Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk

The Truth About Islamo-Fascism Hurts

Nov. 19, 2007

The thugs and hooligans who disrupted Horowitz’s speech do not belong on a university campus. (Professor Harvey Klehr, to the editor of Emory Wheel, Emory University) 

My most difficult task in writing this book was living daily with the knowledge it provides of the enormous damage that several generations of tenured radicals have inflicted on our educational system; and of being cognizant of the unrelenting malice that so many of them hold in their hearts for a country that has given them the great privileges and freedoms they enjoy as a birthright. (David Horowitz, The Professors, p. xlviii) 

David Horowitz switched sides several decades ago by breaking with his erstwhile Marxist comrades to become an eloquent defender of freedom.  He now heads the David Horowitz Freedom Center, where he has made no friends among the Left especially those in the academic world.  

He has been active via an organized campaign to expose the hypocrisy of universities who boast of their central role in advancing the free flow of ideas and opinions, whereas many of them have become breeding grounds of intolerance and political correctness.

(The story of that campaign is told in Horowitz’s The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, cited above) 

Tackling the Lion’s Den

Obviously, Horowitz is no stranger to controversy, frequently in the form of vitriolic attacks. His latest campaign to tell the truth in the halls of the American academy took place during the week of October 22-26, 2007 at a series of meetings at more than 100 American universities and colleges. The theme of these events was “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.”  The sponsor was Horowitz’s Freedom Center assisted by the Young America’s Foundation and the Leadership Institute. 

The purpose of the speeches was to urge the Muslim Students Association and others to break with all Muslim organizations, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, which seek to establish a global Muslim empire, to protest the violent oppression of women in Islam, to strengthen those on campus who reject the prevailing anti-American curriculum, while calling for an alternative one. 

Some of the most public (and controversial) figures, besides Horowitz himself, spoke at these public meetings, including Robert Spencer, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, Dennis Prager, Steve Emerson, Cliff May, Phyllis Chesler, Ibn Warraq, Michael Medved and Daniel Pipes.  A brief film shown at these events made shockingly real the execution style shooting of a burka-clad woman who had run afoul of the Taliban moral purity enforcers.  

Well before the actual meetings took place, an array of campus leftist and pro-Islamist organization unleashed an invective-loaded attack on the Horowitz-led campaign.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) sent letters to all presidents of colleges hosting these events urging them to rescind their permission to hold these meetings at their facilities.

These groups organized a counter-protest at the Washington Monument, which they called “American Fascism Awareness Day.”  Sponsors included  the ADC as well as the Revolutionary Communist Party. The latter’s spokesperson announced: “ This is an answer to the Jew Horowitz and the neo-conservative Zionists who dragged us into an imperialist war and are spreading hatred against Muslims to support their war plans against the Republic of Iran.” 

At many of the meetings the protesters tried to create havoc that sometimes made it difficult for the speakers to complete their talks.  They were interrupted and shouted at, called racists, bigots and Islamophobes. But at all of the planned meetings, except one, eventually the speakers were able to deliver their message, though in some cases the protesters had to be removed by police.  

Attacking Dissent and Critical Thinking

On Monday, October 22, Horowitz was able to complete his speech at the University of Wisconsin. Although  Kevin Barrett, conspiracy theorist  (the U.S. government staged 9/11) grabbed a floor mike and shouted that 9/11 still needs to be investigated. The audience, including many critics, began a rather rude Wisconsin football chant, the sheer volume of which  blew Kevin Barrett out of the room.”  Horowitz continued: 

I want to thank everyone here, including my detractors for restoring order. This just shows how easy it is to destroy - even if it was only momentarily – the fabric of a conversation. I will open these mikes for questions afterward, hopefully not rants, but actual questions. I find when I am in conversation with someone I strongly disagree with and I have plenty of friends who are on the other side, for example, of the Iraq war issue, I always learn - even if I am not persuaded by their arguments – that there are people on the other side of these debates who are very passionate and very emotional, who are sincere in their beliefs and who are committed to their country and its democracy. I hope that some of my opponents here, if we can manage to keep this at a civilized level, who will also come away with that kind of impression and who will think about these issues in a new way. That’s the whole idea of having this conversation. 

But things did not go as well two days later when Horowitz tried to present the same message at Emory University.  The lecture hall was packed with a cross section of students, professors and other members of the community. But they also included such organizations as Amnesty International and the Muslim Students Association, as well as the National Project to Defend Dissent & Critical Thinking in Academia. 

