The UW College Republicans are showing a film on campus Wednesday, October 24, called Suicide Killers. They're following up on Thursday, October 25, by hosting a speech by conservative radio host Michael Medved at Kane Hall.
The burst of activity from the campus chapter—which boasts an e-mail list of 1,400 members—is part of a national campaign sponsored by the ultra-right-wing, Los Angeles–based David Horowitz Freedom Center called "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week." Protests, speeches, and events are taking place at 100 colleges all over the country. According to the sponsoring group's website, the point is to debunk the left's "big lie" that "George Bush created the war on terror." You know what: If anyone needs to be schooled on Islamo-fascism, it's actually George Bush, who dropped the war on terror for his idiotic war on Iraq. But more on that in a second.
Back to UW.
The idea, according to Tom Walker, the president of UW's College Republicans, is "to raise awareness about what we feel is an extremist brand of Islam that is spreading rapidly around the world, posing a threat not only to America and Western society, but to moderate Muslims who are being suppressed and oppressed by radical and militant brands of Islam."
It seems to me, however, that Walker could use a dose of "awareness" himself. When I asked him to identify some of the threats from radical Islam around the globe—and there are certainly enough examples—he talked about "rioting Muslims in Paris burning cars and tires." He was referring, of course, to the riots in late 2005 that turned the suburbs of Paris into a showcase of anarchy.
The problem with Walker's perception? The rioters weren't radical Islamists calling for a return to the caliphate. Yes, they were brown people, and yes, they were largely Muslim immigrants. But they were rioting not because they wanted to overthrow French society, but because they wanted be part of it—jobs, rights, discotheques, not getting shot by cops.
Walker's misperception is important because critics of this week's focus on Islamic terrorism, such as Amin Odeh, a board member with Seattle's Arab American Community Coalition, are nervous that Republicans are simplistically linking all of Islam with fascism. Walker's ignorance about the Paris riots speaks directly to Odeh's point that the very organizers of this "awareness" event are unaware and are simply lumping Arabs together.
But as I said, you know who the College Republicans need to educate most about the threat of radical Islam? President Bush.
The Bush administration has spent nearly $450 billion on the Iraq war—a four-year misadventure that has nothing to do with Islamo-fascism. Bush forgot all about al Qaeda and the actual war on Islamo-fascism five years ago when he focused America's resources on a bizarre, ill-informed invasion of Iraq. America was poised to capitalize on our victory over the Taliban and militants in Afghanistan, when Bush shambled into Iraq.
If anything, the College Republicans should team up with anti–Iraq war students and demand that America get some accurate Islamo-fascism awareness, get out of Iraq, and get back to Afghanistan and western Pakistan—where al Qaeda regrouped while we were busy wasting time and money in Baghdad.