Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Montgomery Democrats Issue Letter Condemning Local GOP Extremist Speaker

UPDATE: Council President Valerie Ervin is also a signatory to the Montgomery Democrats' letter. Also, the Chevy Chase Patch reports that Democrats have decided to engage the Montgomery GOP in dialogue, as they're now hosting a 9/24 discussion prior to the Fred Grandy event: 
Earlier that day, a panel presentation—"Is 'Creeping Shariah' a Real Threat or a Trumped Up Scare Tactic?"—will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wisconsin Place Community Center (5311 Friendship Blvd., Chevy Chase).
The speakers invited to this event include Jamie Raskin (Maryland state senator and professor of constitutional law at American University), Corey Saylor (national legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations), civil liberties activist Thomas Nephew and Fred Grandy ("or any designated representative," the invitation says).
Maryland Juice previously broke news of the Chevy Chase Republican Women's Club hosting an event featuring controversial speaker Fred Grandy. In our prior coverage, we noted:
Fred Grandy is a former member of the U.S. House from Iowa, but he is better known as 'Gopher' from the television series the Love Boat. He recently gained notoriety after being fired from his most recent gig as a morning radio personality on WMAL. Grandy's increasingly anti-Muslim show was pushed off the air after on-air comments his wife made....
Today, a number of Democratic officials issued a letter condemning the Montgomery County GOP. Their letter, which appears below, is signed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve, and a number of state and county officials:
We have learned that the Montgomery County Republican Party is hosting an event in Chevy Chase on September 24 featuring former actor and former Congressman Fred Grandy as the featured speaker. Grandy will ostensibly be speaking about the topic of “Islamic Extremism”.

Fred Grandy is a former actor and former Congressman who has been an active leader in the nationwide movement to incite bigotry against American Muslims. Usually this is done under the guise of "Anti-terrorism", "Counter-Jihad" or "Fighting Islamic Extremism". In reality, these labels are often thinly-veiled excuses to spread lies about American Muslims and incite mistrust against them by claiming they are a threat to America, they are trying to implement "Creeping Sharia" and they are seeking worldwide domination.

On their WMAL radio show, Fred Grandy & his wife Catherine have repeatedly referred to Muslim people as "Sharia Compliant" and found it necessary to "warn" others that Muslims work in Government. This radio show was recently cancelled allegedly because of their anti-Muslim prejudice.

So-called “Anti-Sharia” bills have been introduced in numerous state capitals. Such legislation and accompanying rhetoric have been criticized as attacks on religious liberties or attempts to stigmatize American Muslims by a broad spectrum of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Agudah, the Orthodox Union, American Jewish Committee, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Fighting terrorism of all kinds is an important endeavor. But this cannot be used as an excuse to vilify an entire religion. It is inappropriate for the Montgomery County Republican party to be hosting an anti-Muslim speaker. Montgomery County is home to thousands of people of all races and religions. Divisive rhetoric of the kind Fred Grandy is known for has no place in Montgomery County or in our civic discourse.


Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett
Maryland State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola
Maryland House of Delegates Majority Leader Kumar Barve
Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin
Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno
Maryland State Senator Roger Manno

Maryland State Delegate Sam Arora
Maryland State Delegate Alfred Carr
Maryland State Delegate Bill Frick
Maryland State Delegate James Gilchrist
Maryland State Delegate Benjamin Kramer
Maryland State Delegate Eric Luedtke
Maryland State Delegate Ana Gutierrez
Maryland State Delegate Tom Hucker
Maryland State Delegate Aruna Miller
Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur
Maryland State Delegate Kirill Reznik
Maryland State Delegate Shane Robinson
Maryland State Delegate Craig Zucker

Montgomery County Councilman Craig Rice
Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer
Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal
Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich
Read Maryland Juice's past coverage of the MoCo GOP's Fred Grandy controversy. Also note that Fred Grandy's tactic of stirring up fear of Islam in America fits right into the GOP's well-known strategy of scapegoating groups of people to distract voters.

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