Leader of group widely identified as anti-Muslim meets with White House

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Brigitte Gabriel of Act for America, which has been classified as a hate group, posted photos from her visit and asked supporters what topics to address

The leader of an organization widely identified as an anti-Muslim hate group visited the White House on Tuesday and described her visit as very productive.

Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese-American conservative, has written two books warning about the dangers of radical Islam. Act for America, the organization she founded, describes itself as the the NRA of national security and claims 500,000 members and 1,000 chapters across the country focused on advancing policies to protect America from terrorism.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, however, classifies Act for America as the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign over his communication with the Russian ambassador, has been on one of Acts board of advisers, according to the groups website.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Gabriel and Act for America did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

Gabriel has previously told reporters that she opposes only radical Islam, not all Muslims. Photograph: Brigitte Gabriel’s Facebook Page

Gabriel promoted her visit to the White House by posting photos on her social media accounts, but she revealed few details of what she did and who she met, which prompted outrage from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

No White House official should be meeting with the leader of a hate group that is one of the main sources of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation, the councils national executive director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement. This meeting should be canceled immediately and an explanation should be offered as to why it was scheduled in the first place.

Gabriel announced her meeting at the White House on Twitter on Monday and asked supporters what topics she should address.

The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Act for America as an anti-Muslim hate group. It cites as one example a speech Gabriel gave to the Department of Defenses joint forces staff college in 2007, in which she reportedly said that a practicing Muslim who prays five times a day cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States.

Gabriel has previously told reporters that she opposes only radical Islam, not all Muslims.

In her first book, Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, she wrote disparagingly of Americans who still refuse to accept that in the Muslim world, extreme is mainstream. Gabriel, a Maronite Christian, grew up in southern Lebanon in the 1970s before fleeing the country during its civil war: first for Israel, then for the US.

In one photograph posted Tuesday afternoon, Gabriel can be seen posing outside the White House, giving a thumbs up to the camera. In other, she is showing a large booklet of information to an unidentified man in a room with ornately framed oil paintings hanging on the wall.

Act for America has used social media before to dramatize Gabriels connections to the White House. In late February, the group posted a photo of their founder with Trump, with the caption: Brigitte Gabriel in Mar-A-Lago giving a national security briefing and look who she bumped into…Donald J. Trump!

Brigitte Gabriel is an extreme Islamophobe and leader of a known hate group. Hate has no place in the White House and she should not have an audience with the Trump administration, Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Project, said in a statement. There have been enough anti-Muslim people in this administration already enough is enough.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/21/act-for-america-brigitte-gabriel-muslim-white-house-meeting

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