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Radical Islamist students at UPenn say Islamo Fascism Awareness week could be "hazardous" agitate for da'wa

October 22, 2007

Muslim Students' Association of Penn State University October 17, 2007 The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at Penn State University wishes to express grave concern regarding the "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW)" event that will take place on campus during the week of October 22nd - 26th. This is part of a nationwide campaign that brings together controversial speakers and would likely stir hostility and division among students and student groups. This movement has been created by David Horowitz - who is best known for his racist and xenophobic campaigns targeting African Americans and other minority groups.

The event is clearly intended to agitate and provoke students and community groups. Labeling an entire religion as fascist is offensive, inaccurate and inappropriate since it conveys a faulty image of more than a thousand Muslims at Penn State, and a billion Muslims around the world. Such a label trespasses the frontiers of freedom of speech that is bounded by the infringement of other people's rights with respect to freedom of belief and falsified attack on their personal integrity. The forum, as suggested by its title, is not educational in nature nor is it intended to promote awareness, but rather promotes hatred and division. The biggest fear among Muslim students, faculty, administrators, and community is that the event creates an environment of intolerance, fear, and prejudice. Faculty could be perceived by their students as fascists; students could view their colleagues as promoters of fascist agendas, and staff could be alienated by colleagues and superiors. Repercussions could lead to tension and divisiveness among students, hate crimes, and additional alienation of the Muslim community in general. Pennsylvania State University promotes diversity, equality, freedom of belief, and safety of its community.

The said event compromises those values to say the least. We believe Penn State University, as an institution of learning, should provide an opportunity for all to express opinions in a safe and rational way. We fear, however, that this Islamophobic program will have hazardous consequences on the Penn State community. It is important to distinguish between freedom of speech and hate speech. This column is not intended to refute the claims of the forum speakers and organizers; rather, we are confident that the true message of Islam and the genuine beliefs and faith of Muslims are evident through the character of the Muslim community at Penn State. In addition, the MSA will be organizing educational events and outreach activities, such as the annual Islam Awareness Week, including forums and seminars by respected and renowned scholars to educate people about the true message and ideals of Islam.

Muslim Students' Association of Penn State University [email protected]

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