What is Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week really about?
Have I been unfair to Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week? I mean, isn’t it a great thing to be raising the consciousness of young people at colleges all over the country about the dangers of jihadism, excuse me, Islamo-fascism? Why be so negative? Why be so critical, just because I think that calling fundamentalist Muslims “Islamo-fascists” leads people to believe that Islam itself is not the problem?
So let’s be fair and take another look. Apart from the troublesome name “Islamo-fascism,” let’s see what substantive message David Horowitz and his colleagues are putting out through this much ballyhooed, nation-wide extravaganza.
I find this at Phi Beta Cons:
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, David Horowitz spoke to 600 students and various members of the community about the oppression of women in Islam and the silence coming from women’s studies departments on America’s campuses regarding this issue. The volatile crowd quieted immediately when Horowitz began his speech by showing an enlarged photograph of a Muslim woman on her knees being shot in the back of the head by Muslim fundamentalists. “Everyone in this photograph is a Muslim,” Horowitz began. “There is a helpless victim; there are perpetrators of murder. This photograph is why we’re here tonight.”
According to Horowitz, then, the main theme of the evening was increasing young people’s awareness about the Muslim oppression of women. “Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week” seems then to be all about rescuing Muslims, particularly Muslim women, from their own religion, not about (perish the thought) protecting America and the West from Islam. The mission of IFAW is not to preserve our civilization, but to teach tolerance.
But perhaps when Horowitz spoke of “why we’re here tonight,” he was only referring to the theme of the first day of IFAW. Could IFAW’s broader purpose perhaps be something more realistic and self-interested than spreading the balm of tolerance through the harsh places of the earth?
It appears not. FrontPage Magazine reports:
“We have organized students on over 100 campuses across the country, we are hosting over 30 speakers on subjects like the plight of women in Islam and we are leading the discussion on the danger of Islamo Fascism,” David Horowitz said after his speech at the University of Wisconsin Monday night…. “By the end of the week millions of people will have heard our message that we will no longer turn a blind eye to the violence directed against women, gays and ‘infidels’ in Islamo-Fascist regimens. This homicidal intolerance and the conspiracy of silence that protects it on America’s campuses will no longer be accepted.” [Italics added.]Horowitz is explicit. Over and over, his statement suggests that the aim of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is not, at least primarily, to make Americans more altert to the dangers that Islam, excuse me, Islamo-fascism, poses to us, but to instruct Americans about the dangers that Islamo-fascism poses to women, homosexuals and non-Muslims in the Muslim lands.
Excuse the intrusion of reality here, but what the hell can we do about that? Shall we invade and take over, not just seven Muslim countries as Norman Podhoretz has urged, but all fifty-seven Muslim majority countries, re-engineer their cultures, and make them give up … Islamo-fascism?
No, that’s too crazy. Even Horowitz couldn’t believe that such a thing is possible. What then does he think he’s achieving?
My guess that his purpose is to alter the climate of opinion among the campus left, which has always been his overriding focus of concern. The radical left in America is crazy. They believe that Islam is good, and that all the bad in Islam comes from American oppression, bigotry and greed. Horowitz is trying to lead them away from such craziness to a more sane view, namely that Islam is good, and that all the bad in Islam comes from a tiny minority of “Islamo-fascists,” who are not even Muslims but totalitarian ideologues who have hijacked and distorted the great, wonderful, pluralistic, tolerant religion of Islam. Horowitz is trying to lead the college youth of America away from a deeply insane lie, to a somewhat less insane lie. This is his mission.
Again, both the crazy left, and the somewhat less crazy Horowitz right, believe that Muslims are innocent victims, and must be rescued. The left wants to rescue them from America, Horowitz wants to rescue them from Islamo-fascism. But leftists and Horowitz agree that the principal object of our solicitude is Muslims. Horowitz is not seeking to protect us from Muslims, he’s seeking to protect Muslims from Islamo-fascists. And that is insane.
Sane is what Bat Ye’or said to me several years ago, in a comment I quoted at Horowitz’s own magazine, but which Horowitz sadly never took in:
Our aim as Westerners should not be to save the soul of Islam but to save ourselves, our values, and our civilization.
