January 31, 2017
The Council on American-Islamic Relations enforced a longstanding ban against Breitbart News on Monday by ejecting editor Neil Munro from a press conference criticizing President Trump’s immigration order.
CAIR announced at its press conference in Washington, D.C., that it had filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Trump’s executive order restricting citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from travel to the U.S.
Munro, who had already taken a seat and opened his laptop, was ordered to leave the conference before it even started, CNN reported.
“This is America,” Munro responded as he filmed the interaction with his cellphone. “We have freedom of speech, freedom of movement.”
An organizer then explained that it was a “private event” and threatened to call the police.
“I respect property rights. I respect freedom of speech,” Munro relented.
“Then you’ll please leave,” replied Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR.
“By the way, is this my first, second, third or fourth time being thrown out of your press conferences?” Mr. Munro asked.
“I’ve lost count,” Hooper replied. “Now that you’ve got enough for your blog, you can go.”
Munro shot back, “It’s only 45 million unique visitors per month,” CNN reported.
Hooper told CNN that the exchange was nothing new. Breitbart News, whose former CEO Stephen Bannon now serves as the president’s chief strategist, has been critical of CAIR for years and the Muslim organization has a longstanding ban against Breitbart reporters at its events.
“Very often at our news conferences, we have agent provocateurs or representatives of hate sites on the internet who show up to disrupt or cause problems,” Hooper said. “We regard Breitbart as one of those anti-Muslim, white supremacist websites that we don’t allow at our news conferences.”
Breitbart News responded to the exchange later Monday in an article calling CAIR a “jihad-linked” organization.
“Breitbart has frequently noted that the CAIR group is so closely entwined with Islamists and with jihadis that court documents and news reports show that at least five of its people — either board members, employees or former employees — have been jailed or repatriated for various financial and terror-related offenses,” Breitbart News reported.