What is the Florida Family Association?
Florida Family Association (FFA) is an anti-Muslim hate group that employs email pressure campaigns in an effort to promote anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and compel businesses to adhere to anti-Islam viewpoints.
While the organization claims “thousands of supporters,” Florida Family Association – despite what is implied in its name – is a one-man organization run by David Caton. Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Florida Family Association as an anti-Muslim hate group, while The New York Times once described the organization as a ‘fundamentalist group’.
A New York Times commentator called David Caton’s operations on FFA as “literally one dude with a poorly made Web site, one fringe individual with an e-mail list.” Commentator Daniel Ruth of Tampa Bay Times said, “The Florida Family Association is a cabal of one squirrelly little biblical bully, armed only with an email list of like/narrow-minded self-righteous fellow travelers who wouldn’t know the meaning of faith, hope and charity if they tripped over it.”
Florida Family Association received national attention in The New York Times in 2011 when Lowe’s Home Improvement and Kayak.com pulled ads from TLC’s “All American Muslim” program after a sustained campaign by FFA.
FFA’s campaign to have more companies pull their ads from “All American Muslim” would ultimately fail. Writing in The New York Times on December 17, 2011, reporter Samuel G. Freedman observed, “If there is any upside to the campaign against ‘All-American Muslim,’ it is that national scrutiny has cut Mr. Caton down to size. Several major companies that he claimed had stopped advertising — Home Depot and Campbell’s Soup — issued statements saying they had done no such thing… Mr. Caton’s broadsides have potentially created a larger, more sympathetic audience for the very series he reviles.”
Florida Family Association produced a false statistic based on its own faulty analysis of a debunked poll by the Center for Security Policy that “1.7 million Muslims in America believe Sharia is superior to the United States Constitution, and approximately 800,000 Muslims in America believe violent jihad would be justified to make Sharia superior.” FFA further alleges a conspiracy that American Muslims “have a strong interest in and plans for Islamizing America with Sharia” through Muslim organizations.
Florida Family Association frequently cites and allies with Islamophobes Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. Caton credited Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and ‘Bonni’ from Bare Naked Islam on their support in FFA’s ‘All-American Muslim’ campaign.
In 2014, FFA collaborated with anti-Muslim fridge conspiracy webpage Bare Naked Islam website and created an online form for Internet users to contact and boycott Home Depot after the company participated in cultural awareness training. Home Depot was encouraged in the training to adopt procedures aimed at better serving Muslim employees and customers, such as allowing Muslims two calendar days off work to celebrate Eid.
In 2014, FFA spread an online conspiracy “about the growing acceptance of Islamic policy and Sharia law by local officials” at Tampa, FL.
In 2013, FFA orchestrated a hate campaign against a Christian pastor who raised awareness of anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States. The pastor received “hundreds of angry emails, including the death wish.”
FFA lost some of its online influence around 2011 after Caton shut down the website following an alleged demand by a computer hacker associated with Anonymous. However, the organization has maintained an active monthly newsletter since 2004 and the webpage has since returned to the Internet.