A conservative family group in Florida staged a protest over a high school’s invitation to a Muslim speaker, claiming the group he represents is apologetic to terrorists.
Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, was invited to speak at a Steinbrenner High School in Tampa on Nov. 29 by history teacher Kelly Miliziano. His visit did not sit well with David Caton, leader of the Florida Family Association.
“I’m opposed to CAIR presenting Islam in the schools. CAIR should not be a vehicle of education for schools, given their track record their representations they have made throughout the country with regards to being apologetic for terrorists,” Caton told WTSP in Tampa. “This is outrageous.”
Caton said that the school should present an alternative view, possibly a Christian speaker, to students. However, that’s already been done.
According to The Tampa Tribune, Hillsborough County School District Spokesman Stephen Hegarty said Miliziano has brought in representatives of Buddhism, Hinduism, a Catholic priest and a Protestant minister.
It’s for that reason and the fact that Caton opposed TLC’s “All American Muslim” reality show that Shibly believes Caton’s problem is less about CAIR and more about Islam.
“It’s very clear Caton has a not a hidden agenda, but an open anti-Muslim agenda,” Shibly told WTSP. “He hates Islam. He hates Muslims.”
The school district said it has received thousands of e-mails, some in support of Shibly’s visit and some opposed to it. Nonetheless, the school board has said that it supports Miliziano and the students’ right to hear from people from a various backgrounds.
“Our kids need to understand a lot of different perspectives,” Hillsborough County School Board Chairwoman Candy Olson told The Tampa Bay Times. “They’re going to have to deal with everybody in the world, and they can’t just be afraid of them because they don’t know them.”