Nativism Watch

Florida County GOP Leaders Draw Criticism for Inviting Anti-Islam Professor to Speak

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jun 10, 2013

Members of the Pinellas (Fla.) County Republican Party are criticizing party leaders for inviting a professor from the University of Central Florida to give an anti-Islam speech at its meeting on Monday, June 10.

Jonathan Matusitz, whose research focuses on globalization, culture and terrorism, is scheduled to give a 45-minute speech called “The Islamic Threat to America.” According to a flier for the event, Matusitz will explain how Islam is “not a religion of peace” and how it is a threat at the “local,” “academic” and “political levels.”

Florida has long been a hotbed of anti-Muslim political expression. Just last month, a GOP-sponsored anti-Sharia bill was narrowly defeated in the state Senate in a third such attempt.

Critics from within the party say the job of the Pinellas County Republic Executive Committee (PCREC) is to win voters across the spectrum and that the Matusitz speech works against that goal.

According to one PCREC member: “The people who listen to this guy are from the crazy wing of the party. And they’re the reason why we lost the last election.”

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