Islamo-Facism Awareness Week: Ideological trick?

The URI Republicans is one of the groups across the nation currently taking part in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

As the group puts it in a news release:

The week of events is being launched on over 200 campuses throughout America under the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and has been featured on shows like Hannity and Colmes on FOX News and The Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Advertisement online and both on and off campus has been aggressive, and protestors are expected to attend all events.


Chairman Ryan Bilodeau commented, “Through indoctrination in the classroom, the political left on campus has repeatedly shown that they value winning their offensive political war against George Bush more than winning the defensive war against Islamo-Fascists.  This week’s events will give students the other side of the story: one that should be frightening to us all.”


The week’s events are aimed at teaching an alternative curriculum that will arm students against the radical jihad, strengthening those on campus who reject anti-American curriculum of the tenured left, protesting the violent oppression of Women in Islam, countering the left’s big lie that George Bush created the war on terror, and explaining who the enemy is.

Considering how our own government says the war in Iraq has worsened the threat posed by jihadist terrorists, onw has to question assertions by Bilodeau and other Republicans in support of the White House's execution of the war.

Btw, a protest is planned for tonight, at 7 pm, at URI's Memorial Union Ballroom, to take a stand against Robert Spencer, the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, who is described by his critics as Bush propagandist. [see reader comment below.]

There's plenty of legitimate criticism, of course, to be made about Islamic fundamentalism. Yet is Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week more of an ideological campaign than anything else?

Barbara Ehrenreich says,

In this special week, organized by conservative pundit David Horowitz, we have a veritable witches' brew of Cheney-style anti-jihadism mixed in with old-fashioned, right-wing anti-feminism and a sour dash of anti-Semitism.

A major purpose of this week is to wake up academic women to the threat posed by militant jihadism. According to the Week's website, feminists and particularly the women's studies professors among them, have developed a masochistic fondness for Islamic fundamentalists. Hence, as anti-Islamo-Fascist speakers fan out to the nation's campuses this week, students are urged to stage "sit-ins in Women's Studies Departments and campus Women's Centers to protest their silence about the oppression of women in Islam."


Leaving aside the obvious quibbles about feminist pro-jihadism and the term "Islamo-Fascism," which seems largely designed to give jihadism a nice familiar World War II ring, the klaxons didn't go off for me until I skimmed down the list of Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week speakers and found, incredibly enough, Ann Coulter, whom I last caught on TV pining for the repeal of women's suffrage. "If we took away women's right to vote," she said wistfully, "We'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream; it's a personal fantasy of mine."


Coulter is not the only speaker on the list who may have a credibility problem when it comes to opposing oppression of women in Islam or anywhere else. Another participant in the week's events is former Senator Rick Santorum, whose book, It Takes a Family blamed "radical feminism" for pushing women into the workforce and thus destroying the American family. A 2005 column on that book in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, began with: "Women of America, I hope you look good in a burqa. If Senator Rick Santorum, R-PA, has his way, we will all be wearing the burqas discarded by our recently liberated sisters in Afghanistan..." (This was the before the Taliban re-emerged.)


Not quite in the burqa-promoting league, but close, is another official speaker for the week, Christina Hoff Sommers, who has made her name attacking feminism for exaggerating the problem of domestic violence and eliminating opportunities for boys. These are the people who are going to save us from purdah?


Another disagreeable feature of jihadism -- anti-Semitism -- is also represented on the list of speakers for Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week, again by the multi-faceted Coulter. Just last week on CNBC, she referred to America as a "Christian nation." Asked where this left the Jews (not to mention the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and atheists), she said they could be "perfected" by converting to Christianity.


You might imagine that this view of Jews as "imperfect" would bother Horowitz, who is famously alert to any hint of anti-Semitism on the left. But no, he defends Coulter, writing that "If you don't accompany this belief by burning Jews who refuse to become perfected at the stake why would any Jew have a problem?" Sure, David and if that's the threshold for intolerance, Osama bin Laden could probably win an award for humanitarianism.


Maybe none of this should be surprising. When Mel Gibson, who is not known to be a member of the Hollywood left, unleashed a drunken anti-Semitic tirade on his arresting officers, Horowitz also rose to his defense, arguing that ensuing outrage reflected a "hatred" -- not of anti-Semites but of Christians.

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