Note: FPL intern Nouf Bazaz recently led an interfaith response to Islamo-fascism Awareness Week. Below is her reflection on the meaning of the event.
David Horowitz’s Islamo-fascism Awareness Week, hosted by the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) recently concluded at universities across the nation. At George Washington University, the Peace not Prejudice campaign simultaneously launched as a peaceful alternative similarly came to a close. In the aftermath, one thing has become painfully clear: the entire campus, including YAF, played right into the hands of the political machine that will continue to churn out hate long after Islamo-fascism Awareness Week is forgotten. Several other key lessons can be drawn from the highly politicized sequence of events that divided our campus.
On Thursday, October 25th, Peace not Prejudice and Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week met in a climactic fashion. A speech by David Horowitz was juxtaposed to an interfaith prayer vigil titled “Pray for Peace,â€ headlined by six prominent religious figures and Ambassador Edward Gnehm.
When David Horowitz stepped on stage he began shouting at the GWU administration and student body in a fit of rage. He accused the president of the University of heading a “lynch mobâ€ against conservative white students and further shrieked about the treachery of the American Left. If it was not evident enough before, it now rang crystal clear: The purpose of Islamo-fascism Awareness Week had nothing to with Islam. Muslims were merely the latest in a long line of victims carved up at the political chopping block. Horowitz serves only as the overzealous errand boy behind the knife, dutifully obliging the system for paycheck after paycheck. In typical fashion, he went on to depict Muslims as violent and merciless henchmen that would bring about the destruction of the West. At the end of his diatribe he dramatically stated, “You have to understand who your enemy isâ€ or else you are “defenseless.â€
Lesson 1: Hate is the greatest weapon of war.
By accurately equating Horowitz’s words with hate speech, one serves only to strengthen Horowitz’s claims of being victimized. With this coveted “victim cardâ€ tucked safely in his pocket, he adroitly avoided and twisted every question he was asked. There was no room for dialogue.
The ending of Horowitz’s speech pushed the prayer vigil off to a late start. As a modest-sized crowd settled in their seats, the speakers made their way to the podium. Immediately hope permeated the room as they exclaimed that equipped with the message of “Peace on Earth,â€ we will move forward united. Each speaker expounded on the idea that if we truly live our lives with the understanding that all of mankind is created in the likeness of God, all outward differences, and thus sources of prejudice, fade away. Ambassador Edward Gnehm related that same sentiment to his tenure in the Middle East: Behind the deceptive veil of politics, we are one and the same.
Lesson 2: Division is merely a political artifice
As the vigil drew to a close, one of the speakers posed a question to the few dozen people in the audience: Who believes that if we were talking about hate rather than love, and division rather than unity, that this room would be full? Every single hand immediately went up.
It was undeniable that the peaceful vigil failed to draw close to the same numbers that Horowitz’s hateful speech did. Playing right into the hands of the political demon, hate conquered love. The division of our campus not only formed the crux of Horowitz’s speech but attracted reporters from across the globe. It is amid this sea of shouting voices and empty words that truth ceases to exist. Within this vacuum, the mainstream media had their story long before George Washington University heard anything about Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.
It is our responsibility to break the cycle of hate that has trickled down from the political juggernaut to our own universities. Through the darkness of the storm that inundated our campus, the prayer vigil stood as a beacon of light. In order to truly eliminate the ignorance that breeds prejudice and division, we must strengthen interfaith and cultural bridges. If you say that you love God, then you must prove it by embracing the simultaneous diversity and unity of creation.
Lesson 3: It is often the few that bring about the liberation of the many.
Islamic Alliance for Justice, President