An evangelical university in Tennessee canceled a summit on Islam hosted by a Republican candidate for governor in response to criticism that the speakers were anti-Muslim.
The Homeland Security Summit, scheduled for Jan. 25 at Trevecca Nazarene University, was to feature speakers such as political-Islam scholar Bill French (a.k.a. Bill Warner), former DHS and NYPD counter-terrorism trainer Cathy Hinners and former FBI counter-terrorism agent John Guandolo.
Ibrahim Hooper, the chief spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations – a Washington, D.C.-based group designated by an Arab Gulf state as a terrorist organization – condemned the speakers as a "who's who of Islamophobes," according to The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.
"The themes are always the same – Muslims are about to take over the country and install Shariah in place of the Constitution, and mosques are hotbeds of extremism," Hooper said.
However, CAIR was a spinoff of a group that, according to FBI wiretap evidence, was a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. CAIR itself was designated by the Department of Justice as an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund Hamas. CAIR also was designated by the United Arab Emirates as a terrorist organization. The group has sued a co-author of a WND Books exposé, "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America," which documented the group's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
French, The Tennessean reported, tweeted Thursday that the summit, hosted by former state senator Mae Beavers, "has now been cancelled thanks to the stealthy work" of CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Trevecca spokeswoman Mandy Crow told the Nashville paper the event appears to have an agenda beyond a political campaign. Crow argued that agenda would distract from the university's commitment to community building, education and support of diverse enrollment.
Beavers, a graduate of Trevecca and one of five major Republicans and two Democrats running for governor, said Trevecca "abandoned biblical principles in order embrace political correctness."
The gubernatorial candidate told the Tennessee Star the "best indication that the Homeland Security Summit we were hosting is both necessary and important is the fact that CAIR doesn't like it."
"CAIR consistently opposes efforts to improve our security and protect our communities from the terror attacks that are the weapon of choice of radical political Islam," she said.
"Being the target of criticism from CAIR is a badge of honor, particularly when they never find any basis to criticize any other Republican candidates for governor who all apparently meet with the approval of CAIR," said Beavers.
WND reported in 2011 a conference in Nashville on countering the rise of Shariah in the United States was forced to find a new venue after threats of violence from Muslims caused the host hotel to cancel.