What began as a peaceful screening of the documentary, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West”, Monday afternoon at Columbus (Ohio) State Community College turned to shouts and intimidation as Muslim students confronted students in attendance and Islamofascism Awareness Week event organizers. The video screening was part of Columbus State’s Islamofascism Awareness Week activities hosted by the campus chapter of the Terrorism Awareness Project (TAP), which runs through Wednesday.
According to TAP president Josiah Lanning, commotion began during the first screening of the documentary film and continued to escalate throughout the afternoon. According to Lanning, an individual who identified himself as an Iraqi Muslim began loudly arguing with audience members. After continuing to disrupt the discussion period following the screening, the individual complained that the group was allowed to show the film and warned Lanning not to show the film again.
Three screenings of the Fox News documentary, “Jihad USA: Homegrown Terror” are planned for today (Tuesday), and screenings of both “Obsession” and “Jihad USA” planned for Wednesday afternoon.
Lanning expressed concerns that more confrontations might be forthcoming this week, as the school hosts a chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Muslim Student Association. Columbus State, which reportedly has one of the highest Muslim student body representations of any public higher education institution in the country, has previously been the site of threats of violence and intimidation by Muslim students.
In November 2001, campus preacher Jed Smock was evicted from the Columbus State campus on orders from administrators over concerns that his vocal criticisms of the Quran would lead to violence by Muslim students. Columbus State president Val Moeller told the Associated Press that she feared for Smock’s safety just weeks after 9/11. Moeller had refused Smock a “speaking permit” to allow him to continue preaching in a designated “free speech” area.
The confrontation on Monday is not the first time that Islamofascism Awareness Week events at Columbus State have been marked with controversy. As I reported here at FrontPage last October, “Censorship State”, Columbus State Director of Student Activities and Athletics Timeka Rashid attempted to censor IAW promotional materials, stating concerns about “campus climate”. After the FrontPage article appeared, Rashid relented and allowed the events to go on as scheduled and permitting the posting of promotional fliers around campus.
As I reported a few days later in a follow-up FrontPage article, “A Former Congresswoman Tries to Censor Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”, Columbus State administrators attempting to censor the student events were acting at the behest of Mary Rose Oakar of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, who sent a letter to Columbus State president Val Moeller saying that IAW events “should not be tolerated”.
Representatives of the extremist brand of Islam have no trouble getting a hearing at the school, however, as evidenced last July when Columbus State administrators convened a “discussion on Islam” for faculty and staff led by local Islamic extremist Mohammad Dini. Before moving to Columbus, Dini had been a regular speaker at the infamous Dar Ul Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, which was home to two 9/11 terrorists, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, and was led by Yemeni Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi. Dini is also a former Muslim Student Association official and attended the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (IIASA), run by the Saudi government and described in one report as “largest source of Saudi hate literature in the Washington area”. IIASA was raided by the federal government in July 2004 as part of a terrorism investigation, and a number of staff had their diplomatic visas revoked and were deported to “protect the homeland”.
Lanning reports that Rashid and other administrators have been cooperative in approving this term’s IAW events, but he had not spoken with them since the confrontation by Muslim students on Monday. He said he hopes that the incident will not used by administrators as a pretext to censor the scheduled IAW activities later this week.
FrontPage will continue to monitor the situation at Columbus State and report on any further interference of Islamofascism Awareness Week events or acts of intimidation against Terrorism Awareness Project student leaders.