 Protesters waved signs and yelled insults and questions at Horowitz, accusing him of being a racist and bigot, a supporter of Hitler, and in favour of torturing and murdering people. When a University official warned the protesters that they risked being forcibly removed, they shouted “Everyone stand up, they can’t take us all,” and “Stand up in solidarity.”  The disruption intensified and became so chaotic that even the police were unable to subdue the crowd. The meeting came to an abrupt end, and Horowitz was led off stage. 

She Won’t be Silenced

Nonie Darwish, author of Now They Call me Infidel and founder of Arabs for Israel spoke at the UC Berkeley campus on October 23. Afterwards she said that the animosity she encountered made her feel that without the extensive security protecting, she would have been physically hurt. The first statement to her from the Al-Jazeera representative was: “You are the most hated woman in the Arab world.” She responded: “Arab media spread a hate campaign after my book came out…. I believe Arab media is trying to misrepresent my views in order to silence me.” 

She was met with shouts of racist and fascist. At one time the noise was so loud that she could not continue. Though the protesters were obviously trying to intimidate her into giving up, she eventually managed to complete her speech. She gave a riveting account of growing up in Egypt where she experienced first hand the suppression of women, and then her excitement and gratitude at finding freedom and openness in the U.S. 

 Her great disappointment came when she found that many American Muslims are hard at work to spread their concept of radical Islam in the U.S, while they cleverly exploit the generosity and naiveté of the American public and many officials.  

She said that the deception is phenomenal, enabling Islamists to push Wahabi Saudi values in America; values that she had never even seen in Egypt. But then she told the audience: “I have not come to America to become a Wahabi Saudi.” In closing she threw out this challenge to her critics: 

 If Islam is a religion of peace then we must demand better from our religious leaders. We’ve had it with the self-anointed intolerant Ayatollahs, Mullahs and Sheikhs who act like Allah and silence speech by issuing Fatwas of death. I ask the support of the American Left. You should be our natural allies because we are the reformers and defenders of freedoms in the Middle East. 

In looking back at the rude and vicious treatment she received, she said: 

The sad thing about this whole event was the feeling that radical Muslims and their far Left supporters would rather never criticize Islamic culture than stand up against the culture that flogs, stones, beheads and amputates limbs. Not offending a religion has become more important to the far Left  (unless it is Christianity or Judaism) than human rights of Muslims and victims of terror…. 

American universities are becoming tyrannical when it comes to Conservative values and to Arab Americans who dare to speak out against the culture of jihad.  It does not matter how people in my early life in Egypt suffered from honor killing, female genital mutilation and oppression of women. 

Donna M. Hughes, Professor at the University of Rhode Island’s Women’s Studies Program, spoke on “Women’s Rights and Political Islam.” She left no doubt about her stand against what she called “a major threat to world peace and freedom,” carefully unpacking certain key terms used in this debate: Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic extremism, Islamo-Fascism, Islamism, and Radical Islam.  And she urged her audience to appreciate the freedoms they enjoy to learn more about women who live under sharia law, and then to help these women in their struggles. 

Hughes added an interesting dimension to this week’s campaign by telling of her experience while teaching in England in the mid-1990s.*  

The Message Got Through

In reviewing what happened during this Islamo-Fascism Awareness  week’s activities, Horowitz  pointed out that the message had reached many in addition to those who attended the meetings. Many more had been reached via the Internet; at the end of the week there had been 644,000 website references to this campaign. There were also many reports in the print as well as the broadcast media. 

Horowitz paid tribute to the speakers who showed courage in the face of the slander and attacks they knew would result from exposing radical Islam, now in alliance with American leftists “who regard it as their political task to run interference for America’s enemies.”   

But he said that he was especially proud of the students who braved the fiercest attacks from within their own campus community. He wrote: “Without their willingness to stand up and be counted, there would have been no Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.”  Here is Horowitz’s summary of the impact as well as the reaction of the critics to these public events:  

The week of October 22-26 witnessed the largest, most successful campus demonstrations by students not associated with the anti-American left in the history of campus protests. 114 college and university campuses participated in “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” which highlighted the threat from the Islamic jihad, and the oppression of women…. 

In response, anti-American leftists and organizations supporting the Islamic jihad organized a national campaign of vitriol and hate that was almost unprecedented. This campaign revealed the lengths to which the anti-American left will go to prevent the public from discussing the nature of the holy war that has been declared on them. 

These shocking events demonstrate  how extraordinarily brazen and threatening the enemies of freedom operate quite openly in the U.S. Their gall has no bounds as they promote one of the most tyrannical religious systems, while resorting to threats of violence and brutal character assassinations of those who thoughtfully defend our traditional freedoms, and do so in a civilized manner. 

*More information about these events can be found at FrontPageMagazine.com.

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