"Why Florida should care about CAIR" by Laura Rambeau Lee, October 1, 2013
In a surprise move at this past Monday night’s HART board meeting, the board reversed their August decision and approved the Council on American Islamic Relation’s (CAIR) request to advertise on Hillsborough County buses.
In August the HART board voted eight to two to stand firm on its policy of not accepting advertising promoting messages of a religious nature. Undaunted by this decision, CAIR appealed to the board to reconsider. The approval of past advertising campaigns and pressure from CAIR of a threatened lawsuit prompted HART counsel David Smith to advise the board to approve the advertisements. This past Monday evening the board voted unanimously to approve the ads, which promote CAIR’s free legal services:
“Embracing Diversity at Work, Defending Civil Rights in The Community.”
Embracing diversity? According to its Articles of Incorporation filed with the Division of Corporations in the State of Florida, the Florida non-profit corporation CAIR Florida restricts membership within their organization under Article Six as follows: “MEMBERS: General membership shall remain open to all Muslims regardless of color, creed, race, language or nationality. …”
It appears CAIR Florida embraces diversity as long as you are Muslim.
The most vocal supporter of CAIR and its advertising campaign, County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, received a one hundred dollar contribution from Ahmed Bedier towards his 2012 campaign. Bedier, a former Tampa CAIR executive director, now works in Tallahassee promoting United Voices for America, encouraging young Muslims to become engaged in politics and run for office and organizing an annual Muslim Capitol Day.
CAIR’s first attempt at advertising on Hillsborough County buses involved a “My jihad” campaign, as shown in the following rendering:
These advertisements were the ones the HART board had initially voted not to approve and which compelled CAIR to revise its advertising to the new “embracing diversity” advertisements which the board approved last Monday.
In response to these advertisements from CAIR, which will appear on HART buses in Hillsborough County, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) has issued the following press release:
AFDI to Launch Public Service Ad Campaign in Tampa, offering help for threatened girls and warning about Hamas-linked CAIR