(CNSNews.com) -- Left-wing activists and Muslim advocates are trying to besmirch and silence the mainstream national security group ACT for America, labeling the organization an "anti-Muslim hate group," protesting against its conferences and rallies, and urging lawmakers to condemn them, according to documents from the activists and remarks made by ACT for America President Brigitte Gabriel.
"We are the NRA of national security," Gabriel, a Lebanese-American, told CNSNews.com. "We want to empower citizens to become active in their community.... We want to make sure America preserves its identity, its traditions, its Constitution, its American values, including especially the protection of freedom of speech -- preserve America in the way our Founding Fathers envisioned it.”
"[R]ight now we are seeing a coalition between the Islamic radicals and leftist organizations, both working toward the same goal – that is, silencing anyone who doesn’t agree with them, trying to impose their point of view on the rest of us who love America, and using anything at whatever cost to enforce their point of view and their vision of how America should be," said Gabriel, a best selling author who founded ACT for America in 2007, which grew out of the American Congress for Truth, founded in 2002.
Gabriel said the left-wing group Antifa "always organizes against us whenever we plan a conference or demonstration." In addition, groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), MPower Change, and Muslim Advocates have labeled ACT for America an "anti-Muslim hate group." (The SPLC has also labeled the mainstream Family Research Council a "hate group" on its "hate map" because the FRC supports marriage between one man and one woman.)
ACT for America's annual conference, held Oct. 2-3 at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., was the latest target of the left.
The event, ACTCON 2017: United Against Terror, included lectures from conservative and national security leaders, and a briefing with members of Congress, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). among other lawmakers.
However, prior to the conference, 58 leftist organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the SPLC, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), sent a letter to all the members of Congress (House and Senate) and urged them “not to legitimize ACT’s hate by attending its conference.”
“ACT for America is one of the largest and most aggressive anti-Muslim grassroots organizations in the country,” claimed the letter-signers. In addition to not participating in the conference, the letter called on lawmakers “to release a public statement” denouncing the policies of ACT for America.
Another group, Muslim Advocates, sent a letter to the president of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, and urged him to “cancel” the conference. Muslim Advocates, like the other organizations, labeled ACT for America “the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group,” in its letter.
Sorenson took no action against ACT for America. Instead, as he said during a Sept. 27 interview, his hotels also host meetings for CAIR, and “do we really want, as a society, for companies like Marriott and the peers in our industry and others to sit and make judgments or points of view on people sitting in our meeting rooms?”
“I shutter to think that we really expect that my role or Marriott’s role is to say your views are not acceptable in our hotels and that another person’s views are,” said the Marriott CEO.
The left-wing Muslim group MPower Change also acted against the conference, setting up an online petition, “Marriott: Don’t Host ACT for America’s Hate Conference.” Apparently borrowing form the SPLC, MPower Change labeled ACT for America “the country’s largest anti-Muslim hate group.”
The hostility towards ACT for America from leftists is worse today than in the past, Brigitte Gabriel told CNSNews.com, “because now the SPLC and the left are in with the Islamists.”
“When I read the SPLC writings, it’s literally the press release from CAIR, any press release that CAIR puts out,” she said. “Whether it’s the SPLC or the ADL [Anti-Defamation League], any organization, it’s basically regurgitating what is released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. We’re not reading anything new on the left other than what the Islamists have put out.”
ACT for America, which is the largest non-profit grassroots national security organization with 750,000 members nationwide, according to its website, educates citizens and lawmakers about threats to national security, including radical Islamic terrorism and related issues, such as sharia law.
“This is what we do,” said Gabriel. “So CAIR had a vested interest in bringing us down. They fought us in every area of the country.”
The ACTCON 2017 conference took place Oct. 2-3, and there were threats of protests to disrupt the event.
According to Gabriel, the U.S. Department of Justice heard threatening “chatter” about the conference and contacted the Arlington County Police Department. As a consequence, the county “put 70 SWAT officers on standby in case anything happened,” said Gabriel. In addition, there were 15 police officers at the hotel, some undercover and some in full police gear.
Also, the fire department set up water-filled traffic barriers in front of the hotel, and the lower level entrance to the subway, inside the hotel, was closed.
When contacted by CNSNews.com about the security concerns, the Department of Justice Public Affairs Officer Devin O'Malley declined to comment. However, the Arlington County Police Department said the Marriott called them about security and hired off-duty Arlington County police officers to provide extra security for the conference.
"Our concern is always the safety and security of people visiting Arlington, and we often coordinate and provide off-duty officers to venues that request them," said Public Information Officer Ashley Savage.
“Every year, organizations like ours that meet, we have to have security,” said Gabriel. “I’m a high-value target and we need bodyguards to protect our lives.”
“We were not leaving anything to chance” at this conference, said Gabriel. She added that, according to security officials, “because of the show of force and preparation, it was a deterrent, and we didn’t have a problem. People did not show up and demonstrate."
Back in September, ACT for America had to cancel 69 rallies scheduled in 36 cities in remembrance of 9/11 “because of Antifa threats,” said Gabriel. “They were calling for coming out, showing up with knives, doing, at whatever cost, whatever harm, violence against our people. They were saying they wanted to mow our people down, especially after the Barcelona attack in August.”
“The leftists and the Islamists have the same end goal: their hatred towards America and to bring down and silence free speech, which is a threat to them,” said Gabriel.
“Now they are coming out and saying we are white supremacists -- they're nuts," said Gabriel, noting that she is Lebanese, has dark skin, and is a first-generation immigrant to the United States. "This is the label they are slapping on anyone who does not agree with their radical leftist point of view. They are literally coming up with lies.”
Gabriel continued, “We are the thorn in CAIR’s flesh because we fight radical Islam and we expose radical Islamist organizations and radical organizations that are linked to terrorism. This is why you only hear about us because CAIR is driving the conversation and the talking points, ‘ACT is anti-Muslim, ACT is anti-Muslim, ACT is anti-Muslim."
“They are repeating it enough that every other publication and organization right now is using the exact same language that CAIR is putting out repeatedly,” she said. “This is all you hear.”
“We focus on protecting America from any threat that is affecting its national security and the security of its citizens, whether it’s North Korea, whether its Iran, whether its radical Islam, no matter what the threat may be,” said Gabriel. “Our focus is defending the national security of the United States. That’s who we are.”
“We want people to join us,” she added. “We want people to stand with us…. We want to make sure that America will not go down the same path as Europe, in losing its identity. Europe has become Eurabia. It is no longer the Europe of 20 years ago.”
“But Europe did not have a resistance movement,” she said. “ACT for America is the resistance movement for the United States that Europe did not have. We are building the firewall to protect America one state at a time.”
“We want to make sure America preserves its identity, its traditions, its Constitution, its American values, including especially the protection of freedom of speech -- preserve America in the way our Founding Fathers envisioned it.”