Gabriel — who once said “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” — founded the group ACT for America in 2007.
The White House said that it did not have any information regarding a meeting with Gabriel.
BuzzFeed News reported in September 2016 that ACT for America has been classified has a hate group by several organizations that track extremism, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn — who President Trump recently fired as National Security Advisor for lying about communicating with Russia — called Islam a “cancer” an an ACT meeting and is a member of the group's board.
The possible meeting comes as the Trump administration is under fire for banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries — a federal judge put the presidential order on hold — and for restricting electronics on flights for people traveling from 10 major airports in the Middle East. Trump, while he was a candidate, said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
ACT boasts 300,000 members in 1,000 chapters nationwide and has built a political operation around its ideas. As BuzzFeed News's David Noriega reported:
“They embody this idea that Islamophobia is not fringe,” said Kalia Abiade, advocacy director for the Center for New Community, which monitors what it calls “organized bigotry” and has tracked ACT for America nearly since its inception. “Their positions might be extreme, but they are not a fringe movement. They have really good relationships with lawmakers. They’ve got members of Congress speaking at their briefings. In terms of direct impact, I don’t know who else would compete with them.”
Once persona non grata because her views were considered so extreme, Gabriel is now welcomed by senior US officials who share her vision of Islam as a cult-like ideology that's a threat to national security. Trump repeatedly has called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is on the record as saying the Western world is engaged in an existential battle with Islam. Cabinet member Ben Carson has said a Muslim shouldn't be allowed to serve as president — a prospect that's unconstitutional. Senior adviser Stephen Miller has been attacking what he calls “Islamofascism” since his college days.
“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,” said Nihad Awad, the national executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, 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.”