Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Islamofascism Awareness Week: Expensive, But Still the Same Old David Horowitz

Having glossed countless FrontPageMag promotional accounts of Islamofascism Awareness Week, having read David Horowitz’ War Blog on each of its wearisome days, having absorbed the big fat hype about how it was the largest conservative student demonstration ever, the unmistakable impression I have finally come away with is that the whole thing was a set-up.

Yep, Islamofascism Week is a big fat ploy to accomplish the same old Horowitz & Co. mission, namely, to assault and discredit Women’s Studies programs, humanities academics, feminists, and so-called “Leftists” in the interest of transforming academia according to a worldview shared by luminaries like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and the late, but omni-present, Joseph McCarthy.

All classic Horowitz, all very theatrical, all rather predictable—except that he deployed an armory of particularly lethal weapons this time, thereby escalating the tension in a public discourse already made shrill by an unpopular and immoral war, an energy crisis, the status of undocumented workers, looming global climate change, the failure of U.S. healthcare, the upcoming presidential elections—and the recent return of the noose.

In a way “Islamofascism Awareness Week” was a masterful work of double-speak: Deploy religious bigotry against Muslims in order to promote and legitimize a Coulter-style Christian nationalism, excoriate Women’s Studies programs for not doing a better job of unilaterally condemning the treatment of women in Islam in order to attack Women’s Studies for daring to exist at all, and last but not least, provoke a vicious anti-intellectualism in order to agitate for the surveillance and ultimate replacement of the so-called indoctrinating leftist academics with fascist ideologues masquerading as merely conservative scholars.

This was a week made for Horowitz—and all he had to do was ignore a few critical facts, for example, Coulter’s rabid anti-Semitism, or the wealth of feminist scholarship concerning the status of women in religious fundamentalisms, or the plain and simple fact—pointed out to him many times and proven beyond doubt in the Pennsylvania Hearings—that a professor’s real-life politics are not her/his classroom pedagogy.

But ignoring facts appears to be one of the things Horowitz does best, and in this he joins in spirit if not in financing the company of many smaller organizations whose modus operandi is to fear-monger, lie, and bully their way into the effective obsolescence of the Constitution. One such group, the Patriot’s Voice (www.the-patriot-s-voice.com), torments my small neck of the woods, Northeast Central Pennsylvania by running their members for school board, often exploiting voter apathy to win posts by write-in campaign on the vague promise to “bring accountability” back to public education.

Much like Horowitz’ appeals to “common sense,” “accountability” turns out to be code for the conversion of public education into a form of religious and nationalist indoctrination that rivals any of the theocracies of our terrorist-producing enemies. Amidst their attempts to ban books, keep students from attending Model U.N., slander their critics, and make martyrs for God of themselves, Patriot’s Voice members spout the words of their heroes—Horowitz, O’Reilly, Coulter, and McCarthy among them.

Strange it is, however, that one must strain to hear any whisper of, say, the compassion or respect for justice of a Jesus.

So Islamofascism week came and went. Some folks protesting Horowitz at Emory behaved badly, and that is indeed unfortunate because I, for one, want to hear what he has to say. How else can I formulate a response to the kind of danger his view of the world represents? How else can I come to understand the intimate relationship between organizations like Horowitz’ grotesquely misnamed Freedom Center and the Oxymoronic Patriot’s Voice? Horowitz’ strategies are, no doubt, far more media savvy—as Islamofascism week demonstrates—but his motives are no less those of thugs despite their apparent sophistication.

Like the Patriot’s Voice, Horowitz claims to represent the voiceless—oppressed college students in his case, taxpayers and the alleged victims of unionized teachers in the Patriot’s Voice case—but both in fact represent not people at all but ideologies so anathema to the very first amendment rights that protect them that I begin to wonder if, like Stephen Colbert, their intent is to satire.

I wish.

Wendy Lynne Lee


Anonymous said...

Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.

Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.

A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).

Original post

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

This list of speakers pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Mike Adams is one of the most frightening fascist ideologues I have ever come across, sporting pictures of himself with his weapons collection--ready to kill anything that disagrees with him apparently.

Christina Hoff Sommer's understanding of the feminist movement epitomises straw fallacy and fails even to recognize that there simply is no such simplistic thing as "gender feminism."

