Hateful emails have begun pouring into All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena after news spread that, for the first time, an American Muslim organization will hold its national convention there on Dec. 15.
"They were just dripping with vitriol and horrible hate," Rev. Ed Bacon told NBC4 on Wednesday.
The convention held by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, or MPAC, has featured speakers including Pastor Rick Warren, Sheriff Lee Baca and Congresswoman Judy Chu. Bacon said his congregation felt "called" to collaborate with the group, but not everyone has been so supportive.
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Bacon said much of the mail was prompted by Ryan Mauro, a Fox News National Security analyst and founder of the website www.radicalislam.org. Mauro has accused MPAC of "taking advantage of naïve Christians."
"This is not the type of group that we want to represent the Muslim-American community," Mauro said. "It’s just an inappropriate partner for an event like this."
Mauro accuses MPAC’s leaders of making statements sympathetic to radical groups, like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group elected to power in Egypt. MPAC’s leaders, however, say the allegations are false.
"Where is this history?" said Salam Al-Marayati, with the Muslim Public Affairs Council. "Nobody has ever shown us that there is 'this history,' somehow this conspiracy that is only in the minds of these hatemongers."
Mauro insists he is not against Muslims but he does believe that among certain groups, there is a radical effort to undermine America. And while he sees subterfuge in MPAC and the church’s efforts to come together, Bacon said it is something the church has been doing for years.
"This is what we feel called to do," he said. "It’s part of our DNA."
The church and MPAC will hold a news conference Thursday to address the recent attacks on the church.