A controversial Islamic lobby group is demanding an apology from radio counselor Dr. Laura Schlessinger for an alleged “anti-Muslim tirade” on her program this week.
Schlessinger, whose coast-to-coast show is heard by 12 million listeners, “crossed the line from legitimate commentary on terrorism to Islamophobic bigotry,” charges the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
The comments, on Monday’s program, came in response to a mother who asked whether her 16-year-old daughter should take part in a Catholic high school class’s field trip to a local mosque. The visit was part of a “moral themes” class that aimed to help students learn how “Muslims are treated” in the United States.
Schlessinger, a WND columnist, replied to the mother:
“This is a class on morals. What is the point of going to a mosque? … You’re joking of course. How many Americans have tortured and murdered Muslims. I think you ought to stand up against this class and this teacher. This is despicable. You tell him you are willing to go to the mosque only if it is one that has done its best to rout out terrorists in its midst. Instead of complaining.
“I am horrified that you would let her go. I am so sick and tired of all the Arab-American groups whining and complaining about some kind of treatment. What culture and what religion were all the murderers of 9-11? They murdered us. That’s the culture you want your daughter to learn about?”
Schlessinger’s producer, Keven Bellows, told WorldNetDaily the radio host is formulating a response but cannot comment at the moment.
In a statement, CAIR said last year it asked Schlessinger to clarify her claim there is a “Muslim plan” to take over the world.
“When Schlessinger’s extremist views have been confronted in the past, she has often responded by attacking the source of the challenge, instead of dealing with the substance of the complaints,” CAIR said.
The group’s communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, said “Dr. Laura’s anti-Muslim tirade demonstrates a level of hostility toward Islam that should be of concern to her program’s audience and sponsors.”
“It has been our experience that one-on-one interactions with ordinary American Muslims are the best way to dispel Islamophobic stereotypes and promote religious tolerance,” Hooper said. “It is a pity that Dr. Laura would interfere with that learning process by dissuading a student from visiting a mosque.”
However, CAIR itself has helped cast doubt on Muslim groups that purport to be mainstream promoters of peace and tolerance.
CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, or IAF, identified as a “front group” for the terrorist organization Hamas, according to two former heads of the FBI’s counterterrorism section.
In July, a member of CAIR’s national staff, Randall Todd “Ismail” Royer, was among 11 men indicted for conspiring to train on American soil for a “violent jihad.” Another CAIR figure, Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January while serving as the group’s director of community relations.
CAIR’s leaders also have provided evidence for claims Muslims have a plan for domination.
As WorldNetDaily reported, CAIR’s chairman of the board, Omar Ahmad, was cited by a California newspaper in 1998 declaring the Quran should be America’s highest authority.
He also was reported to have said Islam is not in America to be equal to any other religion but to be dominant.
Hooper himself indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he wants to see the United States become a Muslim country.
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” Hooper told the paper. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
In addition, CAIR has sought to convey the impression Muslims are under siege in America. A report released this year, titled “Guilt by Association,” blasted the Bush administration for government policies that unfairly single out Muslim individuals and organizations” – a charge denied by the Justice Department.
CAIR claimed when compared to the year preceding Sept. 11, its 2002 report on bias or hate-related incidents against Muslims showed a 64 percent increase.
Justice Department spokesman Jorge Martinez told WorldNetDaily, on the contrary, he sees a vastly improving situation in “backlash” incidents since a “spike” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.