Posted at 12:03 PM on Monday, October 20, 2008 by David Horowitz
Daniel Pipes Comes to Campus
Today, Student Life was faced with the tough decision of whether or not to run a potentially inflammatory ad for a speech by conservative commentator Daniel Pipes. College Newspapers across the country have been faced with the decision of whether to run to run the ad for David Horowitz’s Islamo-Facisim awareness week.
At the end of the day, we made the decision to run the ad based on two primary factors: the ad relates directly to an event on campus later this week (the speech of Daniel Pipes) and not wanting to enter the murky waters of censoring advertisments based on our personal beliefs—that is the exact reason that we separate the business and editorial sides of the paper.
At the same time, the editorial board felt that this was an event that could not go unnoticed on campus. After lengthy debate we came to a consensus and I authored an editorial balancing the need for open discussion on campus and condemning the bigotry and intolerance inherent in Islamo-Facism awareness week.
This week student groups across the country are hosting speakers, panel discussions and film screenings as a part of the third annual, nation-wide Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Sponsored nationally by the Terrorism Awareness Project, Islamo-Fascism Awareness week fuels the dangerous and hateful lie that Islam is a violent religion and undermines the values of tolerance that lie at the core of the Washington University community.
As a part of the week, our campus will play host to author and historian Daniel Pipes, a commentator whose views on Islam approach bigotry. Although he rightly believes that it is possible to fight terrorism by supporting moderate Muslims, Pipes has consistently ignored the reality that the vast majority of Muslims belong to this category. In an April 2007 column in the New York Sun, Pipes wrongfully asserted that moderate Muslims “constitute a very small movement when compared to the Islamist onslaught;” this statement is characteristic of the intolerant attitude that Pipes has consistently espoused in appearances at colleges around the country—and that he is likely to share tomorrow night.
Given Pipes’s history of hateful speech, it is likely that his appearance tomorrow night will be controversial and inflammatory. Though his opinions are steeped with intolerance, Student Life firmly rejects any a priori attempt to censor Pipes’s speech or opinions. However radical the message of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, it is critical to the success of our nation’s democracy that the marketplace of ideas be allowed to function freely. It is important to remember that the only effective counterbalance to hate speech is more speech
Encouraging open expression, however, is not a justification for passively accepting the ideas that are repulsive to any common sense of decency. Pipes’s lecture specifically includes an extended question and answer session—a unique forum for students to engage Pipes in discussion and to make known their opinions about a subject with critical global implications. It is incumbent upon the University community to parse Pipes’s message with a critical eye and to form an educated opinion that does not simply parrot the loudest ideologue in earshot.
Mr. Pipes, be cognizant of your audience and the reality that Washington University is not a campus faced with a daily threat from Islamic extremists. You have a venue to speak on the importance of building communities of moderates—take advantage of that, but be mindful of your message and do not devolve into intolerance.
Students, do not let Pipes’s speech go unnoticed and do not passively accept that which should be the source of vigorous debate. Attend Pipes’ speech, weigh his argument and challenge his ideas and their underlying implications. Most importantly, prove that acceptance and diversity are not merely empty promises, but rather values firmly embedded in our community. Read the full editorial for more details.
Read the full editorial for more details.
We have implemented a new commenting system. To use it you must login/register with disqus. Registering is simple and can be done while posting this comment itself. Please contact gzenone [at] horowitzfreedomcenter.org if you have any difficulties.
blog comments powered by