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As we prepare for the holiday season, it’s hard to believe that 2008 has nearly come and gone already. Less than 14 months ago we launched ACT! for America, and we now have close to 50,000 members and nearly 230 local chapters.
I believe that, years from now, historians and political scientists studying the radical Islamist threat to America during the early 21st century will ask themselves this question: Why didn’t America follow in the path of Europe and Great Britain? Why didn’t America become like “Eurabia?”
And when they do, they will find the answer by looking at ACT! for America. They will look at this organization, founded in 2007, and when they chart its growth they will see how ACT! for America successfully pushed back against the Islamofascist threat.
As the ancient proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well, in charting our growth for this year it’s undeniable that together we took a BIG step forward towards the completion of that very important journey.
In January we launched a petition and legislator-contact effort to help get “Rachel’s Law” passed in the New York state legislature. You may recall “Rachel’s Law” was introduced to protect New York authors from intimidation lawsuits filed against them in foreign jurisdictions. Thousands of you signed the petition and/or contacted New York legislators, and in late March the bill passed and was signed into law. The momentum from this victory led to the introduction of similar legislation, entitled “The Free Speech Protection Act,” in the U.S. Congress.
Also in January we posted, for the first time, a listing of our local chapters on our website. By late summer we more than doubled the number of active chapters listed on our website.
In April we commissioned a nationwide scientific poll, part of the “120 day plan,” to test voter opinion of numerous issues related to the threat of radical Islam. This random sample survey of 800 registered voters revealed that as many as 89% of American voters agree with our concerns about issues such as preventing the spread of shariah-compliant financing and de-funding terrorism. To our knowledge many of these questions have never been asked in such an opinion poll, and we have been able to use the results to better shape our legislative agenda and our educational outreach.
In the spring, with the help of the erstwhile leadership of former board member Jerry Gordon and our colleague Joseph Shahda, some key terrorist websites were taken offline by their American internet service providers. Later in the year this “dynamic duo,” working closely with the staff of Senator Joe Lieberman, helped bring about a new policy at Google/YouTube, which will no longer allow the posting of videos depicting terrorist acts perpetrated against Americans.
In March news stories reported that a charter school in Minnesota, the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), appeared to be engaging in impermissible promotion of Islam at its taxpayer-funded school. Through email alerts, the actions of our central Minnesota chapter, and other efforts aimed at the Minnesota Department of Education, we called on the Department to take action. It did, launching an investigation of the school. The investigation resulted in the Department of Education issuing two citations to the school for violations of law.
In May we launched our “PC (Politically Correct) Outrage of the Month” award, where we highlight a particularly noteworthy politically correct treatment of Islam.
In June we launched a nationwide petition calling on Congress to convene hearings to review extremist materials that have been found in American mosques, a petition we will present to the new Congress in early 2009.
In early August we learned that a Tennessee Tyson Foods plant had negotiated a labor contract with its employees that removed Labor Day as a paid holiday and replaced it with Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday closing the month of Ramadan. In response to an email action alert we sent out, countless ACT! for America members called and emailed Tyson Foods to object to this action. Three days later Tyson Foods issued a press release reinstating Labor Day as one of its paid holidays and removing Eid al-Fitr as a required paid holiday for all employees.
In early September we unveiled our first “congressional scorecard.” This scorecard tracked nearly 50 votes on key issues in the U.S. House and Senate going back to 2003. With a few clicks of a mouse anyone was now able to find out how any U.S. House or Senate member voted on legislation and amendments relating to national security and Islamic terrorism.
Also in September we held our first “Citizens in Action” training conference in Chino Hills, California, with nearly 200 people in attendance. As one attendee put it: “This was truly THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT I have ever attended.”
In October we unveiled the ACT! for America 2008 Voter Guide. This voter guide effort was unprecedented in that we sought the positions of over 1,100 candidates for President, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate on issues, such as Islamic shariah law and shariah-compliant financing, that have never been publicly debated in the halls of our national government.
My new book, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It, released in early September and made the New York Times bestseller list in eight days. In the last two chapters ACT! for America is profiled as the centerpiece for an aggressive call to action to our nation.
Just this month we launched a project that takes direct aim at the infiltration of shariah-compliant finance into our society. On the heels of the recent financial crisis on Wall Street, shariah-compliant finance poses an immediate and extremely serious threat to our economic well-being and our freedoms. You will hear a great deal about this effort in the weeks and months to come.
As you can see, we’ve had a very busy and very productive first full year – and this list only hits the high points of our projects, activities and accomplishments.
So I want to thank you for all you did to help make all of this possible. When you forwarded one of our emails, or made a contribution, or contacted a chapter leader, or took action on one of our action alerts, you helped move us forward. You helped make these accomplishments possible. We are steadily growing, and our collective voice is getting stronger and harder for politicians to ignore.
In 2008 we won some victories, but this is only the beginning. Our journey has begun, but we’ve only taken the first step. Tomorrow, we’ll look at some of the challenges that lie ahead and how we can take the next steps toward securing the blessings of liberty and prosperity to the generations that will follow us.