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A campus crusade against Muslims

October 19, 2007 | Page 12

NICOLE COLSON reports on David Horowitz's plans for a week of Islamophobia on university campuses.

COMING SOON to a college or university near you: A crusade of racist hate against Arabs and Muslims, featuring some of the right wing's most vile figures.

Beginning on October 22, conservative groups on more than 200 campuses will hold "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week"--an invention of David Horowitz, the self-appointed chief of the new campus thought police, that is being billed as the "biggest conservative campus protest ever."

Horowitz--a former leftist turned hard-core right-winger--sees communist and Islamic plots to take over America lurking on every campus. In the past, he has organized witch-hunts against progressive academics and attempted to introduce legislation that would enforce "codes of conduct" that would silence left-wing voices on campus.

Now, he's organizing his tour to expose what he calls "the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat."

According to FrontPage Magazine, the online publication run by Horowitz, the goals of the tour include: "To explain who the enemy is...a fanatical religious movement associated with the Muslim Brotherhood"; "to protest the violent oppression of women in Islam"; and "to strengthen those on campus who reject the anti-American curriculum of the tenured left."

What else to read

The Campus Progress Web site has "Know your right-wing speakers" archive with useful information about many of the right-wingers featured during Horowitz's Islamophobia week.

The Campus Antiwar Network Web site has information about organizing against Horowitz's crusade.

There are several ongoing campaigns of scholars against Horowitz; see Teachers for a Democratic Society and Free Exchange on Campus Web sites. Two media watchdog groups that keeps tabs on Horowitz are Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and Media Matters for America.

For an examination of Horowitz's right-wing record, read "The witch-hunts of David Horowitz," by Dana Cloud, a University of Texas associate professor who was named in Horowitz's book on the "101 most dangerous academics in America."

One of the best exposés of Horowitz and his witch-hunt is The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, by a reformed ally of Horowitz, David Brock.

 

A petition from the misnamed David Horowitz Freedom Center demands that "students and faculty...declare their allegiances: either to fighting our terrorist adversaries or failing to take action to stop our enemies." In a throwback to McCarthyism, right-wing students are encouraged to issue press releases condemning those who refused to sign.

But just who are the "Islamic fascists? According to FrontPage, they include the Muslim Student Association, which has chapters on hundreds of U.S. campuses--and the Council on American Islamic Relations, which advocates for civil rights and tracks hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims.

The right wing's rhetoric about "Islamic fascism" is really about repackaging the U.S. government's increasingly unpopular Middle East wars by identifying a current enemy with something everyone opposes--fascism.

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THEN THERE'S the collection of bigots and crackpots that Horowitz has recruited to speak for Islamophobia week.

Ann Coulter is one. After September 11, she was fired from her job at the highly conservative National Review for her comment that the U.S. "should invade [Muslim] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

In 2004, on Fox's Hannity and Colmes, Coulter reiterated her stance. When asked if she would still "like to convert these people all to Christianity," Coulter replied, "The ones that we haven't killed, yes." "So no one should be Muslim?" Alan Colmes asked. "They should all be Christian?" Coulter replied, "That would be a good start, yes."

So much for the lines in the Freedom Center's petition about the "right to have no religion at all" and the "right of all people to live free from violence, intimidation and coercion."

Another featured speaker on the tour is Rick Santorum. As a former senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum never hesitated to push right-wing Christian views, including sponsoring amendments to promote the teaching of so-called "intelligent design" theory in competition with evolution.

As for Horowitz's solemn talk about the "equality of dignity of women and men," Santorum was one of the staunchest opponents of abortion rights in the Senate, opposing the right to choose in virtually every case--including rape, incest and when the health of the woman was at stake.

Second-rate talk radio host and movie critic Michael Medved will also speak at several Islamophobia week events, apparently to repeat his tired complaint that a "liberal Hollywood elite...ignores--and assaults--the values of ordinary American families."

In 2002, Medved helped make the case for a war on Iraq, claiming that "all humanity--especially the 200 million Arabs who suffer under the fanatical oppression of their own regimes--will benefit from a sweeping U.S. victory and an increase in American influence" in the Middle East. Thus far, Medved hasn't explained how the estimated 1 million Iraqis killed in the U.S. invasion and occupation have benefited from a "U.S. victory."

Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity will also turn up at several tour events. According to Hannity, if so-called "Islamo-fascists" are the main enemy, liberals are a close second--as is obvious from the title of his book Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism and Liberalism.

When the story broke about U.S. service members torturing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Hannity questioned whether the photos had been faked by the Democratic National Committee.

This rogue's gallery of right-wing speakers--Horowitz not least among them--shows what "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" is really about: Whipping up hatred of Arabs and Muslims, and providing a justification for U.S. wars to dominate the Middle East in the interest of oil and empire.

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