Atheist Group Targets Government Endorsement of Islam

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president Freedom From Religion Foundation - The Capital Times archives
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president Freedom From Religion Foundation – The Capital Times archives

It may come as a surprise to many, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) doesn’t just attack the Christian religion when it comes to perceived violations of church and state. The atheist group, based in Madison, WI also targets any type of government endorsement of Islam.

The co-president of the FFRF confirmed to Christian Action Network that their agenda of keeping a wall between church and state includes the same wall between mosque and state.

Annie Laurie Gaylor gave examples of numerous times their focus was on Islamic indoctrination or inappropriate Islamic observances under a public funded authority such as schools and universities.

She said that their work is focused on violations of the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution regardless of what religion stands to benefit from such violations.

According to FFRF, government sponsorship of religion could lead to religious tyranny.

“The bottom line is I would be absolutely horrified to live under an Islamic theocracy,” Gaylor said. “It’s important to add that I would be just as horrified to live under a Christian theocracy.”

Gaylor said that of the high volume of complaints that flood into their offices, they find very few that mention Islam.

FFRF challenged Muslim Prof Daoud Nassimi (pictured) promoting Islam during class at Northern Virginia Community College.

“We are an equal opportunity non-profit,” she said. “With less than one-percent of the population being Muslim, fewer complaints are to be expected. Most violations come in about the majority religion, Christianity.”

Gaylor noted that if the 70-percent majority of the population were Islamic, their organization would be mainly tasked with challenging Islamic instances of “violating the Mosque-state wall of separation.”

She estimated that complaints against Islamic religious encroachments into the secular sphere gravitate to areas where Muslim populations are higher in proportion.

“They tend to be populated in Muslim majority areas, places such as Dearborn Michigan,” she said. “We handle more than 5,000 complaints each year, (overall) so we tend to be very busy.”

“We revere this nation’s founders and their wisdom, creating the first country ever that is not founded on some religious hierarchy,” she said. “Religion should not be a part of government.”

Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network, said, “It will probably shock our Christian friends to learn that FFRF has taken many aggressive actions against state-sponsored Islamic programs and activities.  At least they’re not just singling out Christian programs and activities.

“Of course, I think they are way off base on their interpretation of the First Amendment and what type of religious activity, symbols and programs are legally permissible. For instance, their lawsuit to have the Bladensburg Cross removed in Maryland is far-fetched and extreme.”


In March of this year, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision to remove the 90-year-old cross that was erected to honor fallen veterans of WWI.

“But unlike a lot of other liberal activist groups,” Mawyer added, “FFRF is at least consistent when applying their anti-religious zeal, and not just singling out Christians with their lawfare.”

Some of the violations involving minority religions that the Freedom From Religion Foundation took action against include:

  • A Muslim college professor challenged for promoting his personal religion in class.
  • Protests of a Buddhist shrine on public land in California.
  • Letters to the mayors of Philadelphia and Dallas for hosting Iftar events to honor Ramadan.
  • Letters to public libraries that planned on closing for the Dalai Lama.
  • A complaint about Islamic prayer “rooms” in a New Jersey school.
  • Clearing confusion on the law about accommodating Muslim students in public schools in Frisco, Texas.
  • Notice of unconstitutionality to a Brooklyn elementary school about an Islam-emphasis play that portrayed the importance of having faith during difficult times.

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