CAIRO - A planned Republican event in Virginia that relates the Muslim headscarf (hijab) to terrorism is inviting the fury of US Muslims as a new example of incitement against the sizable religious minority.
"If that's not hateful and inciteful speech, I don't know what is, Laurie Jaghlit, a 52-year-old grandmother who dons hijab, told The Washington Post.This is a diverse area. You'd think that hopefully we'd be beyond this.
Planned for February 20, the event will be organized by the Republican Women of Clifton's club at Fairview Elementary School in Virginia.
Speakers will discuss the treatment of women in Islamic society and how she believes the Hijab is a catalyst for Islamic terrorism.
The club said Stephanie Reis, founder of the Omaha chapter of ACT! for America, will focus on the treatment of women in Islamic society and how the Hijab is a catalyst for Islamism because it leads to the mentality of passive terrorism and silent support for Shari`ah Law in Western societies.
Worse still, RWC President Alice Butler-Short identifies Shari`ah as one of the forces working to destroy our liberty.
The group's public relations chairperson, Susan Lider, could not answer why hijab or Shari`ah were of concern to the club members.
Let's put it this way, it's one of the things that people talk about, she said.
I don't know a lot about it other than that I wouldn't ever want to wear one.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
Though census does not identify people by religion, statistics show that only a few hundred people born in predominantly Muslim countries live in Fairfax Station.
Muslims lamented that money of taxpayers are being used to foment hatred against the sizable minority.
It's one thing for hatemongers to rent a private facility and spew their bigotry, but it's another for a taxpayer-funded public school to offer it to speakers who will promote bigotry and intolerance, Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.
What does it say to the students who have to go to the school the next day, perhaps wearing hijab or being identified as Muslims, the day after someone has been at the school saying the hijab is a catalyst for terrorism?
The umbrella Muslim group has earlier contacted the Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack D. Dale to ask him to rescind approval for the RWC to use the school.
But the school superintendent rejected the Muslim request.
After school hours, anyone may rent the public facility, Dale said.
Controversies over the use of school property for non-school-related events are not new to America.
Once they allow community groups to come and use the school during non-school hours, they cannot then say to one of the groups, We're going to exclude you because we don't like your viewpoint,'â Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, said.
Declining to be interviewed, RWC President Butler-Short said in an e-mail that those who disagree with the views of any of the speakers at our club are welcome to express those contrary views in the marketplace of ideas.
Jaghlit, the Muslim grandmother who will have the event held five miles near her house, prepares to attend the event with a dozen veiled Muslim women, to have our non-terrorist voices heard.
I'm sure just the presence of hijabi women in the audience will do enough to hopefully get them to realize that this is pure nonsense, she said.
She added that some RWC members may turn out to be people she knows.Hey, we're your neighbors, for God's sake, she said. Is that really what you think about your neighbor?