Drawing concern from liberal and minority-based campus groups, conservative author David Horowitz kicks off a weeklong event at the University of Wisconsin today opposing Muslim extremism.
Horowitz, founder of Students for Academic Freedom, provoked controversy at UW in February 2001 for ,taking out in advertisement in The Badger Herald arguing against reparations for slavery. He is also the author of several books, including “The Race Card: White Guilt, Black Resentment, and the Assault on Truth and Justice,” and “Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam And The American Left.”
The author’s visit is part of “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” and has raised concerns over prejudicem against the Muslim community. The event has been criticized by the Muslim Students’ Association, Black Student Union, MultiCultural Student Coalition, International Socialist Organization, Campus Antiwar Network and College Democrats, according to College Democrats Chair Oliver Kiefer.”Horowitz will talk about how the radical faction of Islam is a danger to the United States and to the world,” UW College Republicans Chair Sara Mikolajczak said.
The lecture comes on the heels of a campus anti-war conference attracting nearly 100 students from CAN chapters across the nation this weekend. During the conference, students had a chance to hear Iraq Veterans Against the War founder Camilo Mejia speak about his experiences in Iraq.
CAN representatives said they will join the other groups in protesting Horowitz’s visit today with posters outside the Memorial Union Theater.
Muslim Student Association Vice President Sarrah AbuLughod said her group will hold an event Tuesday to present a different perspective of the Muslim community.
“[Horowitz is] trying to put Muslims into a category, and that’s not true,” AbuLughod said. “I hope that all students come to both events and are able to educate themselves and make up their minds [about Muslims].”
The MSA, though, is not participating in any specific protest of the event.
Mikolajczak said the UW Police Department has been notified of a possible disruption during the lecture and will be present during the event.
“They’ve got every right to be there, as long as they’re not disruptive while he’s speaking,” Mikolajczak said. “I actually hope they do show up.”
Chancellor John Wiley, who was contacted by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee last week, wrote a letter Friday to explain the university’s view on what he called an “inflammatory campaign.”
In the letter, Wiley wrote UW does not endorse Horowitz’s ideas “but is providing an environment where the widest variety of views can be aired.
“We also have a strong commitment to academic freedom and First Amendment rights, and a belief that, in an open marketplace of ideas, the strongest ideas will be embraced and fraudulent ideas will be exposed,” Wiley wrote in the letter.
Horowitz’s lecture will take place today at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Theater, and is open to all UW students, faculty and staff.