ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — Despite backlash from Muslim civil rights organizations, a Hyatt hotel location in Crystal City has agreed to host an anti-Muslim group's conference in September, DCist reports.
The Virginia Beach-based group, ACT for America, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), will host their annual conference on Sept. 4 and 5 at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City.
According to DCist, ACT for America's founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has previously made anti-Muslim statements, including: "[a] practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States."
A group called the Muslim Advocates started a petition, as well as a social media campaign, calling for the Hyatt brand to stand down and turn ACT for America away next month, stating the following on their website:
"Hyatt has 'justified' hosting the conference by claiming it 'does not unlawfully discriminate against groups who wish to hold lawful meetings at the hotel.' But Hyatt is misrepresenting the law — there are no laws in Virginia or at the federal level that require a hotel to host a hate group like ACT for America."
DCist reports ACT for America claims to have 750,000 members in the United States, which the SPLC says is "likely exaggerated."
DCist also reports the group organized nearly two dozen "anti-Sharia" marches in 2017 and has bragged about their ties to advisers of President Donald Trump.
The Huffington Post first reported about Hyatt's decision to host the conference in February.