Controversy has come to the FAU campus in the form of William Baker, an alleged neo-nazi, and his organization known as C.A.M.P. (Christians and Muslims for Peace).
William Baker and members of C.A.M.P. were invited to speak to students and faculty at Florida Atlantic University by the university’s Muslim Student Organization, but due to protests by local Jewish organizations the event has been “postponed” and may be rescheduled for a future date.
Raising hatred in the name of religion is absolutely discouraged by any country and their heads, speaking to a full house of student’s from the Florida Atlantic University get more info, where discrimination is made to address only a percentage of other religion and address the crowd to bring about comparison and conversion in name of faith and peace did not go too well with the administration.
Baker is the founder and president of C.A.M.P., a nonprofit organization made up of Christian and Muslim men and women, that claims to promote peace and understanding between the two religions. But in 1984, he was chairman of the Populist Party, a neo-Nazi organization that was established by Willis Carto, a political racist who denied the Jewish Holocaust ever took place.
Baker claims that he never supported the views of Carto. Yet at his 1984 convention for the Populist Party, Baker endorsed the restoration of segregation laws. He also expressed anti-Semitic views in his 1982 book about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Theft of a Nation,
Baker was invited to speak to the Muslim Student Organization on Saturday about the similarites in Christian and Muslim beliefs and history, and how they can come together in peace. Baker says the world needs C.A.M.P. because 54% of the world’s population is Christian and Muslim.
In October of 2003, Baker was invited to speak at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia by the Muslim Students Association. His attendance created such a disturbance between Jewish and Muslim students that the presidents of the two student groups decided to issue a statement of unity which declared that they would “rise above perceived differences” and “inspire peace in our world.”
Steve Mendelsohn, chair of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County can’t understand why the MSO would invite Baker to a scholarly seminar when he isn’t even a scholar.
“The true nature of this man is not a scholar. He is not a Muslim. He is not a scholar. To invite him to a scholarly seminar and program is a mockery. Giving him credit when he has none is abhorrent.”
It has also been revealed that most of Baker’s academic history was made up. He claims to have a doctorate, yet all he has been able to produce is proof of a bachelor’s degree from Ozark Christian College. He also boasts of being nominated for a Noble Peace Prize in 1997, and being appointed in 2001 as Ambassador of Peace by Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon.
Mark Medin, Florida Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League says it is hard to understand why the MSO would invite Baker in the first place.
“We respect the university’s First Amendment issues and any student organization has a right to invite who they choose, but from our perspective, we hope that the University Administration would condemn his views. There must be some sense of negative intent.”
Bill Gralnick of the American Jewish Committee agrees.
“This is a guy who is making a living being the white spokesperson for Muslim extremists. He gets to say what he wants and the Muslims get to have a non-Muslim say what they want.”
However, when Aileen Izquierdo, Director of Communications at FAU, was told about Baker’s history, she said, “Regarding individuals who may come to campus with controversial backgrounds, the university will stand for the person to come here and uphold the First Amendment, but what the person says does not reflect the university as a whole.”
Muneer Arafat, Imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton says he can’t comment on Baker’s past because he is not familiar with it and does not wish to punish someone for their past. “But,” he says, “if he could bring points of conflict together, I encourage it. However, if he raises hatred among two or three groups, then it should be discouraged.”
In 2003, there were 1,557 anti-Semitic occurrences in the nation. In Florida alone, there were 102 incidents, an increase of almost 10 percent, according to the ADL.
Izquierdo says Baker could still be given the opportunity to speak at the school.
“For now it has been postponed. The students hosting this event did not have enough time to fully organize the event properly.”