Emory U’s Religious Left Can’t Handle the Truth
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | May 7, 2007
In conjunction with the Terrrorism Awareness project we published an ad in the Emory Wheel, the campus paper at Emory University. The ad was called “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad” and described the threat to Christians, Jews, women and gays in particular, from Muslim fanatics. Soon thereafter the Emory Religious Life Staff and Campus Ministry Affliliates published a counter-ad condemning what we had written. Their response was fairly typical of the responses of campus authorities, including campus religious authorities to the threat of radical Islam: deny the threat itself and condemn those who describe it as intolerant alarmists. We post here the entire exchange to illustrate the problem our campuses and our country face.– David Horowitz and Robert Spencer.
I. Terrorism Awareness Project Ad (published in the Emory Wheel)
What Americans Need to Know About Jihad
The goal of jihad is world domination
Jihad demands the suppression of all Infidels
Jihad’s battle cry is “Death to America”
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it…to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them…” – Osama bin Laden
Jihad is a war against Christians
Jihad is a war against Jews
Jihad is a war against Women
Jihad is a war against Gays
Jihad is not about American policy towards Israel
Jihad is not about Israel’s policy towards Palestinians
It is about the global rule of radical Islam
“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” – Hamas Charter
“The Jews are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment. There is no solution to the conflict except with the disappearance of Israel. Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute. Death to America. I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don’t be shy about it.” – Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah
A Public Service Announcement by the Terrorism Awareness Project.
II. Emory Campus Ministry Ad
A Statement by Emory Religious Leaders
The Emory Religious Life Staff & Campus Ministry Affiliates are a group of religious representatives and advisors approved by their respective faiths’ judicatories, as well as the Office of the Dean of the Chapel, for the purpose of ministry and religious advising for Emory University students, faculty, and staff. In response to recent expressions of a selective, reductive, and hurtful nature toward particular groups on the Emory campus, such as the publication of the “What Americans Need to Know About Jihad” advertisement in the February 9, 2007 issue of The Emory Wheel, we issue the following statement:
We condemn any act that aims to intimidate, threaten, or reductively portray a religious group with the intent to antagonize or demean its members. At the same time we affirm the University’s commitment to the values of energetic inquiry, open discussion and disagreement, and respectful engagement with diverse groups, we maintain that Emory University must be a place of dignity and sensitivity for all religious groups. We call upon all members of the Emory University community to actively engage in challenging interfaith discussion while upholding the University’s high standards of respect and dignity for all religious communities.
III. Response from David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
By: David Horowitz, Robert Spencer
Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials.
We are the authors of the ad “What Every American Needs To Know About Jihad,” to which the Emory religious life staff & campus ministry affiliates have taken exception in a response published in The Emory Wheel. While their statement makes serious – one might say defamatory – charges claiming that our ad “aims to intimidate, threaten, or reductively portray a religious group with the intent to antagonize or demean its members,” it fails to explain how our ad does this, or in what way it is inaccurate. This kind of undocumented smear constitutes a kind of hate speech itself.
The text of our ad was quite clear. We quoted Osama Bin Laden’s statement that is the duty of Muslims to kill Americans, and the Hamas Charter which promises that Islam will “obliterate” Israel, and Hassan Nasrallah’s statement that “the Jews are a cancer.” We stated that “the goal of jihad is world domination,” that “jihad demands the suppression of all infidels,” that its battle cry is “death to America.” We noted that it is a war against Christians, Jews, women and gays. Does the Emory religious life staff deny that these are statements of Islamic leaders or that all around the globe there are movements – united under the banner of “jihad” – devoted to these goals?
We are well aware that there are within Islam other understandings of jihad, but that does not negate the fact that those who are pursuing the agenda we outlined call what they are doing “jihad.” It is demeaning to peaceful Muslims to deny or minimize this fact, as the Emory religious life staff does, for denying it robs Muslims of an opportunity to work for reform within their own community, refuting the version of jihad put forward by Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, Nasrallah and the global Islamic terrorist movement. One cannot address a problem while simultaneously denying the existence of that problem.
We are disconcerted to see members of Hillel condemning the truths in our ad when Islamic jihadis have openly declared their goal to be the destruction of the Jewish state. If Jews will not defend themselves, who will?
It is shameful that a group of religious leaders in an academic community, instead of addressing an argument, would resort to ad hominem attacks against those they disagree with. This is a poor example to set for Emory students and a dangerous way to conduct a debate about an enemy who has declared war on all Americans who do not subscribe to their perverse view of Islam. A group purporting to speak for moral standards should know better.
IV. Replies from the Muslim Religious Adviser and the Director of Campus Hillel
By: Aysha Hidayatullah
Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials
It is with much reluctance that I – one among the Emory religious advisors who co-published a statement in the April 20 issue of The Emory Wheel – respond to the allegations of David Horowitz and Robert Spencer directed at us (see “Another Substanceless Objection” at www.jihadwatch.org).
