Commentary

Story on anti-Muslim meeting highlights Dan Forest’s controversial connections as he prepares to challenge Cooper in 2020

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

As Joe Killian’s blog post from earlier this morning highlights, Greensboro journalist Jordan Green had a disturbing story over the weekend about a group of troubled Triad-area conservatives who recently gathered to discuss their passionate — even violent — opposition to Islam. At the public meeting, attendees discussed, among other things, a supposed surreptitious plot by “moderate Muslims” to take over the United States. At least one attendee talked openly of “killing the hell” out of Muslims.

An interesting side note to the story was the self-identification of one attendee with the national anti-Islamic activist group, Act for America (a group that proclaims itself “the NRA of national security”). Although the person who identified himself as a member of the group apparently tried to calm down an attendee who was talking openly about killing Muslims, he also at one point indicated that he could “understand” the man’s point of view.  This makes sense since Act for America is a group that the watchdogs at the Southern Poverty Law Center describe as”far and away the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in America.” The group’s founder and leaders has publicly stated that:

“[A] practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah … who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States.”

It is also an organization that once employed Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s Chief of Staff, Hal Weatherman as its National Communications and Marketing Director. This makes sense, of course, since Forest is a crusading soldier of the religious right and an ally of  hateful Islamophobes like Franklin Graham and Steve Noble.

According to a statement his boss made in New Bern over the weekend, Weatherman could also be working for the Governor of North Carolina before too long. Forest told attendees at the Craven County Reagan Day Dinner that he plans on being Governor in North Carolina in 2021 — presumably as the result of running for the office against Roy Cooper. This statement comes despite Forest’s claim that he prays for Cooper and that “I want him to do a good job and I’m not going to be spending my four years battling Roy Cooper.”

There was no word from Forest or Weatherman on how many times per day it would be permissible for Forest to pray before his loyalty to the country could legitimately be subject to question.

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