A Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony will focus on banning the Council on American-Islamic Relations from Hillsborough County Schools.
Brandon resident Terry Kemple, president of the Community Issues Council, a Christian political group, has joined forces with the Education Coalition, the Tampa 912, the Tampa Tea Party and the Pinellas Patriots to host a daylong remembrance and protest rally.
Kemple became a vocal opponent of permitting members of CAIR to speak in Hillsborough County classrooms after learning that Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa CAIR chapter, made a presentation to a world history class at Steinbrenner High School last year. Kemple and other opponents assert that CAIR is linked to terrorism and is attempting to radicalize high school students.
CAIR denies any link to terrorism. Its website says it is an organization created to challenge "stereotypes of Islam and Muslims" and provide "an Islamic perspective on issues of importance to the American public.”
In April, Kemple and fellow CAIR opponents urged the school board to adopt more stringent policies on who it allows to speak to students.
However, the school board declined to change its policy on school speakers.
Tuesday's Sept. 11 remembrance will begin with a prayer vigil at Joe Chillura Park, across from the Hillsborough County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.
The prayer vigil will be followed at 1 p.m. by a rally to oppose CAIR in the classroom and a press conference at the Hillsborough County School Board, 901 E. Kennedy Blvd.
At 3 p.m., members of the Education Coalition, a grassroots group opposing CAIR’s presence in schools, plans to present a formal policy to ban CAIR to the school board.
Then, at 5:45 p.m., the anti-CAIR groups will gather at River Church at 3738 River International Dr., Tampa, off Interstate 75 near the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard exit, to hear from speakers including FishHawk Ranch resident and 23-year Navy Intelligence officer Frank Wuco. Wuco was a member of U.S. Central Command’s “Red Team,” which researched Middle Eastern threats and doctrine. He currently is a radio host for WFLA 970 AM, specializing in Middle Eastern issues.
Other speakers include Frank Gaffney Jr., former National Security adviser to Ronald Reagan and Fox News commentator; Valrico resident and Hillsborough County School Board member Stacy White, the only school board member who opposed CAIR speakers in the classroom; Daris Long, father of Pvt. William Long who was murdered by Carlos Bledsoe, a Tennessee State University student who converted to Islam; Bledsoe's father, Melvin, who will discuss how his son was indoctrinated and then sent to Yemen to train with Al Qaida; Guy Rodgers, executive director of ACT! For America, a grassroots organization devoted to combating the threat of radical Islam; and Dr. Charles Jacobs, founder of Americans for Peace & Tolerance.
The day’s remembrance will conclude at 6 p.m. with a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony and a screening of “Losing Our Sons,” featuring Bledsoe and Long’s stories.
“This documentary about two fathers who lost their sons to terrorism is extremely touching as they share their pain,” said Kemple. “ It’s also chilling when we think that these aren’t the only parents who will face this tragedy if we the people don’t recognize the danger and take action."