Who’s Afraid of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week?

Why is an idea so frightening to some members of the Columbia community that they need to organize a campaign to suppress it before it is even aired? Why have some Columbians taken it upon themselves to conduct a hate campaign against students who want to discuss issues that affect us all? Why, on the other hand, were many of these same groups determined to welcome to Columbia a dictator who is providing weapons to kill American men and women in Iraq, who has called for the extermination of the Jewish state, and who presides over a regime that has murdered 4,000 gays and hung women from cranes for alleged sexual improprieties? If the welcome mat was okay for Ahmadinejad, why do these people want to deny a platform to Columbia students who are concerned about the threat of Islamo-Fascism?

Is Islamo-Fascism a threat? In fact, this is exactly the kind of question that will be discussed during the week of Oct. 22-26 at Columbia, unless campus leftists obstruct it the way they did Jim Gilchrist’s attempt to discuss the border issue last year. The fascist threat is real, and not just in Iraq or Iran.

Writing in a recent issue of Spectator, Zahra Khimji, a Columbia sophomore, complained that Islam should not be part of this discussion, while suggesting that the Islamo-Fascists constitute “an incredibly minute minority” of her religion. Would this were so. Some polls estimate that 10 percent of Muslims support Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. An al-Jazeera poll put the number at 50 percent. In other words, somewhere between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews, and other Muslims who don’t happen to be true believers in the Quran according to bin Laden. This is not an “incredibly minute” cohort.

I am sorry that Khimji feels discomfort as a result of the fear that terrorists have struck in the hearts of sensible people, but this complaint should be directed at the holy warriors themselves, not at their current and potential victims.

In fact, the very term “Islamo-Fascism” was coined by moderate Muslims who were being slaughtered in Algeria during the 1990s. A group now calling itself “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” killed between 150,000 and 200,000 “unclean” Muslims during that decade. In holding Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, students at Columbia will be standing up for the survivors and for all Muslims under the threat of fanatical terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas.

Is it possible to talk about these terrorist armies without reference to Islam? Hardly. They see themselves as engaged in a holy war that promises them tickets to paradise if they blow up Jewish children, Christian children, or atheist children for that matter. Their Islam—which includes the Palestinian Authority—anoints the killers as martyrs and saints for the murders they commit.

Is it possible to talk about these religious fanatics without reference to fascism? Consider the facts. The founding organization of their holy war is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is also the creator of al-Qaeda and Hamas. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, was an admirer of Hitler, as was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the father of Palestinian nationalism. The Ba’ath Party which rules Syria, and ruled Iraq until the overthrow of Saddam, is modeled on Mussolini’s fascist party, and it is no accident that Hezbollah’s warriors and Iran’s Republican Guard goose-step like Hitler’s storm troopers—it is an homage.

They believe in their superiority and deny basic human dignities to those whom they regard as “infidels.” Their goal is to establish a theocratic totalitarian state that will control every aspect of an individual’s existence in accordance with the regime’s interpretation of Islamic law. This is a fascist agenda and creed.

Reasonable people may disagree. Our purpose in holding Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is not to suppress disagreement or close the argument. That is the agenda of our opponents. Our goal is to initiate a discussion. We are not going to be intimidated by our intolerant opponents—we will not be dissuaded from opening a discussion of matters that are vital to us all.

The author is a graduate of the Columbia College Class of ’59

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