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Maine Fines Group for ‘Inflammatory Anti-Muslim Message’

The Christian Action Network runs afoul of bureaucratic political correctness.

by
Patrick Poole

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June 25, 2009 - 12:35 am
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An organization in the national spotlight recently for producing a documentary identifying several dozen potential terrorist training compounds in the U.S. has offended the sensibilities of Maine bureaucrats, who have fined the organization $4,000, alleging among other things that the group sent out mailings containing an “inflammatory anti-Muslim message.”

The group in question, the Christian Action Network (CAN), received notice of the fines and the fundraising ban in a May 6 letter from Elaine Thibodeau of the State of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Enclosed in the letter was a prepared consent agreement for CAN to sign agreeing to all of the state’s allegations, waiving all rights to appeal, and agreeing to pay the $4,000 fine. As part of the consent agreement, CAN is required to agree to all of the state’s allegations, including their assertion that their mailing amounted to hate speech.

“These bogus charges and fines the State of Maine has imposed are nothing but an attempt to stifle our free speech and silence our organization from speaking out about the steady creep of radical Islam in America,” CAN president Martin Mawyer told PJ Media. “We fully intend to appeal the state’s penalties because if they successfully silence us here, we will quickly find that we won’t be able to speak out anywhere.”

CAN was in the news earlier this year following the release of their documentary, Homegrown Jihad, which details dozens of compounds across the U.S. operated by Pakistani Sheikh Mubarak Gilani, who has previously been identified in State Department reports as a terrorist leader, and his group, Jamaat al-Fuqra. The documentary looks into the past terrorist acts of the group in the U.S., including the assassination of two moderate Muslim leaders, the firebombing of non-Muslim religious facilities, and an investigation by Colorado authorities that led to convictions and lengthy prison sentences. These activities have been covered in several FBI domestic terrorism reports and a more recent assessment by the Center for Policing Terrorism. Other prominent convicted terrorists, including “shoe-bomber” Richard Reid, D.C. Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad, and NYC landmarks bomb plotter Clement Rodney Hampton-El, have been identified as former members.

But what has Maine bureaucrats roiling is a fundraising mailing sent by CAN (a copy of which was provided to PJ Media) regarding a public school curriculum used in California requiring students to pray to Allah, dress up as Muslims, adopt Muslim names, and learn the five pillars of Islam. Since Christians and Jews are not given similar accommodations, CAN encouraged their supporters to send a petition to Maine Gov. John Baldacci asking him to prevent such instruction in Maine public schools.

Among the stated allegations in Thibodeau’s letter and the consent agreement is that this amounted to hate speech, claiming:

5. The correspondence contained an inflammatory anti-Muslim message.

In two separate rounds of correspondence with Thibodeau, I inquired what basis the state used to determine that the mailing was “inflammatory,” but she refused to address that question on both occasions.

In addition to running afoul of ideological sensibilities of Maine state employees, Thibodeau makes two regulatory claims that prompted the $4,000 in fines. The first claim made by the state is that CAN was not properly registered when the mailings were sent. The second is that CAN used Maine Gov. John Baldacci’s name without his permission.

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