A Florida group has sued a Delray Beach hotel for the last-minute cancellation of its April conference featuring Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.
But the real targets of the litigation aren't named in the suit, acknowledges Tom Trento, director of the Florida Security Council. His group wants to learn who, if anyone, pressured the Delray Beach Marriott to pull the rug out from underneath the council's Free Speech Summit.
"By this lawsuit we intend to find out who was really behind that cancellation," Trento said in a videotaped statement on the group's website.
Wilders' views on confronting radical Islam make him a controversial figure. He advocates banning the Quran. In a speech last week, he called for limiting immigration from Muslim countries, deporting those Muslims who violate the law, closing "all Islamic schools for they are fascist institutions" and freezing construction of new mosques. He has been denied entry into Great Britain in an attempt to appease radical Muslims and deny him free speech while jihadists calling for death to America and to Jews were receiving visas into the country.
He has been embraced by some as a free speech hero for his stance and for the resulting efforts to silence him. The April Florida Security Council event is not the only incident of a hotel withdrawing from a reservation at the last minute. In May, Nashville's Loews Vanderbilt hotel dropped reservations from a group called the New English Review to hold a symposium which was to feature a speech by Wilders via video link.
According to the Nashville Post website:
"Tom Negri, managing director of the Loews Vanderbilt, told NashvillePost.com this morning that no group had contacted him encouraging him to cancel but that he and the corporate office canceled the event 'for the health, safety and well-being of our guests and employees.'"
The Florida Security Council lawsuit, and exhibits including its correspondence with the hotel, can be seen here.