On top of its epic struggle to understand the First Amendment, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has now shown that it apparently doesn’t understand elementary trespassing law.
On October 1, Samantha L. Bowden, CAIR’s communication and outreach director in Florida, drove about 80 miles from Tampa, Fla. to Orlando, Fla. to “stalk” University of Central Florida (UCF) professor Jonathan Matusitz by impermissibly sitting in one of his scheduled classes, according to the website Family Security Matters.
“As I started teaching my class, I noticed that a female stranger was sitting at the back of the classroom. That person never asked me if she could enter my class and sit in the back of the classroom,” Matusitz explained, apparently in a police report.
“When I approached her, that person introduced herself as Samantha. Because Samantha is not one of my students, I asked her to leave. In the beginning, she was insisting to stay in my class. I had to ask her a few times before she finally left.”
Matusitz said he realized that Bowden works for CAIR not long after she finally left.
“She is based in Tampa,” the professor added. “She is not a UCF student and never was a UCF student.”
A profile by SaintPetersBlog notes that Bowden is a registered Democrat who spent time volunteering with Rock the Vote and was a “prominent Occupy activist.” She majored in international affairs and geography at the University of South Florida. One day, she hopes to visit the Middle East.
Florida law prohibits trespassing on the campuses of state universities. A specific UCF regulation prohibits trespassing and loitering. “Only students registered for a class may be in attendance in instructional areas unless permission of the instructor is given,” it reads.
CAIR has quite a history of trying to intimidate Matusitz, a tenured communications professor. The Muslim civil liberties group doesn’t like Matusitz’s argument linking Muslim culture to radical Islamic terrorism.
In August, CAIR asked government officials in Brevard County, Fla. to deny the use of a county-owned meeting room to a group hosting a speech by Matusitz. CAIR called the group, ACT! for America, “an anti-Muslim hate group.” (RELATED: CAIR tries to ban professor’s speech on ‘The Islamic Threat to America’)
ACT! for America is a conservative organization that bills itself as standing athwart the threat posed by radical Islam.
CAIR representatives told the Orlando Sentinel that an exception to the First Amendment should be made for Matusitz’s speech.
“This individual makes statements to incite violence against the Muslim community, so I think that the line has been crossed,” explained Hassan Shibly, a lawyer and executive director of CAIR of Tampa. “ACT! is an extremist group no different than the KKK. And if the KKK wanted to use that room, there would be a protest.”
Doug “Ibrahim” Hooper, CAIR’s national communications director, piped up, too.
“It creates the perception of endorsement and approval by the Brevard County government of this group’s hateful views,” he said.
According to his faculty webpage, Matusitz has a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He claims 95 academic publications and more than 100 conference presentations. Also, in 2010, he taught at a NATO-affiliated military base in Belgium.