Members of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) are slamming Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his office staff for declining to meet with them during National Muslim Advocacy Day on Monday.
USCMO, which is a coalition of American Muslim advocacy groups including Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has been setting up a meeting between Muslim community leaders and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss issues affecting American Muslims.
The group reportedly tried to schedule time with the Texas senator’s office.
“We traveled all the way from North Texas to come and meet with our elected officials,” said Alia Salem, executive director of Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of CAIR. “I know they have things they have to do, but what I’m concerned about is the complete and utter shutdown, not finding one legislative aide to meet with us.”
By comparison, several other lawmakers agreed to meet with the coalition.
The activists also posted a video expressing their disappointment over the Republican’s behavior.
“This is indicative of what a Cruz presidency would look like,” Salem said later during a press conference. “He has made clear in the media what he thinks about Muslims, how he plans to treat them, and today in his day job, he exhibited no less.”
Meanwhile, the White House hopeful’s foreign policy adviser and notorious Islamophobe, Frank Gaffney, said the event was organized by the groups “associated with Islamic supremacism.” He accused USCMO of being “the latest in a long series of front organizations associated with, and working to advance, the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.”
Since Gaffney, who is a former Reagan era Pentagon official, heads a think-tank promoting bizarre conspiratorial theories against Muslims, his rhetoric on its own isn’t very surprising. But considering the fact he now represents the man who could very well be the next president of the United States, his statement is nothing short of disturbing.
Oussama Jammal, the secretary general of USCMO, also condemned Gaffney’s hate-mongering, anti-Islamic stance.
“Someone who’s running to be president of all Americans and [the fact that] his office refused to meet with Muslim constituents from Texas sends a message that the American people deserve to know who this candidate is and what he plans to treat Americans under his presidency,” he told The Hill. “It is unfortunate that this kind of Islamophobic rhetoric continues to run. We are as American as anybody else, and this is our country, and we advocate for issues that are important for us.”