Faith Leaders from Southern California held a news conference Thursday at All Saints Church in Pasadena. They expressed unity and support for the annual convention of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) scheduled to take place there on Saturday December 15. All Saints Church has received numerous emails attacking it for hosting the convention.
"It's all been hate mail," Senior Pastor Edwin Bacon said at the news conference. " It's been vile and vituperative and quotable and very embarassing that people would say what they say in these emails, but we've not received any threats. "
The faith leaders sought to turn the negative emails into something positive for the convention, and for their mission of promoting unity among people of differnt faiths. MPAC Senior Advisor Maher Hathout thanked the "hate mongers" who sent the emails "because they are not pushing back, but pushing us forward." Salam Al-Maryati, president of MPAC, echoed that sentiment on a very practical note.
"The hate mongers have made our convention relevant so we saved on the marketing budget, so some of the money will now be transferred to extra security," Al-Maryati said, causing the faith leaders behind him to chuckle.
He added that MPAC has been in contact with law enforcement agencies like the FBI, the federal Department of Homeland Security, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Pasadena Police to work on enhanced security for the one-day event.
MPAC started hosting annual conventions in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Past speakers have included world-renkowned evangelical leader Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Orange County. This year, U.S. Representatives Judy Chu and Mike Honda will speak.