Thursday, April 5, 2012

Freedom Center Ads & Double Standards

The controversy is heating up over a David Horowitz Freedom Center advertisement published in an Ohio State University student newspaper.

Under the headline “Former Leaders of the Muslim Student Association (MSA): Where Are They Now?,” the ad in The Lantern simply lists, without comment, ten MSA co-founders and former presidents connected to terrorist entities such as al Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Not all have criminal convictions, but among them are such terrorist superstars as former Anwar al-Awlaki, the budding “bin Laden 2.0” taken out last year in a drone attack, and Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, spokesman for al Qaeda in Somalia. The ad closes by promoting a new pamphlet by Daniel Greenfield at the Freedom Center, Muslim Hate Groups on Campus, which documents the radical origins and violent objectives of the main Muslim student organizations on our nation’s campuses, such as the MSA and Students for Justice in Palestine, which are sponsors of hate-fests like “Israeli Apartheid Weeks” or “Palestine Awareness Weeks.”

In fact, the Ohio State University branch of the MSA has had connections to terrorists itself, as noted in the 2008 FrontPage piece, “Terror-Funded MSA at Ohio State.” Kindhearts, the sponsor of a 2006 MSA conference, was closed by order of the Department of the Treasury for financing terrorism:
Kindhearts, however, was not the only terror-connected sponsor of the OSU MSA conference. Also supporting the MSA’s conference was its local parent organization, Masjid Omar Ibn El-Khattab, known affectionately in the Central Ohio area as “Masjid Al-Qaeda”. The mosque nearby the OSU campus was home to the largest known Al-Qaeda cell in the US.
After 9/11 the OSU MSA email list regularly published news releases by Islamic terrorist organizations and encouraged readers to buy videos from a terrorist support website. In 2003 the student organization helped host now-convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian. More recently, the OSU MSA jointly sponsored an event featuring notorious Muslim Brotherhood leader Jamal Badawi.

One of the Ohio State students who have complained about the DHFC ad is International Studies major Jana al-Akhras, 18. “I am offended not only as a Muslim or as a general-body member of the MSA, but as a member of the OSU community,” she said. “We do not stand for discrimination, hate or intolerance here.” Nor does the Freedom Center – its ad has no hateful, intolerant, or discriminatory content, except perhaps an implied intolerance for terrorist activity. That’s enough for al-Akhras to dismiss it as “hate speech”; she claims that the ad constitutes a blanket statement labeling Muslim students as security threats. “It’s a blatant attempt at reinforcing stereotypes and causing widespread fear of Muslims on campus.” To imply that the MSA is responsible for international terrorism only “breeds hatred,” she insists.

Al-Akhras did not explain how merely identifying the names of ten MSA leaders and their demonstrable connections to terrorism breeds hatred; nor did she address the fact that it is the terrorists themselves and their supporters who are the ones consumed by hatred and “reinforcing stereotypes” about Muslims. She also did not contradict the factuality of the ad’s content; she only offered the excuse that there can be “bad apples” in any organization.
She believes “there’s a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech.” Apparently the facts presented in the DHFC ad cross that line. OSU Undergraduate Student Government President Nick Messenger chimed in, calling the ad “false, bigoted and full of hate speech that doesn’t have a place on campus.” Neither he nor al-Akhras provided any evidence for their accusations; nonetheless, she said that The Lantern “had every right to deny [the ad] as hate speech.”

The Lantern publications committee disagreed with them. A faculty adviser for the student paper confirmed that “the adviser and co-chair of the publications committee agreed that the ad did not violate [their] policy.” A Muslim student at OSU contributed an editorial to The Lantern defending the right to freedom of speech and pointing out that the magazine’s editors have no control over the advertising. But then she wrote, “If there's someone we should all be mad at, it's Daniel Greenfield who wrote the pamphlet.” Interestingly, none of the student complainants is mad at the listed terrorists or the MSA for breeding them, only at the Freedom Center for bringing this to people’s attention.

David Horowitz noted that “this attack on the messenger instead of addressing the facts is the standard operating procedure of the terrorists and their apologists, who include leading liberal organizations like the Center for American Progress.” [The Soros-funded Center for American Progress released a report late last year – “Fear Inc., The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” – attacking the critics of jihad as “Islamophobes”; numerous FrontPage writers have exposed and discredited it].

This is the usefulness of the concept of “hate speech” for such opponents of free speech as al-Akhras: when faced with the irrefutable truth – in this case the documented connections of MSA leadership to violent jihad – they simply claim to be offended and denounce it as “hate speech.” End of story. No debate. No acknowledgement of the facts. Instead of addressing the content of the ad, al-Akhras and its other critics simply seek to shut down the truth as “hate.”

Furthermore, Jana al-Akhras’ indignation and accusations of hate speech reek of hypocrisy. According to the Jawa Report, she is the daughter of Ahmad al-Akhras, former National Vice Chairman of CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood front group posing as a civil advocacy organization. The Brotherhood is devoted to the elimination of Western civilization.

Two years ago al-Akhras was on a Viva Palestina caravan bearing supplies and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to Hamas in Gaza. She appeared on Al-Jazeera discussing the caravan, which met with several Hamas leaders including known terrorists. Also on the caravan was Mohammed Soltan, president of the Ohio State Muslim Student Association and son of international terror sheikh Salah Soltan. The convoy members met with a number of Hamas officials, including the Hamas representative in Lebanon, and Musa Abu Marzook, the deputy leader of Hamas and a designated terrorist. They were also greeted by Hamas spokesman Talal Nasser and the political bureau head of Hamas himself, Khaled Mishaal.

Perhaps if Jana al-Akhras is so intolerant of hatred, a good place to begin condemning it is in the Hamas charter itself, which openly promises the extermination of Israel. Or she could condemn the Muslim Brotherhood’s open Jew-hatred and its subversive plan for destroying America and Israel. She could even start with the baby step of questioning why the Muslim Students Association spawns so many “bad apples.” But that would require acknowledging the truth.

(This article first appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 2/2/12)