As one Penn State student group facilitates the "biggest conservative campus protest ever" beginning today, another is determined to counteract the movement with "Peace not Prejudice."
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW), a nationwide movement sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, aims to serve as a "wake-up call" for Americans on 200 university campuses.
"The purpose of this event is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger than the terrorist threat," Horowitz, a conservative writer and activist, wrote on his Web site, terrorismawareness.org.
The Penn State chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) was contacted by Horowitz and agreed to organize events on campus, said Mike Ryan, YAF vice chairman.
YAF, Horowitz and the movement have all met protest from the Penn State Muslim Student Association (MSA). An official statement released by MSA this week condemns the event for promoting hostility and division among students.
To counteract the movement, MSA is hosting a "Peace not Prejudice" seminar series during the next two weeks that will feature several professors of Middle Eastern studies and Muslim civil rights advocates.
"Labeling an entire religion as fascist is offensive, inaccurate and inappropriate since it conveys a faulty image of more than a thousand Muslims at Penn State, and a billion Muslims around the world," the MSA statement reads.
MSA member Shadi Ghrayeb said he hopes students attend both YAF and MSA events and is confident most will "ignore the propaganda" and make up their own minds.
The documentary "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," which uses footage from Arab television to parallel radical Islam with that of pre-World War II Nazism, will be screened 7:30 tonight. Tomorrow night, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum will give a speech in 119 Osmond Building.
Ghrayeb said it is offensive that the event is under the guise of "awareness," and Penn State will not benefit from the movement.
"The forum, as suggested by its title, is not educational in nature nor is it intended to promote awareness, but rather promotes hatred and division," the MSA statement reads.
In April 2006, Horowitz spoke on campus about academic freedom and the danger of liberal ideology dominating classroom discussion. He also singled out sociology professor Sam Richards and English professor Michael Berube in his book The Professors: 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America.
Early last week, hundreds of fliers reading "HATE MUSLIMS? SO DO WE!!!" were posted around the George Washington University campus in response to the movement, the Washington Post reported. Seven students, who identified themselves as anti-war and anti-racist, took responsibility for hanging the posters in an effort to mock Horowitz' movement and expose "Islamophobic racism," according to the Washington Post.
Ryan said those posters are unrepresentative of the movement's sentiment.
"The reason why we're doing this is to help people see the problem with radical Islam," Ryan said. "We are not completely against all Muslims or Islam."