Robert Spencer's scheduled appearance casts a negative light on what should be a positive event. Is this the type of person with whom the Kolbe Academy and Catholic homeschoolers in California want to be associated?
A free exchange of opinions is necessary, as is the stipulation that those opinions will (and should) differ. In liberal democracies, however, political discourse should also contain the core principle of fairness, and that involves the abjuration of violence.
Among those partaking in Indiegogo's services is the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an organization classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. They are using the platform to raise money for another batch of anti-Muslim ads.
Often, when Muslims in the U.S. reference "the community," they are alluding to fellow co-religionists. Perhaps there is a silver lining to the anti-Muslim hate ads: an opportunity to redefine the traditional parameters of that reference to encompass so many more.
In many ways, CPAC is caught in exactly the same bind as the Republican Party. The party's leaders know that to survive in the long term it must moderate its positions and expand its base. But they're still in the grips of an extremist fringe that just won't let that happen.
Opponents of Islam claim it denies freedom of speech and censors those who insult Islam. This is factually incorrect. After all, the Prophet Muhammad called differences of opinion a blessing in society and never sought to censor or threaten those who verbally attacked him.
We must say a collective "no" to the shameful campaign to stigmatize and scapegoat our fellow Americans of the Muslim faith. By taking that stand, we re-affirm the credo of our nation's founders -- that all Americans are equal and are worthy of being be treated with respect.
Jihad, Jihadi, jihadist, even -- most ridiculous of all -- counter-jihadist. These labels are used by laypeople and journalists alike, often using jihad as a synonym for "any violence undertaken by Muslims." So what does jihad really mean?
Each of us can decide whether we will feed conflict or feed peace. As Americans, we can play the role of bridge-builder, innovator, bringing together parties in conflict -- to listen to the pain and grief that are embedded in stories currently in circulation.