Tennessee Tea Party won't drop speaker from Gatlinburg convention

Tennessee Tea Party won't drop speaker from Gatlinburg convention

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GATLINBURG (WATE/AP) - The Tea Party Coalition says it has no plans to remove a speaker after an American-Islamic organization objected to her views on Muslims.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the organizers of this weekend's Tennessee Tea Party Convention in Gatlinburg to drop Pamela Geller's presentation titled "The Threat of Islam."

Geller is the head of a group called Stop Islamization of America.

Washington-based CAIR said in a release Thursday that it objects to Geller because her websites includes claims that "Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam" and images depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a pig.

"Pamela Geller has the right to free speech. She has the right to be an anti-Muslim bigot. We just think if the Tea Party wants to be a mainstream political movement, it really shouldn't be giving an official platform to hate mongers like Pamela Geller," Ibrahiam Hooper, of CAIR, said.

Geller fired back, questioning CAIR's alleged ties with terrorist organizations like Hamas.

"CAIR is trying to get good, decent Americans in the Tennessee Tea Party to crush free speech by dropping me," Geller wrote in her blog.

Geller said she's standing up for the freedom of speech and has always promoted women's rights.

"I don't consider myself a hate group. I consider myself a love group," Geller said. "I think it would be well served if people would investigate CAIR and see what their background is, see what their terror ties is and it has all been documented at the Holy Land trials. Go through the documents and you would have a different opinion of who was throwing the accusations."

"We are honored to have her come and speak and educate concerned Tenneesseans on the threat of radical Islam," said Mark Herr, an organizer of the Gatlinburg convention. "We support the first amendment whole heartedly without any political correctness persuasion>"

Nearly 2,000 people are expected at this weekend's tea party event.

6 News Reporter Harlow Sumerford contributed to this report. Some portions of this report copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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