One of the most energetic opponents of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week was the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which sent letters to the presidents of all the colleges hosting IFAW events, urging them to censor the speakers in advance and not allow the Week’s activities to go on. The ADC’s President, former U.S. Representative Mary Rose Oakar, charged in the letter that “these planned activities seek not to increase awareness, tolerance, and understanding, but instead promote intolerance, fear, and bigotry…ADC is deeply troubled by the possibility that a tiny handful of student with a narrow political agenda, backed by a well-funded special interest group, would organize this type of hateful and bigoted event on your campus. I urge you to ensure that hate speech and demonstrations of bigotry and racial and religious profiling not be tolerated on your campus.”
It was ironic that the ADC would charge the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week speakers with promoting “hate speech” and “bigotry,” since the ADC itself has never hesitated to ally itself with genuine purveyors of hate speech and worse. ADC then-President Hamzi Moghrabi said in 1994: “I will not call [Hamas] a terrorist organization. I mean, I know many people in Hamas. They are very respectable…I don’t believe Hamas, as an organization, is a violent organization.” This despite the “glory record” Hamas featured on its website up until just a few years ago – a record that openly celebrated the murders of innocent civilians. In 1996, Moghrabi’s successor as ADC’s President, Hala Maksoud, declared: “I find it shocking that [one] would include Hezbollah in…[an] inventory of Middle East ‘terrorist’ groups.” Similarly, the ADC’s Communications Director Hussein Ibish said in 2000: “Everywhere Hezbollah fighters, derided by the Israeli and U.S. governments as ‘terrorists,’ conducted themselves in an exemplary manner.”
And the ADC’s founder, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, traveled last summer to Damascus and said on Hizballah's Al-Manar TV that Hamas and Hizballah were “resistance fighters.” He added that the U.S. government designated them terrorist organizations “at the request of Israel. That name was done at the request of Israel – that the United States calls them terrorist organizations.” Venturing farther and farther into paranoid conspiracy theorizing, he stated that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, “the Zionists were looking around for another enemy to have, because to them the Soviet Union was an enemy because they wouldn’t allow Jewish emigration. So they used that as an organizing tool, basically, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was no more organizing about the Soviet Union. So they looked around, and they said: Well, the Muslims. Let’s find the Arabs and the Muslims, and make them the boogeyman. And that’s what they did.” What, then, of 9/11? “[T]he Arabs who were involved in 9/11 cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs. It’s a racist sort of thing, really racist – you know, picking out these 19 or 20 terrorists – they were terrorists – and saying all the Arabs are like them. So, you know, people in America don’t really look at it that deeply, and they accept what the government and the press are saying.”
Such inflammatory rhetoric is nothing new for Abourezk. In a 2006 interview with Counterpunch, he revealed some of the assumptions that led the ADC to try to stop Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week: “Racism against people of Arab descent is getting worse, the fires of which are being fanned by the President and by Congress and the media. We continually hear about ‘radical Islamists’ performing acts of terrorism, but did we ever hear Adolf Hitler called a ‘Christian terrorist,’ or a ‘Christian Dictator?’ Or did anyone ever refer to Timothy McVeigh as a ‘Christian terrorist’?”
This is a common canard, but an empty one. Hitler and McVeigh could not and did not point to Christian Scripture to explain their actions. Their actions did not proceed in accord with the teachings of any Christian Church. Islamic jihadists, on the other hand, do make extensive use of Islamic texts and teachings, and every school of Islamic jurisprudence teaches that Muslims must conquer unbelievers and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law.
Abourezk, meanwhile, went on to blame Islamic terrorism on its victims: “Terrorism does not exist in a vacuum. It does not come from thin air. It is a result of people who believe that their lives cannot be improved by occupation and that there is nothing left for them to do except to commit acts of terrorism.”
Abourezk’s readiness to excuse acts of violence committed by Muslims -- and to dismiss the bloody deeds of Hamas and Hizballah -- while demonizing the resistance to that violence is evidence of a man who has lost his moral compass. The ADC, by its oft-reiterated support for Islamic terror groups and its attempt to demonize, discredit, and destroy Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, has forfeited all claim to be what it says it is: a “grassroots civil rights organization” committed to “empowering Arab Americans.” Arab Americans, whether Christian or Muslim, aren’t empowered by clumsy attempts at censorship and dalliance with Islamic supremacism and violence. They might be empowered by a forthright rejection of Islamic supremacism and the jihadist agenda, and comprehensive efforts against that agenda within the Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S. But such has not been forthcoming from the ADC, and it will not be.
Judged by its stated mission, the ADC has been a spectacular failure.