On college campuses across America this week, conservatives are gathering together to listen to right-wing luminaries such as Ann Coulter and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) as part of David Horowitz’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
Horowitz is claiming that it will be “the biggest conservative campus protest ever” and “a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses” about “the enemy.” But on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this weekend, Kareem Shora, the Executive Director of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, said that Horowitz was dramatically overstating the number of participating schools:
We contacted those institutions, alerting them to the fact that their name was being used, and wondering what exactly was taking place. … It’s important to note though, after we contacted those institutions, most of those institutions indicated that no such events is taking place on those campus. And many contacted the sponsors and told them, “do not use my institution’s name in your campaign,” including some very renowned universities such as Yale and Princeton.
Shora also said that the president of Liberty University, the evangelical school founded by Jerry Falwell, also had their name removed from Horowitz’s list. Watch it:
Horowitz’s efforts have come under fire from critics, who say it will spread “racism and religious hatred” through the use of a loaded political phrase like Islamo-fascism. Others, such as Middle East expert Juan Cole, say that “Fascism is not even a very good description of the ideology of most Muslim fundamentalists.”
Former CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid has said that “even adding the word Islamic” is counterproductive to keeping extremism “from becoming mainstream.”
The tactics encouraged by Horowitz and his followers, however, are intentionally fashioned to stoke negative reactions from moderate Muslims “as evidence that they’re on the side of ‘our terrorist adversaries.'” For instance, Horowitz is distributing a “student guide” that encourages participants to draft offensively-worded petitions in an intentional effort to stir divisiveness on campuses by forcing groups to “declare their allegiances“:
Perhaps most importantly, a petition forces students and faculty to declare their allegiances: either to fighting our terrorist adversaries or failing to take action to stop our enemies. For this reason, we encourage you to make a special effort to bring this petition to those groups who might be least likely to sign it, for example to campus administrators, student government officers, and the Muslim Students’ Association.
UPDATE: Campus Progress has a crib sheet for debunking conservatives during Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
UPDATE II: Today’s TPMtv runs down the “clownish” background of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
UPDATE III: At the conservative blog Blackfive, Uncle Jimbo gives Horowitz’s speech yesterday a very negative review after Horowitz berated the audience by telling them, “I guess you just aren’t able to read” and “I don’t know what to do if you can’t add two and two and get four”