Home Blog Uncategorized Response to Islamophobic Campaign, and Attacks on Freedom of Speech
Response to Islamophobic Campaign, and Attacks on Freedom of Speech

Response to Islamophobic Campaign, and Attacks on Freedom of Speech

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What happened on Friday, January 5th in Parkland and Coral Springs Florida was a tragic result of fear and misinformation. History will show this was a sad day when Muslim Americans were prevented to assemble in some neighborhoods, leaving a stain on our collective conscience. The Coral Springs Marriott canceled a contract the South Florida Muslim Federation has to host a local family-focused conference the weekend of January 12th, 2024.

A longtime hate group, Middle East Forum (MEF), as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, published an article that shamelessly defamed the entire South Florida Muslim community as “Hamas Sympathizers”. Coral Springs Talk predominantly copied and pasted that article and published it as their own. This article set off a campaign to call the Coral Springs Marriott and tell them to cancel the South Florida Muslim Federation event.

This author has been spreading hate, othering, and smearing communities such as the Muslim American community for over 15 years. This hatemonger has attacked nearly every Mosque or Muslim institution in South Florida. His goal is to otherize the Muslim American community by injecting hatred, xenophobia, and Islamophobia into the minds of all our South Florida friends and neighbors. You can see him humiliate himself on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Those who would normally be our friends were provided misinformation and relied upon that to pressure the Coral Springs Marriott hotel to cancel the largest community-wide Muslim American family-focused conference held in South Florida. This fear has given a fearmonger a win in his campaign to otherize a minority community. By succumbing to fear our friends threw their support behind the most virulent Islamophobe in South Florida. This moment tars all local Muslim institutions, mosques, and individuals as terrorists

The Coral Springs Marriott caved into this assault on the men, women, and children in the Muslim American community, dehumanizing all of us as terrorists. The Coral Springs Marriott said they are canceling because of the ‘significant undesirable interest’.

WHO IS THE SOUTH FLORIDA MUSLIM FEDERATION

The South Florida Muslim Federation is an umbrella organization of the local Florida Muslim community, with 32 members including mosques, social service organizations, relief organizations, free clinics, youth groups, civic engagement organizations, and domestic violence shelters. We represent hundreds of thousands of American Muslims in all 3 counties and our member organizations have a long history of community service to the greater South Florida community.

In 2019 our community held a fundraiser that raised over $15k for the Families of the Parkland shooting victims. More recently we created a mental health portal to tackle the growing crisis by assisting community members in need of culturally-informed mental health services.

Every week in downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown Miami, members of our Muslim community feed the homeless.

Local Muslim-run free clinics regularly hold health fairs, distribute free meals, and provide physical exams, lab tests, vaccinations, optometry, mental health, and cardiology services to patients completely free of charge, regardless of their race, religion, background, or color.

Our 7 relief organization members work tirelessly to serve humanity locally and globally. Our food pantries provide hygiene kits and health services to over 200 families every Saturday in Pompano Beach, Sunrise, and Miami. Recipients, again, are people of all faiths, backgrounds and races. Back-to-school backpack giveaways, scholarships for youth, and Ramadan Open houses are other examples of regular activities that our Muslim community hosts in collaboration with local municipalities, for all people across all 3 counties in South Florida.

WHAT WAS THIS CONFERENCE ABOUT

This conference has taken place in the past and is a gathering of our local Muslim American community. This conference is not a pro-Hamas event. We created a platform to gather and learn from each other’s work, engage our children in service, and continue to instill the values of our faith. In the past, this convening has allowed us to share knowledge, tackle social problems, share our diverse cultures, have our kids play together, learn from our elders, teach and train our youth, and have our scholars and community experts bestow knowledge. It was created out of love for the community and the community responded.

Our last such conference was a tremendous success. Over 100 volunteers, mostly youth, took the lead in executing the event. Sessions tackled spiritual issues, family dynamics, problems raising kids, pressures of motherhood and fatherhood, political issues, and youth issues. Many local and state elected officials attended and participated in our event. The conference also had a kids’ corner with bounce houses and games, a grand bazaar, and a food court with culturally rich food and shopping. This year’s conference followed suit.

To those who supported this campaign to have our venue canceled – this is not a “Hamas” anything. That is a word that was shamelessly weaponized to dehumanize us. This conference is a local Muslim-American community event. This conference will go on, at a venue to be announced. The people who will attend the conference are your friends and neighbors. You can just ask your local Muslim American friends about what this is. You didn’t have to rely on a source that has been labeled by Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim group. You didn’t have to listen to that author who has attacked nearly every Muslim institution over the last 15 years. You could ask us right here, in your own backyard, and get the real information. Just because someone criticizes Israel does not mean they are a terrorist. Our beautiful country allows for freedom of speech, and we will not be silenced. This has only strengthened our resolve. Together we will work and fight against all forms of hate – antisemitism and Islamophobia. We will not stop working for a better South Florida, a better America, and a better world.

HOW TO EXPRESS YOUR CONCERNS TO THE MARRIOTT FOR SIDING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA?

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT OUR COMMUNITY SHOW STRENGTH AND ACTIVELY DEFEND OUR RIGHTS IN AMERICA.

CALL TO ACTION: Voice your displeasure to Marriott and its franchise owner, Atrium Hospitality, by:
1. Clicking on this link to send an email to their management: EVERYACTION
2. Click to sign this petition: STOP ISLAMOPHOBIA

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