A protestor at an Act for America rally in Seattle faces counter-protestors in June.
Ted S. Warren / AP
A leading Muslim-American legal advocacy group has asked the president and CEO of Marriott International to drop the annual conference for the country’s largest anti-Muslim group at a Virginia hotel in October.
On September 11th, Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization, sent a letter to Marriott International’s president and CEO Arne Sorenson, asking the world’s largest hotel chain to honor their stance on diversity and inclusion by canceling Act for America’s annual conference.
Scott Simpson, the group's public advocacy director, told BuzzFeed News that Marriott International has confirmed receiving the letter but that no action has been taken since.
The conference, labeled “ACTCON2017,” is scheduled to be held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington, Virginia on October 2nd and 3rd. Expected speakers at the conference are former Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson, and Walid Phares, President Trump’s foreign policy advisor during the presidential campaign.
“Your past statements on behalf of LGBTQ equality, for humane immigration reform, and your recent comments that ‘symbolism is wrong’ on the Muslim ban show your understanding of how bigotry and discrimination are not only wrong, they are bad for business,” Simpson wrote. Speaking about the ban on a company conference call in February, Sorenson said “across much of the world” the travel ban “is a really big deal” and that the “that the symbolism is wrong.”
In the letter to Marriott, Simpson also noted the hotel chain’s 2010 decision to cancel an event by a white nationalist group.
“Declining to host ACT for America would help to ensure that Marriott International does not fall behind other companies and would be true to your company’s stated commitment to inclusivity,” Simpson concluded in his letter to Sorenson.
Marriott International and Act for America didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
ACT for America's founder, Brigitte Gabriel, at the White House.
Brigitte Gabriel / Via Facebook: ACTBrigitte
Brigitte Gabriel — who once said “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” — founded the group Act for America in 2007. She has since embarked on a tireless campaign against what she says is the threat posed to the US by Islam and Muslims.
Act, which has been labeled an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, claims to have over half a million members and over 1,000 chapters. Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn — who President Trump fired as national security adviser for lying about communicating with Russia — called Islam a “cancer” at an ACT meeting and is a member of the group's board.
In March, Gabriel had a meeting with a member of the Trump administration’s legislative staff at the White House. In June, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ACT held “march against Sharia” rallies in cities across the US.
“The leftist Islamic coalition is waging war against the rule of law and against you and me. That's why I need you by my side as we descend on Washington DC,” Gabriel says in a promotional video for the group's annual conference.
“We cannot sit back any longer watching our Judeo-Christian culture under assault in every way,” Gabriel added, then went on to praise the president and the vice-president, stating that Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour and billionaire George Soros “do not want to reform America, they want to destroy it.”