In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
Muslim students respond to Islamo-Fascism Week
By Jane Mee Wong
Northwest Asian Weekly
Photo by Jan Mee Wong
Students at the University of Washington protest against Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week events held on campus. Students were especially upset by the presence of Michael Medved, a conservative talk-show host who has said that Islam is a “primitive” religion.
Nov. 3, 2007
Organized on the premise of discussions concerning Islamic fundamentalism’s ties to human right abuses and terrorism, Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week was held across 100 campuses in the country last week, including the University of Washington.
In conjunction with the national drive organized by David Horowitz, a neoconservative political activist, the UW College Republicans invited conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved to speak at UW on Oct 23. Medved is well known for igniting controversy. He created an uproar when, on his radio program, he pointed out “an inherent problem in Islam” as the reason for the violence in the Muslim world. Medved claimed that “a core foundational difference between Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, if you will, even Hinduism and Islam” is that Islam is “a primitive religion.”
As might be expected, then, his speaking engagement at UW produced more than 600 signatures from faculty, students and community members opposing his anti-Islam message.
Supporters of Medved’s views, the UW College Republicans, hosted a movie entitled “Suicide Killers” on Oct. 22. The documentary, produced by French filmmaker Pierre Rehov, focuses on the Palestinian conflict and portrays Muslims as suicide bombers and victims of a violent psychosis. The film also attributes the violence of the Palestinians to the restrictions that Islamic society places between male and female members of society. “The AK-47 is a phallic symbol,” claims the film.
“The translation in the movie was all wrong,” an Arab-speaking Palestinian international student protested after the film. “(The film) mistranslated the Arabic word for (Israeli) ‘military tanks’ into ‘civilian buses.’” He added, “What it means for Palestinians to shoot at invading tanks is very different from them attacking civilian buses.”
At the end of the one-and-a-half-hour film, the visibly agitated audience waited for a question and answer session. However, the College Republican representative told the audience to instead return the next day for the talk with Medved.
“Refusing to debate the film after they (the College Republicans) promised dialogue is indicative of the fact that they cannot defend this white supremacist tripe. They are cowards,” said Khalil El Bathy, a community member present at the event.
The following evening, “We want dialogue, bring out Medved!” was one of the chants heard outside Kane Hall 220, the venue of Medved’s rescheduled talk. Having protested outside the building against his talk, the crowd of about 100, made up predominantly of Muslims and people of color, had arrived at the venue only to find it full. The continual calls for Medved to address the crowd met with no avail. “Medved intended for us (Muslims) not to be here. His lecture was meant for his supporters. There is no dialogue,” said Werda Osman, a UW student.
The crowd outside of Kane 220 was nonetheless “amazing,” according to Osman. “This is not just about Islam. Oppressed people everywhere will come together no matter what,” she said.
As a response to the Islamo-Fascism events, the Muslim Students Association organized a campus event on Oct. 29. The “Ask a Muslim” panel consisted of four speakers and answered a variety of questions from the 30-odd-member audience.
The questions ranged from what the “ummah,” or Muslim community, represents, to how Muslims in the United States can stand in international solidarity with Muslims worldwide, to how Christians can struggle together with Muslims against white supremacy in the United States.
Hala Dillsi, one of the event’s organizers, said, “When people think about Islam, they think its people ‘over there,’ or simply about Osama (Bin Laden). We want to show that the Muslim community here is dynamic and is made up of many different people and ideas.”
The question of whether Muslim women are oppressed because they wear the hijab, the traditional covering for the hair and neck, dominated the discussion. Panel speaker Ammah Eqeiq, a Palestinian international graduate student, claimed, “For me, I am discouraged from wearing the hijab in the U.S. for security reasons.” Pulling her headscarf back down onto her neck, Eqeiq made the point that she can “pass as a liberated, free woman” if she didn’t put on her hijab. However, for her, “not being able to wear the hijab is oppression.”
“The hijab is an external symbol for my internal commitment to God,” said Dillsi. She asked, “Why are people always so concerned about women wearing the hijab? Is it because they like to control women, whether they wear the hijab or not?”
The full story in :
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW