October 30, 2007

Horowitz at UW

From the text of his remarks at the University of Wisconsin last week, David Horowitz defends his use of the term "Islamo-Fascism", answering critics who claim he defames Islam in general.

That’s really what we intended to do with this week, to make people aware of this problem. I have called it “Islamo-Fascism.” That is not a term designed to say that all Muslims or a majority of Muslims are fascists. In fact a majority of Muslims are either victims of Islamo-Fascists or threatened by them. The FoxNews channel anchor and other misguided individuals think that the term “Islamo-Fascism” is hate speech. That’s the same thing as saying the term should be banned. In a democracy, at least in our democracy as it has been degraded by so-called liberals today, the way you ban ideas is by calling them “hate speech.” But saying that Islamo-Fascism implicates all Muslims make no logical sense.

We use the term “Italian Fascism” without assuming that all Italians are fascists. Hitler did not even win a majority of the vote in Germany, yet we use the phrase “German Fascism” without implying that all people of German descent are fascists. People like Alan Colmes will throw around the term “white racism” pretty casually. Everyone in this room has either used the phrase “white racism” or read it without objection. Do you mean to call every white person a racist when you use that term? That would make Alan Colmes a racist. Yet that’s precisely what the opponents of Islamo-Fascism week seem to be claiming.

The hateful attacks on this week are, in fact quite stupid, when you think about what they are claiming. If I intended to come on a college platform and say hateful things about all Muslims, I would be hooted off the stage. No campus organization would invite me to say such things and if I did say them I would never be invited by any campus organization again. Since no one on a college campus is prepared to hear hate speech, why bother to protest it in advance. It’s self-discrediting. Yet we live in such Orwellian times that no one laughs when the left makes these preposterous claims.


The term Islamo-Fascism is, in my view, a useful and justifiable term because of the merger of religion and state in the totalitarian ideology we're facing. It is also historically based. What we are facing is a global religious movement that is a movement within Islam. It is not to be confused with Islam itself. The Islamo-Fascists want you to confuse them with the Muslim community as a whole. They want to hide behind the Muslim community. And they are inflicting great damage on the Muslim community by doing so. When Ahmadinejad speaks or when Zawahiri speaks, they speak in the name of the Muslim ummah, but they do not actually speak for the Muslim ummah. And that distinction has to be made.

It's one thing for a prominent conservative intellectual to draw parallels to fascism in the radical Islamist movement. It would be quite another for a large group of Muslims to publicly do the same thing.

As Stephen Schwartz reports in the new Weekly Standard, it happened last week, and what should have been big news seems to have been overshadowed by the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week hoopla.

Coincidentally, even as college students and visiting speakers were exploring the concept of "Islamofascism" in an academic setting, more than 1,000 American Muslims from the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard gathered in Washington on October 22 to demonstrate outside the Saudi embassy against Saudi Arabia's support for "Wahhabi fascism." Called by a new coalition, Al-Baqee.org, the protest demanded that the Saudis stop exporting Wahhabism, the ultrafundamentalist state religion in the Saudi kingdom, and thus end support for global terror.

Al-Baqee.org is named for Jannat al-Baqi, a cemetery in Medina that housed the graves of the Prophet Muhammad's relatives and companions, and which was leveled by the Wahhabis in 1925. The Wahhabis justified this vandalism with their claim that religious honors to any human being, living or dead, even Muhammad himself, detract from worship of the one God. Al-Baqee.org was established by Iraqi-American and other Shia Muslims affiliated with moderate Iraqi ayatollah Ali Sistani.

According to the Al-Baqee leaders, the demolition of that cemetery in Arabia is a direct antecedent to the bombings of Shia and Sufi sacred structures in Iraq, such as the Golden Shrine in Samarra, blasted three times over the past two years. Their demonstration at the Saudi embassy was inspired by a report in the Saudi daily al-Watan (The Nation) in late July that Wahhabi clerics had issued fatwas calling for attacks on Shia holy sites at Karbala and Najaf in Iraq. If these sites were attacked, coalition soldiers as well as innocent Iraqis would almost certainly be killed in the chaotic aftermath.

Al-Baqee's literature provides a novel and encouraging example of American Muslim candor about the problems within Islam today. Above all, the group has no compunction about identifying radical Islam with fascism. A leaflet distributed at the protest called Saudi Wahhabism

a radical doctrine that is a dangerous and violent threat to Americans and non-Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. As a close U.S. ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible to uphold the values of the American Constitution in defending religious freedom and providing safe spaces for worship within its borders.

A letter addressed by Al-Baqee to Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir declared,

The Kingdom has neglected to provide basic civil rights to many of your citizens, and knowingly persecutes them based on their race, gender, and religion. . . . As a government, you are not fulfilling your responsibilities in providing the basic civil rights all humans deserve.

Posted by dan at October 30, 2007 10:57 AM