[ACT! announced Debra Burlingame will be honoured at its national conference dinner gala]
Elham Asaad Buaras
News that an anti-Islam hate group the Congress For Truth (ACT!) for America is to honour 9/11 Memorial Museum Board Member has cemented accusations that the museum is taking an extreme right-wing turn.
On June 24 ACT! announced Debra Burlingame, 46, will be honoured on September 11 at its national conference dinner gala.
Burlingame, sister of Charles Burlingame, the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, has made a series of anti-Islam comments in the past and many questioned her growing influence on direction of the Memorial Museum.
ACT! praised Burlingame’s work as “co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, a group of 9/11 victims’ relatives who called the Ground Zero Mosque, ‘a gross insult to the memory of those who were killed on that terrible day.’”
The association between Burlingame and ACT! escalates what many critics have called the museum’s increasing right-wing affiliation.
Just weeks before the museum’s opening, tensions arose over the inclusion of an Islamophobic video in the exhibit which directly linked Islam with the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center.
Among those to protest is Talat Hamdani whose son Mohammad Salman Hamdani was killed as he entered the World Trade Centre in an attempt to help the trapped victims.
Writing in The Daily Beast Dean Obeidallah, an American comedian of Italian and Palestinian descent, said his research on Burlingame “garnered Burlingame troubling results to say the least.”
“In 2010, she issued a press release denouncing President Obama’s support of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’. That place of worship, she claimed, would spread Sharia law across the United States, leading to the ‘subjugation of all free people, including secular Muslims who come to this country fleeing that medieval ideology, which destroys lives and crushes the human spirit.’”
He added: “Burlingame also recently wrote a letter attacking the Liam Neeson film Non-Stop because the hijacker in the film is a military combat veteran and ‘worse, the flight’s quiet hero who comes to the aid of the protagonist, thereby saving the day, is a Muslim doctor.’ These are just a small sample of the type of statements Burlingame has made.”
ACT! for America was founded by anti-Muslim speaker Brigitte Gabriel who claims an American Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen” and that Islam is the “real enemy.”
She once told the Australian Jewish News: “Every practising Muslim is a radical Muslim.”
She also claimed that “Islamo-fascism is a politically-correct word … it’s the vehicle for Islam … Islam is the problem.”
The New York Times stated: “[Gabriel] presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practise the religion.”