Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week - “Annual” 6 month event bombs again
by Sheila Musaji
In May of 2008 when David Horowitz held his second annual Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, I wrote the following:
In October of last year (2007) when David Horowitz and his “freedom center” held the first Islamo Fascism Awareness Week on college campuses across the U.S. and Canada, the Muslim community in the U.S. was concerned about the effect this event might have on increasing Islamophobia. The American Muslim (TAM) even published a collection of articles Resources for Responding to Islamo Fascism Awareness Week. Muslim organizations published tips for handling this week, and Muslim student organizations organized an Islam Awareness Week to be held during the same time period. As it turned out, according to many reports he and his event were not particularly well received, and didn’t even make a coherent point Overall it was more hype than substance and pretty much a failure that went out with a whimper.
Whatever concern the community had turned out to have been misplaced, and as Ali Eteraz pointed out the event was “laughable”.
This year it was announced that the Second Annual Islamo-Fascism event would take place, this time in April. And, once again, one of the main features was a petition that Muslims were asked to sign. Horowitz bemoaned the fact that Muslims refused to sign his petition and saw that as “proof” of their true sinister agenda, although even many non-Muslim students refused to sign his petition.
As Matthew Yglesias pointed out about last year’s petition: “In short, the main goal of the “David Horowitz Freedom Center” here is to write up a petition deliberately designed to be unlikely for Muslim groups to sign and then to use Muslim groups’ failure to sign the petition as evidence that they’re on the side of “our terrorist adversaries.” This is a great way to go about things if you want to (a) be a campus troublemaker, (b) over the long run turn hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world into hardened enemies of the United States, and (c) create a large group of disaffected Muslims inside the United States who’ve been made to feel that adherence to their faith is unwelcome in America and fundamentally incompatible with loyalty to this country.”
One article about IFAW and the petition gives only partial information about the petition against genocide” “The charter also affirms such radical notions as: The right of all people to live in freedom and dignity, The freedom of the individual conscience: to change religions or have no religion at all, The equal dignity of women and men, The right of all people to live free from violence, intimidation, and coercion” before going on to see the refusal of Muslims to sign as a sign that they seek to “undermine the foundations of western civilization”. Actually, if the petition included only such statements as those quoted every Muslim I know would sign on with no qualms at all. The problem is that the actual petition has a lot more questionable language and makes “factual” claims that are questionable at best. Based on the full text it is perfectly reasonable that none of the Muslim students associations contacted agreed to sign the petition.
An “expose” series on Front Page attempting to point out the “dangerous” MSA’s at campuses across the country really shows up the desperation of these folks to attack Muslims on any grounds - what is the MSA of George Washington University accused of? - Cue scary music! - They regular participate in Fastathons to raise money for the poor, they objected to Islamo Fascism Awareness Week, and some of their members challenged Horowitz when he appeared on their campus for said IFAW week. What nefarious evildoing was the MSA at Columbia up to? - Go right to the theme music from “Jaws” - they objected to the Danish cartoons, and they invited Prof. Norman Finkelstein to speak on Israel-Palestine
I don’t know if Western Civilization, Democracy, or The American Way can survive such despicable students.
This year IAW was even more of a failure than last year, at Duke University for example Horowitz was only able to draw 50 students to hear his message that was “big on shock value and small on substance”, and at the University of Michigan he only had 40 in attendance.
This small turnout was even after Horowitz published ads in campus newspapers warning of the dangers of the Muslim students associations on their campuses. Some campus papers later apologized for running the ads.
Prior to the event, J. Grant Swant informs us that Horowitz upped security this year and quotes Horowitz as saying “Our campus coordinators - brave young men and women willing to go up against the radical left to get the truth to their fellow students - are working night and day against incredible odds to make the Week a success. And unless, the radical, pro-jihad groups succeed in silencing us, by the end of the week over 40 speakers such as Nonie Darwish, Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney will have appeared on campuses across the country—from UC Berkeley to Columbia; from Ohio State and Michigan.” And, Swank himself goes on to state: “Nevertheless, the more the patriots attempt to expose the Islamic cult, the more pro-Muslims post violent opposition. Bodyguards have had to be employed to surround guest speakers. Campus police have been put on high alert at every campus site.”
Give me a break - No one cares. Nothing happened. And, I wonder if the total numbers at some of these events included the bodyguards “surrounding the guest speakers”. Actually, as an American Muslim I hope that there will be a Third Annual IFAW and a fourth, and a fifth, and that Horowitz and his fellow travelers have more opportunities to show themselves for what they are - bigots!
Perhaps they should have allowed themselves more than six months between the 1st annual IFAW and the 2nd annual IFAW.
It is now November of 2008 and the annual IFAW III event was just completed at the end of October - only 5 months after the IFAW II event. It would seem that the timing of the current IFAW might have something to do with getting this in before the elections.
Once again there is little interest on campus. Horowitz spoke at the University of Texas-Arlington, and at Brown where he spoke to an almost empty room.
Horowitz is placing ads in campus papers denouncing the MSA. In fact denouncing the MSA seemed to be the theme of IFAW III which was billed as an event “to make the university community aware of the growing power of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and other campus groups that support the jihad against America, Israel and the West.”
The IFAW III was supposedly observed on 85 campuses, but that might or might not be true since last year they inflated the numbers and some of the schools listed as participating were actually not participating at all. In fact even Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University asked that their name be removed from last year’s list.
Robert Spencer also made the rounds and spoke at the University of Wisconsin, Suny Binghamton North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Scranton, Stonybrook University, and East Tennessee State on Islamo-Fascism.
Daniel Pipes spoke at Washington University to an audience of only about 50 people (actually the audience for the lecture and the protestors outside were about the same number). In fact, we had more people than that at a panel about the event the following week. Ohio University and Lehigh University showed “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” as a part of their local IFAW. George Washington University featured Nonie Darwish as a speaker.
Equating an entire religion with fascism just doesn’t have the audience its promoters hoped for - at least not among the literate. And, perhaps if this “Islamo-fascism” thing is really the most important danger facing the U.S. and still Horowitz can justify a small turnout by reference to a competing football game - then perhaps most of us just don’t see things his way. However, I still hope that they continue to try, try, and try again and spend a great deal of time and money in their attempt to reach less and less people with their hateful message. From October of 2007 to October of 2008 they managed to get three “annual” events mobilized. Perhaps they can double that between now and October of 2009, or perhaps they will find a real job.