A controversial University of Central Florida professor spoke before a full audience Tuesday night and warned that there is a “civilization jihad” being waged by Islamic fundamentalists on local, academic and political fronts.
“They’ll try to whitewash the crimes that Muslims have done,” said associate professor Jonathan Matusitz, speaking before an Act! Space Coast meeting of nearly 200 people in the Brevard County Commissioner’s meeting room in Viera.
Act! Space Coast was one of the citizen groups that raised questions to the school board about a ninth-grade Advanced Placement world history textbook, saying it had a pro-Islamic bias. The school board took up the issue Tuesday night.
“The first solution is awareness,” Matusitz said, citing statistics, verses from the Quran and the presentation of Islam.
Matusitz lectures on terrorism and Islam at UCF, but pointed out that his views are his own.
There were a variety of questions from the audience, including many concerned about the imposition of Islamic law and the Obama administration’s policies. One audience member stood up and advocated violence against Muslims. The event organizer later called that comment inappropriate.
The lecture drew criticism from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a national advocacy group. CAIR issued a statement Friday urging county officials to pull use of the government center room, calling Matusitz a “hatemonger.”
The Brevard County Commission routinely allows various groups to lease its facilities. “To the best of our knowledge, this group meets all of the requirements presented in the policy to meet at the Government Center here in Viera,” said Don Walker, spokesman for the county in a statement.
Roger Gangitano, the leader of the Brevard chapter of ACT!, says the intent of Matusitz’s lecture was to inform residents about the potential impact of Islamic religious law on everything from food laws to text books. We have to educate people,” Gangitano said.