ADC Leads Effort Against Hate Campaign on Campus
Washington, DC | October 19, 2007 | www.adc.org | In September of this year, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) learned of a campaign called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” (IFAW). After investigation, ADC determined the campaign, although touted as educational, does nothing more than spread hate and fear of Arabs and Islam by spreading false, hateful, and biased messages.
As a civil rights organization, ADC values the principle of free speech. However it believes hateful speech cannot be condoned and should not be allowed to permeate American campuses. The post-9/11 United States has seen a dramatic increase in hate crimes targeted against Arabs and Muslims or those perceived to be so. Events such as IFAW do not seek to further the discussion in a peaceful manner, but rather contribute to the prejudicial anger and hatred targeted against Arabs and Muslims in the US.
Boasting a list of speakers known for their anti-Semitic and Islamophobic remarks, IFAW organizers ask students participating in the campaign to disseminate presentations such as “The Islamic Mein Kampf.” They also try to connect Islam with fascism and Arabs and Muslims with Nazis. In his blog, David Horowitz, the director of this initiative, proclaims that Palestinians are the “quintessential Islamo-Fascists” and that their cause is “genocidal.”
ADC contacted the administrations of all the institutions that were listed as hosting IFAW. In letters to university presidents, ADC informed these institutions that they were listed as host institutions for IFAW, and expressed concern about the campaign. ADC received responses from numerous universities indicating that after they thoroughly searched student activity calendars they found no events scheduled. Moreover, many went on to inform ADC that they disapproved of hate speech being promulgated on their campuses. These institutions were upset that their names had been listed, without their knowledge or consent, by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. These universities have asked for their names to be removed from the IFAW websites and lists. One public university official said, “We as an institution endorse an educational atmosphere with open dialogue and free speech which promotes a diverse political and intellectual community. However, we do not wish to participate or endorse a program which does not further the discussion in a peaceful manner, but rather contributes to the prejudicial anger and hatred targeted against Arabs and Muslims in the US. We are deeply troubled that a group (Terrorism Awareness Project) would organize and support this type of hateful and bigoted event. “
ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “ADC firmly believes that there is, and should be, open and frank discussions on college campuses regarding all issues germane to the academic setting, particularly with a diverse range of opinions present,” Shora continues, “However, ADC is seriously concerned that such a notorious lineup of racist, bigoted, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic speakers will serve not to educate but to promote hatred and spread misinformation and lies. Let us not forget that these are the same lies that have lead, and continue to lead, to hate crimes and attacks against minorities including African-Americans, Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and others based on stereotypes. The points of view espoused by this campaign are not ones that belong in any reasonable debate as it serves to promote hatred of an entire religion or ethnic origin.”
ADC has since been contacted by organizations representing a diverse range of religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds in opposition to this campaign of hate and intolerance. Speakers listed as appearing on campuses where IFAW is taking place include: David Horowitz, who has made racist statements such as “guns don’t kill black people, other blacks do”; Ann Coulter, who recently stated that Jews “need to be perfected” (for more information, please visit: https://www.adc.org/index.php?id=3201 ); Rick Santorum who has compared homosexuality to incest; Robert Spencer who claims Islam is “the world’s most intolerant religion”; and noted anti-Arab commentator and Islamophobe Daniel Pipes who once said that “Palestinians are a miserable people?and they deserve to be.”