Hutton Hotel in Nashville
For the second time in less than a week, a major U.S. hotel has canceled an agreement to host an event on radical Islam’s threat to America’s freedoms, due to threatening messages to management.
The Preserving Freedom Conference, scheduled for Nov. 11 at the top-rated Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., features Robert Spencer, author of 10 books about Islam and director of Jihad Watch, and Pamela Geller, a WND columnist, editor of the blog Atlas Shrugs and author of the book “Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.” WND is a co-sponsor of the conference.
Stephen Eckley, senior vice president of hotels for Amerimar Enterprises in Denver – the Hutton Hotel’s managing corporation, told WND it was his decision to cancel the event.
Eckley said he “wasn’t exactly sure what the content of the program was,” but he explained that he canceled it because of the threat of physical harm to people at the hotel.
“They were veiled threats that there were going to be protests that could easily erupt into violence,” he told WND in a telephone interview.
Sessions planned for the conference include “The European Experience” with Shariah, “Religious Persecution Under Shariah,” “The Dehumanization and Diminishment of Women in the West Under Shariah,” “The Muslim Brotherhood In America” and “Fighting Islamist Propaganda in the Media.”
Spencer and Geller are co-founders of the activist group Stop Islamization of America, which helped lead opposition to the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York City.
As WND reported last week, the Hyatt Place Hotel in Sugar Land, Texas, near Houston, canceled a tea party event featuring Geller after complaints reportedly by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The D.C.-based Islamic group has sued the co-author of a WND Books expose, “Muslim Mafia,” which documents CAIR’s founding as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
Commenting on the Nashville cancellation on her Atlas Shrugs blog, Geller said Eckley “has caved to Islamic supremacist demands.”
She warned that free speech, “the cornerstone of our constitutional republic, is in serious jeopardy.”
Under the strict interpretations of Islamic law, or Shariah, practiced in many Muslim countries, she noted, criticism of Islam is punishable by death.
Geller said it’s becoming increasingly apparent in the U.S. that “opposing the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth is now forbidden in the war of ideas.”
Spencer told WND the conference will go on.
“We will find a new venue,” he said, “but the Hutton Hotel’s capitulation to Islamic supremacist threats and intimidation is a disgrace and a disquieting reminder of just how much the freedom of speech is threatened in America today.”
On his JihadWatch.org website, Spencer emphasizes that his work is “based largely on quotations from Islamic jihadists and the traditional Islamic sources to which they appeal to justify violence and terrorism.”
“My work sheds light on what these sources say.”
A weekly columnist for Human Events and FrontPage Magazine, Spencer has led seminars on Islam and jihad for the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the U.S. intelligence community.
‘Threat to my staff and my property’
Asked to respond to charges that he was “caving in” to radical Muslims, Eckley insisted he had “no idea” what the sources of the threats “were complaining about.”
“All I am responding to is the threat to my staff and my property,” he said.
Eckley said that management received “several calls, emails, letters and personal calls.”
He refused to divulge any names but said he was not aware of any organization being behind the calls.
Eckley said he didn’t know if any of the threats came from Muslims. A few of the complaints, he said, came from regular hotel customers, who he knew were not Muslims.
Geller pointed out that Nashville, with one of the nation’s highest Muslim populations, is a “gateway city” for refugee resettlement.
Other scheduled speakers for the Nashville event are Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, William J. Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, Christopher Holton of the Center for Security Policy, Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force, Barrister Paul Diamond of the United Kingdom, Father Keith Roderick, Bishop Earl. W. Jackson, actor and former congressman Fred Grandy and Wafa Sultan, an ex-Muslim activist.
The CAIR legal attack on WND’s author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR’s lawsuit. The book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now.