In doing so, I risk inadvertently dignifying their so-called invitation to “respectful” discussion, as if it is anything more than an incitement to join them in hateful, self-involved disputation. However, despite this risk, namely in the interest of making it clear that I stand by our message of responsible interfaith engagement at Emory University, I have chosen to respond briefly.
It is a reflection of the perverse narcissism of Spencer and Horowitz that they would interpret our statement as being “defamatory” against either of them. The careful reader will note that our only reference to their advertisement described it as an example of “selective, reductive, and hurtful” speech. It is a description which would be quite difficult to refute, given that numerous members of the Emory community have described the ad in a similar light. Nor is our statement defamatory, for it is intentionally much wider and more significant in its scope.
In my line of work, I have neither the time nor the inclination to expend my energy toward debating with those who hide behind the alarmist and manipulative rhetoric of terrorism. My job has very little to do with Spencer and Horowitz, as I am not in the business of debate with antagonists. Rather, my work involves compassionate and productive inter-religious cooperation – confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference, while at the same time aspiring to rise above the antagonism of the Terrorism Awareness Project.
Aysha Hidayatullah is the Muslim Religious Advisor in Emory’s Office of Religious Life.
By: Michael Rabkin
Issue date: 5/1/07 Section: Editorials
I stand by my decision to align with fellow campus ministers in our objection to the Terrorism Awareness Project advertisement. (See “Another Substanceless Objection” at www.jihadwatch.org.) I object to David Horowitz and Robert Spencer’s manipulation of our fears about global terrorism to suggest that Islam is our enemy. I recognize that to moderate Muslims, including our friends in the Muslim community at Emory and most Muslims in America, jihad represents a theological struggle, and not world domination, as the ad asserts.
Of course, I am not so naive as to defend the sinister people who lay claim to Islam and distort its teachings in order to wage war on Israel and the West. Nor do I dismiss the very real threat they pose to Jews, Israel and virtually all humanity.
Yet I refuse to allow Horowitz and Spencer’s alarmist rhetoric to intrude on our campus and breed mistrust between Jews and Muslims at Emory while we strive to build bridges of understanding and respect between our communities.
Fostering a culture of fear creates division, not positive change. We can maintain constructive conversation between our communities while simultaneously opposing the brutality of violence against any people.
In fact, it is a vital Jewish interest to improve relations with the Muslim community, and in so doing, we must insist that moderate Muslim leaders raise their voices in opposition to terrorism and the culture of hate propagated by Islamic extremists. Only through personal interaction, partnerships, and coalitions can we communicate our concerns, build respect for one another, and pursue peace.
My position on this issue has no bearing on Hillel’s support for Israel. Our support for Israel as a Jewish and democratic state remains steadfast even as we work on campus to develop positive Jewish-Muslim relations on the basis of common fundamental values and a common destiny. The future of the children of Abraham depends on the decisions we make together today.
I pray that Muslims and Jews, as well as our friends of other faiths, find the path of justice without resorting to the tactics employed by Jihad Watch.
Michael Rabkin is the director of Emory Hillel
V. Response by David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
Submitted to the Emory Wheel on May 3, 2007.
We are disappointed in the responses of Aysha Hidayatullah and Michael Rabkin to the ad we placed in the Emory Wheel and to the response we made to their attacks on the ad. They make a serious charge, claiming that we are “promoting intolerance and paranoia,” but neither actually produces even a single concrete example to show that we have done that.
Hidayatullah dismisses our invitation to dialogue as an “an incitement to join [us] in hateful, self-involved disputation.” Yet what is the incitement? Our ad merely quotes Osama bin Laden, the Hamas Charter, and Hizbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, and makes a series of observations about the goals of today’s jihad terrorist movement that are readily demonstrable from the words and deeds of the terrorists themselves. How is this “hateful,” much less “selective, reductive, and hurtful,” as the Emory Religious Life staff characterized it?
When Hidayatullah denounces us for “hid[ing] behind the alarmist and manipulative rhetoric of terrorism,” her focus is in the wrong place.
If she is really interested in “confronting and grappling with the realities of religious violence and difference,” her attention should be focused on devising positive ways to combat the seductive appeal of the message of the jihadis that we summarized in our ad – not on defaming those who are calling attention to jihadi activity.
Rabbi Michael Rabkin who is the director of the Emory Hillel accuses us of suggesting that “Islam is our enemy.” This is a false and defamatory claim. Nowhere does our ad state anything of the kind. In fact, in our response we specifically referred to our “enemy [as one] who has declared war on all Americans who do not subscribe to their perverse view of Islam.” In addition to distorting our stated position, Rabbi Rabkin fails to explain how publishing quotes from Osama bin Laden, Hassan Nasrallah, and the Hamas Charter says anything at all about Islam as such, or constitutes “alarmist rhetoric” that breeds “mistrust between Jews and Muslims.”
The mistrust is bred by Imams like Nasrallah who openly call for the extermination of the Jews. It is tragic that a rabbi should want to silence those who point this out.
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