A group of around ten women in Muslim headscarves crashed the RightOnline conference for about ten minutes Saturday, protesting what they said was an incident targeting Muslim women Thursday night.
The event was the latest spark kicked up by the proximity of Netroots Nation and RightOnline. The two conferences are blocks apart — RightOnline is being held in a hotel many Netrootsers are staying in — and interaction between the progressives at Netroots and the conservatives at RightOnline has been inevitable.
A spokesperson for the group of women told TPM they weren’t sure of the identity of the man responsible for the Thursday incident — when two hijab-wearing women were followed by a man with a cell phone camera who reportedly asked them why they were dressed the way they were "in America" — but rumors that the incident involved an employee of conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart were rampant at Netroots.
A few points. It wasn’t a “flash mob” – at least not as I understand the term. I stood on the second floor balcony, watched them arrive together. I then watched a person, who I assume was John Aravosis, interview one of them for at least 10 minutes and then I watched them ascend the elevator and go up into the RightOnLine crowd.
All of this action based on a rumor that it was an “employee” of Breitbart involved in asking someone why they were dressed the way they were. Not fact – rumor. Unfortunately for them, all they drew was curious stares from the crowd. No confrontations, no heckling, no nothing.
I’m not sure why TPM felt compelled to make of this much more than it was, but then I always find it interesting to actually witness something as it happens and then read the report in what passes for the left’s media.
The spokesperson for the "flash mob," Allison Nevitt, told TPM that there was a larger message to their protest beyond the Thursday incident, which Nevitt said had been reported to Minneapolis police.
"The point was mostly that Muslim women are an equal part of this nation, and that we have an equal right to exist here," Nevitt said.
Is that the point? Well other than a rumor, who at RightOnLine denied it?
Headed home from the Twin Cities meetup. Sitting in a truck stop cafe typing this on the iPad. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Met a lot of folks, saw a number I knew, heard Bachman, Cain and Pawlenty. More on that later.
Long road trip but definitely worth it. There’s 30years of road warrior in me that needed this. There’s also the fact that one can get isolated and a little disconnected from life and reality sitting in a house or office daily writing about what one reads or sees on TV.
So it’s nice to get out and see a bit of the country and people again.
That means 12 states in a week. Call it a “grounding” experience. Makes you remember what a vast, beautiful and great country we have.
By the way, if you’re ever near Little Chicago south of Minneapolis (off I-35), stop into The Steer for breakfast. Get the “Trucker’s Special”. Good stuff.
The conference has a full list of breakout sessions that are quite interesting. I’ve attended two now, both fairly basic, but they’re on “tracks” meaning that subject will be built upon as the day progresses and you follow the track through to its conclusion.
I’ve run into some friends and acquaintances here and its good to see them. But the vast majority are obviously strangers. I’m wondering though whether this is more regional than an event like CPAC.
One interesting thing going on concurrently is the left is holding Netroots Nation right across the street and a good number of them are staying in the hotel in which RightOnLine is being held.