To the disappointment of Jewish leaders, a speech by the former chairman of a neo-Nazi group will go on as planned.
A day after a lawyer representing an Islamic group said William Baker probably would not appear at a gala Saturday night, Mohammad Jawad Al-Qazwini said Wednesday he didn’t plan to cancel Baker’s speech.
“The decision made on our behalf to bring Mr. Baker was not against the Jewish community,” said Al-Qazwini, the imam of the Boca Raton-based Assadiq Islamic Educational Foundation. “He will be strictly speaking about the prophet Mohammed. He will be strictly speaking about the Islamic faith.”
Al-Qazwini said he is continuing to investigate Baker’s background and might decide to cancel the speech at the celebration of the birthday of Islamic prophet Mohammed at the event at the Boca Raton Marriott Hotel.
“It’s still not certain if he’s coming or not,” he said. “We’re still in the process of due diligence.”
However, those familiar with Baker said they can’t imagine why a background check would take so long.
“A two-minute Internet search would have revealed who they were dealing with,” said Rafael Medoff, director of the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Melrose Park, Pa. “Mr. Baker has a long track record of extremism, anti-Semitism and associating with Holocaust deniers.”