Islamo-Fascism will once again be the hot topic on campus tonight as author Robert Spencer comes to Memorial Union at 6:45 p.m.
Spencer’s lecture is titled “Jihad: What They Say and Why it Matters.” The event is sponsored by University of Wisconsin College Republicans.
CR Chair Sara Mikolajczak said she has seen Spencer four times before, and he has always been fair when presenting his arguments.
“He presents facts and numbers and things that he’s found through research of the Koran and what other people have said,” Mikolajczak said. “Then he expects people to come away with their own representation of it.”
The event is similar to a lecture held last year by author David Horowitz as a part of his “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” last October.
At that event, several liberal and minority students became unruly during the question and answer session in response to inflammatory comments by Horowitz.
During that speech, former UW lecturer Kevin Barrett stood up and tried to get him to talk about possible government involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Barrett was met with the “asshole” chant and booed out of the room.
Mikolajczak said UW Police will be present at the event to try and deter any outbursts and protect Spencer if needed.
She added she doesn’t think this event will be as disorderly as the one featuring Horowitz, since it is in a smaller room and the name Horowitz “incites people in and of itself.”
“A lot of people don’t really know who Robert Spencer is,” Mikolajczak said. “I think people are going to come for the intelligent debate, not the yelling and screaming and throwing things like little children.”
Since publicity of the event began, Mikolajczak has received multiple hate e-mails from people around campus.
“I’ve been getting e-mails comparing me to Hitler, e-mails commenting on the CRs in general, e-mails saying the entire Republican Party is racist, sexist, homophobic,” Mikolajczak said. “You know, the usual stuff I get from people on campus.”
Tarek Elgindi, chair of the Muslim Student Association, said he doesn’t believe Spencer will add much of value to campus, at great cost to the university due to the increased police presence.
Elgindi is familiar with Spencer’s lectures and said he has a “weird way” of talking about Islam.
“He will say on one hand that the majority of Muslims in the world are peaceful, good people,” Elgindi said. “On the other hand, he will somehow convince the audience that the Koran is preaching violence, which is kind of contradictory.”
He added there are other, less biased Muslim scholars who could speak on the issues.
CR is not participating in Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week this year to focus on November’s presidential and congressional elections, Mikolajczak said.
“I wish they had completely gotten rid of the idea,” Elgindi said. “It didn’t do much good to this campus. There’s very little that somebody could have taken from the lecture by David Horowitz.”
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The first 100 who arrive to the Great Hall will receive a free copy of “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” courtesy of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.