaking in public schools; he leads the organization’s Jacksonville chapter.
“As a concerned citizen, and a mom-to-be, I would not allow you to have this man in the school, speaking to my child,” said resident Kimberly Kelley. “This is my right as a mom, and as a parent, and as a taxpayer.”
Despite these statements, CAIR is dismissing the need for concern over one of its members speaking to students. Spokesman Corey Saylor dismissed the response as “fear-mongering” and Hassan Shibly, the executive director of CAIR Tampa who spoke to the students, claims that the parents are incorrect in their insinuations.
“This hatred and animosity only shows the importance of reaching out to the community,” he said, “It’s insulting to the school and the students to think that one person can influence their beliefs. It’s misleading.”
Shibly also made the point that, if critics’ allegations were correct, CAIR would have already been shut down by the government.
“Given the current security environment — how Muslims are under the microscope — if any of the allegations that they had against us were true, our organization would have been shut down years ago,” he said.
(H/T: FOX News)