Hello, Organization labeled by CAIR as “Islamophobic,”
This message is pursuant to the message sent to you on Sept. 30 and (sent to most) on Sept 21. The proposal on Sept. 21 was to form an association for the purpose of challenging CAIR’s labeling of your organization as being “Islamophobic.” Challenging CAIR is still the purpose, but the nature of the association involved has been simplified.
In the Sept. 21 email, you were asked to indicate support the challenge to CAIR, and — unless you indicated otherwise — that support extended to the subsequent arguments that the association — “Organizations Labeled by CAIR as ‘Islamophobic,'” or OLCI — would make, in the event CAIR accepted the challenge to CAIR. Now, support is requested only for the challenge by OLCI, and such the granting of such support does not imply support for any of the subsequent arguments made by OLCI, in the event of such debate. Moreover, with regard to the challenge,you may explicitly withdraw or qualify your support for the challenge at any time; we will (subject to any limitations imposed by a 3rd-party website publisher) give notice of such withdrawal as prominently as possible.
Currently, OLCI statements and responses to CAIR will be composed and/or reviewed by Bill Warner, Usama Dakdok, and myself.
— BEGINNING OF PROPOSED MESSAGE/CHALLENGE TO CAIR —
Hello, Council on American-Islamic Relations,
At your website, you list 45 organizations (and 62 individuals) as being “Islamophobic.”
Also, in a video “CAIR ‘Confronting Fear” Report…” you charge that 33 “inner core” organizations “spread fear and hate of Islam… Instead of using [their resources] to do something positive, these groups are using it to spread fear and prejudice. They’re spreading lies about what Muslims believe; they’re spreading conspiracy theories about what Muslims are doing in this country.”
In short, you charge not merely irrational fear, but that such groups are not seeking to educate, but rather to frighten and mislead.
On behalf of and representing such organizations, we categorically reject such charges. We challenge you to defend them in a debate conducted in writing, over the internet.
Specifically, we challenge you to debate the following resolution:
“Resolved, CAIR’s category of ‘Islamophobic Organizations’ is an imaginary one; one with no constituent elements.
“Specifically, we resolve that CAIR provides no reasonable basis for 1) its labeling of 45 organizations as being ‘Islamophobic’ — that is, as having an irrational fear of Islam, and 2- for stating that the purpose of 33 of such organizations — ones that it identifies as ‘inner core’ — is to spread lies and prejudice about Islam.”
1) that such debate take place via the emails accounts currently in use, with Opening Statements, etc., being posted on dual websites – one of CAIR’s choosing, and one of OLCI’s. Both websites would provide links to the postings of the other.
2) that it consist of 3 stages: Opening Statement, Rebuttal, and Counter-Rebuttal, and that there be a word limit for each stage (not counting words quoting an opponent) of 600 words.
3) that, on your acceptance, Opening Statements are posted within 4 days, with no more than 3 days allowed for Rebuttal and for Counter-Rebuttal.
Please be advised, if no response is received within 5 days, we will consider this challenge to be refused.
We urge you to accept this challenge.
In your mission statement, you state that your purpose is “to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue … and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.” Debate, particularly with those against whom you strongly disagree, is the single best way to do that. And, during a presidential campaign in which the candidates take opposing views with respect to Islam, the timing could hardly be better. This is a rare opportunity for you to advance the cause of dialogue and mutual understanding that you say you aspire to.
Should you, on the other hand, refuse to defend your organization against the very organizations you have made (allegedly) defamatory charges, if you are unwilling to defend the term “Islamophobia” itself, then, as the leading Muslim advocacy group in America, you certainly lend credence to the belief “dialogue” and “mutual understanding” is not your aspiration, and that Islam is, in fact, incompatible with American democracy.
For free speech and democracy;
For dialogue and mutual understanding,
— END OF PROPOSED MESSAGE/CHALLENGE TO CAIR —
This challenge cannot proceed without sufficient support from those organizations that, by virtue of CAIR’s defamatory labeling of them, have the moral standing to make such challenge.
If you believe that CAIR has no basis for charging your organization as being “Islamophobic,” and that you should not simply accept it, but challenge it, and/or if you believe simply that such a debate, conducted in writing, is the kind of discussion our democracy desperately needs on this and other issues, but especially regarding Muhammadan jihad, please indicate support for the following statement:
“As an organization labeled by CAIR as being ‘Islamophobic,’ we join with OLCI to challenge CAIR to debate the following:
Resolved, CAIR’s category of “Islamophobic Organizations” is an imaginary one; one with no constituent elements.
Specifically, we resolve that CAIR provides no reasonable basis for 1) its labeling of 45 organizations as being ‘Islamophobic’ — that is, as having an irrational fear of Islam, and 2- for stating that the purpose of 33 of such organizations — ones that it identifies as ‘inner core’ — is to spread lies and prejudice about Islam.
“We understand that this support does not necessarily extend to any arguments OLCI may make in the course of such debate, and that we may withdraw our support of OLCI’s challenge at any time.
“(name and/or organization)”
If you support the foregoing debate challenge, please so indicate in a response to this email. (“We support this challenge,” with name and/or organization, would suffice.) In the above message to CAIR, the support of your organization will be noted.
Assuming a respectable degree of support, the challenge will be sent to CAIR.
For free speech and democracy,
Bert Peterson, OLCI