Mark P. writes:
You quoted FP reporting the following:LA replies:
You got it. Horowitz’s ultimate concern is not protecting America from its enemies, it’s about protecting women and homosexuals from intolerance.Mark P. replies:
I’m telling you…there is absolutely nothing to be gained from this farce. America is not protected; Western civilization is not preserved; Not even conservatism is advanced. It’s a joke.Sebastian writes:
I vaguely disagree with your criticism of Horowitz’s IFAW. Well, I agree completely with your observation that he and his website are not generally interested in protecting Western culture and our way of life from Islam. He seems to have no feeling for anything but advanced liberalism. I can’t imagine this man looking at a portrait of Frederick the Great and seeing anything but oppression and anti-Semitism.LA replies:
I have had the same reservations about my position as Sebastian, though he articulates them better. I agree that anything that brings propagandized college students and journalists from the cave below the Platonic Cave, where they now welter, up to the Cave itself, is probably a net gain. The problem is that Horowitz, as always, is letting his message be controlled, not by the truth, but by his desire to adjust to the prevailing leftism. Let’s say that a significant number of young people are persuaded by his message. What are they likely to do about it? they will become frenetically committed to “rescuing moderate Islam” from fascist Islam. The amelioration of Islam, rather than the defense of our society from Islam, will become a greater obsession than ever.Mark Jaws writes:
I respectfully disagree with you, and I think you have been too hard on Horowitz. I believe IFAW is an important first step in the right direction, whereas an Austerian approach (declaring Islam the problem) would be met with massive resistance from the Academic Left. By running plays from the Left’s playbook (using the civil rights angle), Horowitz is cleverly demonstrating how to get the camel’s nose inside the tent, and thereby make it perfectly acceptable for white Westerners to criticize non-white, non-Christian groups. After a few years once the camel is inside the tent, then we can deal with Islam in its totality as being incompatible with western values.LA replies:
I respectfully reply that I think Mark’s hopes are false. The only thing Horowitz will be making acceptable for white Westerners to do is to condemn intolerance and oppression of designated victim groups. And, uh, I think we’re already there.LA continues:
I repeat that I may be wrong; maybe the students being reached by IFAW will end up as pro-Western anti-jihad crusaders who will want to save the West from Islamization. But all recent experience, documented at VFR for the last several years, suggests the opposite. When people adopt liberal/left concepts to understand reality, those concepts remain operative in them. For example, when they subscribe to the idea that our enemy is Islamo-fascism, and that Islam itself is ok, they end up going along with all the consequences of that belief (remember, ideas have consequences?), including the continued admission, approval, and accommodation of Muslims in America, including continuing efforts to democratize the Muslim world, and so on.KPA writes from Canada:
I think your answer to Mark Jaws’s hopes is correct, if I may say so.LA replies:
KPA’s comment is exactly on point. What will the young people who have been converted by Horowitz’s plea in behalf of oppressed Muslim women want to do? Obviously, they will want to find ways to help Muslim women. Once that becomes their orientation, all the rest follows: open borders, programs to “empower” Muslim women here and abroad, and so on, all of which will have the effect of strengthening Islam in our midst and weakening us. So long as the well-being of oppressed aliens, rather than the health of our own society, is our leading concern, we are not only unable to act for our own preservation but are actively underming it, by getting ourselves in a tighter and tighter embrace with people whose very presence among us spells our doom. There is no salvation for America and the West short of the renunciation and rejection of liberalism.Ken Hechtman, VFR’s leftist Canadian reader, writes:
Horowitz is playing to a different audience than you are. His arguments won’t fly on VFR, yours won’t fly on a college campus. You have to talk to your audience, in terms they understand, with arguments they’re prepared to consider. Not doing that is one of the classic leftist blind spots. We end up talking to ourselves and we can be right and still lose the argument because nobody is listening.LA replies:
Those who say that college students will only heed a leftist message, and that is what we must give them, even though the leftist message will not help us protect our society against Islam, are like Mulla Nasrudin who looks for his key under a street lamp because there is light there, even though he knows his key is not under the street lamp. He lost it in his house, but there’s no light in his house, so he doesn’t want to search there, he wants to search where there is light. We are supposed to avoid Mulla Nasrudin’s seemingly “practical” approach to the problem of finding his key, because his “practical” approach cannot succeed.Mark Jaws writes:
I will say it again—Horowitz is gaining a foothold on a beach that has heretofore been impenetrable. Don’t you think after students have learned about multiple instances of “Islamo-fascist” atrocities in Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc that the alarm bell will start ringing in some of their noggins, indicating to them that the very same thing may happen here to OUR feminists and gays? Many are likely to be moved to the point of wanting and demanding redder meat—the type offered by Spencer and Bostom, and perhaps eventually Auster.LA replies:
