Don't give divisive lecturer Jonathan Matusitz, GOP forum
I am appalled at the Orlando Republican Women's Network's announced plans to host UCF's Jonathan Matusitz's lecture on "The Islamic Threat to America."
The title of the talk alone serves to demonize and alienate an entire minority and is counterproductive to a free, diverse and tolerant community. Nothing good can come out of targeting an entire group based on faith.
Besides being unproductive, asserting that an entire faith is a threat is simply incorrect.
As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated, American Muslims are "essential partners in the fight against terrorism."
Inviting such an offensive speaker, who, according to Pinellas Republican Executive Committee leader Chris Latvala, "bash[es] a religion practiced by many ... including fellow Republicans," can harm the long-term viability of the GOP, and effectively undermine the goals of the network. Similar concerns have been raised by GOP leader Grover Norquist: "When you hear snide comments about Jews in the '50s or Muslims today — we've been through this. The Republican Party chased away the Catholic vote for over a hundred years."
The network certainly has a right to hold events that demonize an entire faith.
But the fact that members choose to do so says more about them and their values, ethnocentrism, and double standards than the faith they are attacking.
Our country needs leaders who unite us, not leaders who use fear to divide us.
Hassan Shibly, Executive Director, CAIR-Florida in Tampa