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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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All sides holding events on Islam

Students supporting and opposing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week will hold coinciding events in the next several days – leading up to a speech from conservative author David Horowitz Thursday night.

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a nationwide event that organizers say is meant to combat violent, radical Muslim ideologies. It is being hosted on campus by the GW Young America’s Foundation, which was recently targeted by a satirical poster campaign mocking the event as racist.

The conservative week will include a panel of journalists, a movie screening, a protest in front of the women’s studies department and a speech by Horowitz.

The Muslim Students’ Association and other groups said they are holding other events during the week – calling them “Peace Not Prejudice” events – to present alternate viewpoints. After Horowitz’s speech Thursday, they will be holding an interfaith vigil in Kogan Plaza featuring religious leaders from the area.

Deena Elmaghrabi, treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association, said she supports free speech on campus and thinks the other viewpoint should also be represented.

“We’re presenting an alternative option to those events,” she said. “We’ve made it pretty clear that we don’t think those events shouldn’t happen.”

She added, “We’re just trying to work on our events and help the Muslim community deal with what’s coming up in the coming week.”

Sergio Gor, a senior and president of GW YAF, said radical Islam communities must be acknowledged.

“We hope to raise awareness and to let people know that (radical Islam) is happening,” Gor said. “We live in D.C. We are blocks away from the White House and yet we forget that we’re so blessed in this nation – that there are other people that are suffering daily and it should not be ignored.”

Horowitz is organizing the week at more than 100 schools and has already roused controversy on other campuses.

Because of the poster incident two weeks ago, Gor said attention has increased significantly. He was recently a guest on Fox News’ “Hannity and Colmes” along with Adam Kokesh – a creator of the posters.

“I guess that’s one good thing that came out of the poster incident: we got our name really out there. Before we even advertised everyone knew everything about us,” Gor said.

Sophomore Tarek Al-Hariri, an organizer of Peace Not Prejudice, said he and others have maintained contact with the individuals who postered campus – in hopes their message this week will not be violent. Both parties oppose the week, but Al-Hariri said the posters were not tactful.

“So we want to know what they are doing, because we want to avoid any other postering,” Al-Hariri said. “I’ve tried keeping in close contact with (Kokesh), and I’ve tried to tell him, ‘You guys have to get out of the ideal that we are there to fight.'”

Junior Jocelyn Koresko signed up for the Horowitz event Friday afternoon and signed an anti-terror petition because she said she supports YAF’s message.

“I signed up for this because I’m a conservative and I really feel like conservatives aren’t represented on this campus that much,” Koresko said.

She added, “YAF really stands for commenting on Islamic fundamentalism, which is exactly the thing that attacked this country on 9/11.”

Gor said they have sold about half the tickets available for the Horowitz event on Thursday, which is being held in the Jack Morton Auditorium.

The national Young America’s Foundation, in conjunction with Horowitz, have taken out full page ads and written letters to The Hatchet, as well as local and national newspapers.

The ads said University President Steven Knapp has toned down his attitude after learning the posters were not intended to be anti-Muslim hate speech – but rather an attack on conservatives.

On Saturday, an editorial written by the Washington Times labels Knapp the “Knave of the Week.”

“Late last week, after the perpetrators came forward, the university announced that all disciplinary issues would be handled by the Student Judicial Services, and not the administration,” the editorial read.

University spokespeople have said that Knapp never intended to handle the situation without SJS, and his reaction did not represent a wavering opinion. Knapp’s initial statement, issued immediately after the postering, did not call for expulsion – nor did it state he would handle the situation within his administration.

Eric Roper contributed to this report.

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