What do you do when a known hate group wants to hold a meeting at your hotel? I recently received a press release from Muslim Advocates. The group describes itself on its website as a “national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.” One of its goals is to “counter anti-Muslim hate by challenging bigotry and hate crimes.” There is certainly nothing wrong with that.
What Muslim Advocates was concerned about was a meeting at a Marriott hotel in Crystal City, Va. earlier this month. The meeting was planned by Act for America, a group Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group because they push anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and believe that Muslims “cannot be loyal citizens of the United States.” Some hotels refused to host the group but the Marriott hotel agreed to do so. Publicity surrounding the meeting, certainly exacerbated by other recent national news events, prompted Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson to defend his hotel chain’s decision to host the nation’s largest anti-Muslim convention.
Sorenson said, “I shudder to think that we really expect that my role or Marriott’s role is to say your views are not acceptable in our hotels and that another person’s views are…I know someone will say, ‘That’s a cop out.’ There are points of view that are wrong. I believe that. [There are] many that I personally believe are wrong. But I don’t think it’s practical or constructive to say you’ll be the one to make that judgement.”
I visited the Act for America website which claims 750,000 members. Its primary issues include: confronting terrorism, preserving the constitution, securing the border, energy independence, empowering women and protecting children, and standing with Israel. One of the books pushed on the site is entitled, “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.” I have not read the book or really dug into the site but you get the general idea right away about their views.
If the Ku Klux Klan called to book a meeting at your property, would you welcome them? Perhaps it all comes down to what you call your group? Things can get fuzzy for a meetings manager when you call yourselves “Act for America.”
What do you think? Where do you draw the line when it comes to hosting known hate groups? I would love to know your opinion. Leave your comment here or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.