Bloggers’ Threats Force Muslim Retreat to Relocate

January 1, 2006

Source: St. Petersburg Times

On January 1, 2006 the St. Petersburg Times reported, "Chantal Carnes didn't recognize herself. A friend had e-mailed her a blogger's article. It described Carnes as a supporter of terrorists, a fan of suicide bombing... Carnes, a Chicago resident who converted to Islam 11 years ago, was scheduled to speak at a spiritual retreat for Tampa Muslims this weekend... On Dec. 27, blogger Joe Kaufman began writing about an event he called 'a jihad retreat for children.' Over the course of the week, he wrote that Carnes was 'well known in the radical Islamist American community'... Meanwhile, calls were also coming into Cedarkirk camp and conference center in Lithia, where the retreat was to be held. The Rev. Debbie Bromkema, a Presbyterian minister who runs the Cedarkirk center, called the Sheriff's Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to ask if there was any truth to the allegations against Carnes and [Mazen Mokhtar, the reatreat's other speaker]. 'They informed us there was nothing about the scheduled speakers or this group that would not allow (them) to come on retreat,' she said. But after the calls became threatening... she decided to close the camp for the weekend."