The first national Women’s Convention in 40 years opened Friday, featuring speakers who could not condemn female genital mutilation, who called white women “awful”, and who said they are more afraid of Israel supporters than “the mentally ill young people the FBI recruits to join ISIS.”
An offshoot of the Women’s March, a protest that hit the streets following Donald Trump’s inauguration last January and led by radical activist Linda Sarsour, the Women’s Convention in Detroit features prominent progressive activists and Democratic Party politicians.
Among the big-name legislators, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, are set to make appearances. Democratic PAC EMILY'S List President Stephanie Schriock was also scheduled to speak.
However, proclamations of liberation and support for women’s rights have not been followed by some of the convention’s confirmed speakers, who have expressed anti-women views and made borderline anti-Semitic comments.
Seydi Sarr, a self-proclaimed social justice activist in Detroit, once refused to condemn the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) as “heinous and barbaric” during a discussion about a Michigan doctor who is charged with performing FGM on around 100 minors in a Muslim sect.
“Well, is male circumcision heinous and barbaric?” Sarr asked in response to a FOX2 Detroit journalist’s question about whether she considers FGM performed on girls brutal and backward. “Commonly, (male circumcision) not seen as being heinous and barbaric and people grow commonly in general to accept male circumcision as not being heinous and barbaric,” she said.
In the same interview, she also failed to agree that performing FGM should be a crime in the U.S. “It's not about thinking shouldn't it be a crime or not be prosecuted,” she said, adding the issue of whether the practice must remain criminal “is not even being discussed.”
Dr Zuhdi Jasser, President of American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), called Sarr’s equation of female genital with male circumcision “absurd” and “offensive” in an interview with Fox News.
“FGM is FGM. Even the identification of it as circumcision is abhorrent to me. Not only as a Muslim, but as a physician. It’s not circumcision,” said Jasser, an expert on FGM.
Sarr did not respond to Fox News’ requests for a comment.
Zahra Billoo, an executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and another speaker at the convention, voiced seemingly hateful views towards Israel and those supporting it, going as far as to say “I don't think we can work on civil rights together in the US” if someone supports Israel, which she called “baby killers.”
CAIR has long been accused of being an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and was named in 2007 along with 300 other organizations as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case on funding extremist group Hamas in Gaza.
“I'm more afraid of racist Zionists who support Apartheid Israel than of the mentally ill young people the FBI recruits to join ISIS,” Billoo, a close friend of Sarsour, wrote on social media, floating a conspiracy that the FBI recruits young people to join the Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.
Billoo did not respond multiple requests for a comment.
Another confirmed speaker at the Women’s Convention in Detroit is Rosa Clemente – an activist who was Green Party Cynthia McKinney’s running mate during the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
She has followed Billoo’s lead in attacking the Jewish state and made numerous anti-women remarks as well as blaming white women for perpetuating “racism/patriarchy” for staying silent about movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment allegations.
“Yes white women sure did do that. They are awful,” Clemente wrote after a social media user pointed out that Trump got elected with women’s votes. In another tweet, she said she will not attack non-voters for Clinton’s defeat in the election, adding: “I will blame the secret white women racist vote, not so secret anymore.”
Despite criticizing Trump for misogyny, Clemente also described Hillary Clinton as “anti-feminist, Wall Street-loving, coup-facilitating, Zionist-loving warmonger,” in a tweet dated January 2016.
Recently, she criticized “white women” for attacking the leaders of the Women’s March, saying that the same white women were “silent for decades regarding Weinstein” and perpetuate “racism/patriarchy.”
Clemente responded to a request for a comment, but did not address the comments she made on social media, instead accusing this reporter of “editorializing” and saying that she does not “explain myself in any regard when it comes to Fox News.”
The remarks from the speakers could cause concern for attending Democratic legislators, such as Stabenow and Gillibrand, who always affirmed their unequivocal support for the Jewish state.
“My record makes it clear that I am one of the strongest and most consistent supporters of Israel in the Senate,” Gillibrand wrote in the Forward magazine, adding that “Israel is one of the most vibrant democracies in the world.”
Fox News has reached out to the Democratic lawmakers and other Israel supporters participating in the convention, revealing the comments made by the speakers. Only one response has been received condemning the attitudes.
“I have stood in strong support of our immigrant community and have denounced anti-Semitism and other sentiments and practices,” Michigan Rep. Brenda Lawrence told Fox News in a statement.