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Church to host anti-Shariah conference

MADISON, Tenn., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A Madison, Tenn., church agreed to host a Nov. 11 anti-Shariah conference after a Nashville hotel canceled a contract to hold the event.

The (Nashville) Tennessean said the conference will be held at Cornerstone Church, which agreed to host it after the Hutton Hotel in Nashville canceled the contract, citing concerns about protests and safety.

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The conference, which had been called the Preserving Freedom Conference, now has a new name: Constitution or Shariah: A Freedom Conference.

Conference organizers accused the hotel of censoring their views on Islam, The Tennessean said.

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Organizer William Murray said 300 people have signed up for the event, more than had registered before the cancellation.

But Pamela Geller, who was to be the headliner, has backed out because the event isn't being held at a secular venue.

Geller, who runs the Atlas Shrugs anti-Islam blog, said in an e-mail: "While I have nothing against speaking in a church per se, I refuse to have my message driven from the public square. … Right now I'm more concerned with the marginalization and ghettoizing of our message of freedom. I am not going to consent to the attempts of the left and Islamic supremacists to drive our defense of freedom from public spaces."

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The Rev. Maury Davis of Cornerstone said he decided to host the conference so he can learn more about Shariah law and its impact on American culture.

"I am not going to have any hate speech," Davis said. "And I define hate speech as inciting people to hurt people or mistreat people."

Shariah law is the religious law of Islam derived from the precepts set forth in the Koran and examples set by the Prophet Mohammed.

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