We will see …Mark P. writes:
Mark Jaws wrote the following:Jacob M. writes:
Mark Jaws wrote: “Don’t you think after students have learned about multiple instances of ‘Islamo-fascist’ atrocities in Algeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc that the alarm bell will start ringing in some of their noggins, indicating to them that the very same thing may happen here to OUR feminists and gays?”LA replies:
Well said, well said.Jake Jacobsen. writes:
We attended the IFAW here in Chicago where Robert Spencer spoke. Our coverage here with video of Mr. Spencer’s speech and some of the Q&A afterwards.LA replies:
As I’ve been showing over and over, Spencer has a markedly different approach to the Islam problem than Horowitz (though as colleageus they downplay the differences). I specifically said that Horowitz would do better to take something like Spencer’s line on Islam. So you’re not telling me anything I don’t know.Jake replies:
He said the “Islam problem” was the religion of Islam, but he didn’t address what to do about it. Which I do understand makes him one of the “Usual Suspects”! [LA replies: Yes, and it also makes him very different from Horoiwitz, who cannot say that the religion of Islam is the problem without contradicting his campaign against “Islamo-fascism,” which says that the religion of Islam is not the problem.]Sage McLaughlin writes (10-25):
I’ve been following the discussion on IFAW, and I have to say I think people are grasping at straws in trying to defend Horowitz. I understand the impulse—he seems to be bringing attention to the bestial nature of Islam, and that’s a good thing, right? Well, not really. What he’s objecting to—explicitly—is fascism, that old enemy of the left that still seems to be popping up everywhere. (It’s even right here in America—just ask Naomi Wolf.) Anyway, I think Horowitz’s defenders are making this more complicated than it really is.LA replies:
It is the incoherent mixture of conservative and liberal ideas that defines American conservatism.Mark Jaws writes:
Jacob M. wrote:LA replies:
I agree with Mark Jaws that Jacob M.’s comment cut to the heart of the issue. If you inculcate in young people the liberal message that the most important thing is to oppose intolerance and oppression of outsiders and minorities, and then, living in the midst of liberal America, they dutifully look around for some intolerant oppressor to oppose, whom are they going to find? Not jihadists, but Christians, conservatives, whites, capitalism, property, the traditional family, America, Western civilization.Anti-Islam, or anti traditional Christianity? Terry Morris writes:
These liberally educated, undiscerning college kids at 100 universities across the nation are having their “awareness” raised, not to Islamic extremism, but to religious extremism. To them, “fundamentalist Christianity” and “Islamo-fascism” must be very close to the same thing; perhaps different stages of the same thing. To their minds it’s probably a short walk from Christian “persecution” of homosexuals to the kind of persecution toward the same group from “Islamo-fascists.” So they’re not going to be on the lookout for Islamo-fascism in America, but for what they’ll conceive as the seeds of fascism—Christian fundamentalism.LA replies:
If persecution of homosexuals and inequality of women are the main objections to “Islamo-fascism,” then why should people today feel any identity with the Christian Europeans who fended off Islamic conquest in the past? Those Christian Europeans punished sodomy, sometimes with capital punishment, and gave fewer rights to women. From the point of view of young people shaped by Horowitz’s message, between the Moslem invaders of France in 732, and the Franks under Charles Martel who drove them back and saved the West, what is there to choose?Terry M. replies:
Right on! This is exactly the point. There’s no reason for them to feel any identity with any form of “religious extremism,” past or present. And since the majority of religious extremists in America (defined as such by their persecution of gays and women and other minorities) are going to be Christians, then it stands to reason that these students are going to identify the slightest manifestations of what they perceive to be religious extremism in Christians and Christianity first and foremost, Islamic-Fascism notwithstanding.LA replies:
However, having heard Horowitz speak at Columbia University today, I can’t say there was anything that would turn listeners positively against Christianity (except for his passing, obligatory statement that Europe in the Middle Ages was harder on Jews than Islam was). His focus was not on persecution, or “religious dictatorship,” or “theocracy” (translation: Christianity). His focus was on the left, their anti-Americanism, their siding with America’s enemies.N. writes:
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu famously is quoted as saying, “The first step to wisdom is to call things by their right names.” To call things by their right names requires one to see the thing clearly, and to know its properties, characteristics, etc. In other words, one has to see clearly, not engage in self deception and understand deeply as steps toward wisdom.LA replies:
I’ve felt this for years. Every time I start reading an article and the author in the first paragraph says “Islam-fascist,” I immediately become unable to take the writer seriously. Anyone who uses such a fake, ludicrous expression shows such a lack of sound thinking that his judgment on all matters comes into question. Yet the whole “conservative” movement now uses it.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 24, 2007 11:00 AM | Send