A week-long series of forums discussing Islamic fundamentalism’s ties to human rights abuses and terrorism has sparked protests and charges of hate speech on college campuses nationwide.
Students on more than 100 college campuses nationwide are participating in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which organizers say is designed to “rally American students to defend their country.” Events are scheduled at schools including Princeton, UCLA, Columbia University, and Penn State.
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is the creation of Terrorism Awareness Project (TAP), a student offshoot of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Its mission, according to its Web site, is to counteract the “blame America first” crowd that dominates America’s universities. The group aims to educate students and other Americans about the “cadre of Islamic terrorists” who “have declared Holy War on the U.S.,” according to organizers.
“We are trying to arm students with the truth that they aren’t getting from the left on college campuses,” TAP President Stephen Miller tells Newsmax. “America cannot defend herself without the support of her people. If the citizens of this country don’t understand this deadly threat — its resources, its aims, its capabilities — they won’t be able to protect her and defeat our enemy.”
But TAP’s full-throttle campaign has spawned a flurry of attacks against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
A spokesman for the Council on Islamic Relations in Washington says the event spreads “hostility.”
Critics have dubbed the event “hate speech,” calling it a “campus crusade against Muslims,” and an “Islamophobia tour.”
Even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Islamic Republic News Agency is getting into the fray, issuing two press releases to help students at Columbia University protest Horowitz’s appearance at his alma mater later this week.
Protesters went so far as to plaster the campus of George Washington University with phony fliers reading, "Hate Muslims? So Do We!!!" The posters purported to promote the Islamo-Fascism Awareness event and appeared to be signed by the conservative student group GWU Young America's Foundation.
“We did not put up those posters," YAF chapter president Sergio Gor, a senior, tells the Washington Post. “Someone took our name and used it. It was hateful. It's clear when you look at the flier that this is an obvious attack from the left.”
“The only thing people should be afraid of is ignorance of the threat facing our nation,” says Miller. “We’re drawing a big distinction between Islam and Islamo-fascists. In fact, Muslims should join us. [Islamo-fascsists] killed, raped, tortured, and maimed people, and anyone who is an advocate of human rights should support us.
“Our opponents have demanded we abandon the term Islamo-fascism and instead use only vague terms like terrorism. That is ridiculous — and dangerous,” Miller says. “It's hard to defeat an enemy you're not permitted to describe. One of the points of this week is to get rid of the political correctness that handcuffs us when we talk about the threat.
“We’re not going to back down an inch to the leftist bullies. We are going to continue this fight,” he says.
TAP’s first event was an Islamo-Fascism Awareness Day last April, featuring screenings of “Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West” at 96 college campuses. From that blossomed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
Miller adds that “one of the things that makes this event so unique is David Horowitz. He approaches this as a true, in-the-trenches activist. This event is bold and different from what other conservatives are doing on college campuses.”
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