But you left Ann Coulter off of your advertisement. Is that because she's just too embarrassing since her patently anti-Semitic diatribe?

Rick Santorum--well, we voted him out of office for excellent reasons.

I have no trouble seeing the distinction you mention. I do not deny that there are Islamic radicals--just like there are Christian radicals--as you yourself acknowledge qua the Christian Identity Movement. What I reject on a wealth of evidence is that Western Gender Studies programs and Western feminists have ignored the plight of Islamic women. This is flatly false as my list of scholars proves.

Nope, as I laid out in my original post, it's the D-Ho drones and opportunists that don't get it. But fortunate for us all, their Sun may be about to set with the 2008 elections--hopefully a return to reason and evidenced argument, and a sharp turn away from made-up witch hunts.

The one really clear thing about Islamofascism week is that it's pretty damn clear that D-Ho would have said all the things he said--would have made himself out to be the martyr he's convinced himself he is--even if no one had shown up for any of his events and speeches. It would have just been that much more obvious that the sponsorship had precisely zero to do with what students believe or want (or think they're being cheated out of!) and everything to do with using them to front a campaign to make soldiers for his self-serving Christian Identity vision of America long after he's gone.

D-Ho aims in fact to make all Muslims out to be potential terrorists in order to make all far right-wing Christians (perhaps D-Ho is one of Coulter's "perfected Jews") out to be likely saviors. And if he thinks that IFAW really had much effect on college campuses, he ought to check out the most popular discussions on Facebook--where he's not going to fine even the most oblique reference to himself.

Pretty deflating, huh?

Anonymous said...

The fact that you cannot read, i.e., claiming that Ann Coulter was left out when she was not, speaks volumes about your ability to comprehend the subject. Like a good useful idiot, you regurgitating opinions of other people, because you are too intellectually lazy to form your own by considering primary sources.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Whoops, you're right, I DID leave out Coulter...Sorry, I missed her amidst the sea of other ideologues. My apologies!

But as you have given me an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about her again, I shall gladly take it. Yup, what an inspiring model of moral fortitude, that Ann Coulter, the pundit who claims that it would be better if women didn't vote, who denies natural selection, and who claims we should ALL be Christians. I gather that means YOU.

So, let me see, having no actual argument to counter me with, you immediately resort to name-calling.

How very sophisticated. I'm sure D-Ho would be proud, given that this is, after all, his primary strategy.

Try harder next time. Perhaps with your name.

Anonymous said...

You seem to worry more about Coulter who wants everyone to be Christians than Islamists who want everyone to be Muslims. Luckily for you, Coutler is not running around blowing people up to advance her goals.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Ann Coulter claimed that were it up to her she'd bomb Iran so thoroughly that they wouldn't even be able to construct transistor radios. The point is that

(a) Islam has no monopoly on religious fanaticism. Crazy Christian televangilists who claim that Hurricane Katrina is punishment for being tolerant of gays are every bit as violent in their rhetoric as is that of the Osama Bin Ladens of the world.

Fanatical Muslims have nothing over Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church's God Hates Fags.

(b) D-Ho's claim that Women's Studies has failed to attend to the plight of women oppressed in Islam is flatly false. Just because he doesn't avail himself of the relevant literature doesn't mean it isn't available. This is just another strategy for attacking Women's Studies programs--a profoundly disingenuous one.

(c) Acknowledge it or not, the only meaningful effect of IFAW is that it provided a teaching opportunity to many of us in the academy to talk about the significance of the first amendment. Thanks, David, for this--not that I need an excuse to talk about the value of the Constitution.

Truth is, D-Ho would apparently be happy to trade Islamic fanaticism for the Christian fanaticism of his fellow ideologues--strange, given his own religious roots. But then again consistency is obviously not among his values.

And you have yet to leave your name.

Anonymous said...

As I said before, there is nor point in arguing with someone who follows Rosie's twisted idea that radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam.

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Well and good, and since you are

(a) either incapable or unwilling to offer any actual arguments or evidence for your claims, and

(b) committed to no other strategy than name-calling or ridicule, and

(c) apparently too cowardly to leave your name,

there's little for YOU to do but go find other bloggers to harass.