Islamo-Fascism Awareness came to Temple last week, as part of a week-long event held by Temple College Republicans. Temple’s events were held in complement to a well-documented nationwide effort, seemingly aimed at linking Muslims and terrorists.
While it is true that the Sept. 11 terrorists were Muslim, Americans seem unable to sever the mental link between a relatively-recent militant group of terrorists and a 1,500-year-old religion.
The nationwide event is being coordinated by David Horowitz, the far-right “free speech” advocate who inspired Temple’s now-defunct Academic Bill of Rights.
According to Horowitz’s Web site, TerrorismAwareness.org, the mission of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is two-fold – ” … 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 to Americans than the terrorist threat.”
We would hope that increased awareness of the Muslim world would allow Americans to see the subtle complexities of this peaceful religion, but the opposite seems to be true. More than ever, Americans’ fear of terrorism has been transformed into fear of an entire culture.
The term Islamo-Fascism in itself is loaded. It was first coined in the late 1970s in reference to the right-wing leaders of Iran who had condemned pro-Western activity. In one fell swoop, it links an entire religion with a totalitarian political strategy which Americans most closely identify with Nazi Germany.
The fear-mongering associated with Islamo-fascism was best espoused by former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum in his speech here Wednesday night. Santorum, whose hawkish attitude toward the so-called War on Terror may very well have cost him his Senate seat last fall and left his audience with such paranoia that they wouldn’t be surprised if Islamic terrorists attacked the campus that very night.
“The enemy gets up everyday thinking about you, despising you,” Santorum said in his speech.
But Santorum, like President Bush, is ambiguous when he describes our enemy. He could be an Iraqi insurgent. He could be a Philippine terrorist. He could be Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But one thing is for certain. Whoever ‘the enemy’ may be, there’s no reason to confuse practicing Muslims for plotting terrorists. We’ll leave that up to Horowitz and Santorum.