Nashville Hutton Hotel Cancels Contract with Anti-Shariah Group

The Hutton Hotel in Nashville has canceled its contract with an anti-Shariah conference which was planned for Nov. 11, 2011. An article in the Oct. 25 edition of The Tennessean revealed that the management of the hotel said its reason for the cancellation was fear the event could attract protests and disrupt business after hotel management allegedly received calls from both the public and some of their clients complaining about the event.

A senior vice president of hotels for the Hutton’s owners, Steve Eckley of Amerimar Enterprises, claimed the Hutton hotel didn’t know what kind of event was being planned. “If this group had let us know what kind of program they were planning and who was involved, we wouldn’t have booked it,” Eckley said.

What Kind of Program, Who Was Involved & What the Hutton Knew

What Kind of Event? The Preserving Freedom conference program included workshops on the European experience with Sharia; religious persecution under Sharia, examining the lack of women’s rights under Shariah; refuting Islamist propaganda in the media; organizations opposed to mosques in some communities and other topics. Who Was Involved? The “who” is a non-threatening, non-violent group including: Lou Ann Zelenik of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition; Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller; Murfreesboro mosque opponent and Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney; former Republican Rep. Fred Grandy, who played the Gopher on the popular TV series “The Love Boat,”and talk show host Steve Gill. Who Were the Sponsors? Sponsors for the event are equally reputable, including two Christian legal groups American Center for Law and Justice, the Liberty Counsel, and the conservative website WorldNetDaily. What Was the Hutton Hotel Told? When the hotel was booked on August 29, Zelenick told Curtis Hinton, Director of Events at the Hutton, that the official title of the conference was “The Constitution or Sharia: Preserving Freedom Conference,” and that it would compare the incompatibility of Islamic law with the U.S. Constitution. According to William Murray, chairman of the Preserving Freedom conference, because the subject matter was controversial given the fact “Islam may only be discussed positively — never critically,” the Hutton made the group purchase an extra-liability insurance policy, an additional expense.

Not Some Local Anti-Muslim Group

“This is not some local anti-Muslim group,” said Murray. “This was a responsible organization of national organizations meeting to discuss the issue of Shariah law.” In an Oct. 26 press releases about the situation Murray added, “The outside possibility of a violent reaction from a small minority is no reason to cancel any conference, meeting or sports event in this nation.”

Murray stated that approximately 100 people had already registered for the event and an additional 200 Nashvillians were expected to attend, some perhaps influenced by the fact the Ft. Hood shooter was recruited to extreme Islam at a Nashville mosque.

Murray indicated this cancellation puts the conference in jeopardy and that conference organizers will “pursue all avenues to compel the Hutton to abide by its binding contract, which can’t be legally abrogated by one party.”

In a press release about the situation, Murray asked, “Would the Hutton refuse to book an event for the Council on American Islamic Relations or the Islamic Society of North America?”

Free Speech at Risk

ACT for America, an issues advocacy organization sent out an email to its members calling the Hutton’s decision an “unacceptable and outrageous action” saying, “This is the second hotel to take such outrageous action in the past week. It’s clear they are knuckling under to complaints and threats from organizations such as CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. What’s more, the hotels are in effect capitulating to sharia law provisions that suppress free speech.”

Lou Ann Zelenick of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition said the cancellation shows how great a threat Shariah law is a threat to free speech by censoring her group for its opposition to radical Islam. Murray agreed saying, “This is blatant oppression of free speech.”

Zelenick stated, “I feel the Hutton is now under Shariah law.”

What Is Shariah Law?

Shariah Law is the religious law of Islam derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed.

Hotel Manager Unavailable for Comment

I tried to talk to Steven Andre, the Hutton Hotel manager, and had not heard back from him by the time this article was posted. The hotel operator said Andre was looking at about 400 calls and was working on returning them. He indicated Andre was the only person who could issue a statement.

Anti-Shariah conference loses Nashville hotel home, The Tennessean
Muslim Terrorist Recruited & Trained in Nashville, Christian Activities
Press Release: Hutton Hotel Can’t Get its Story Straight on Why it Canceled Sharia Conference

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