David Horowitz, of whose Freedom Center Jihad Watch is a part, has alerted me to an ad in the Emory University campus newspaper, the Emory Wheel. While their statement makes serious — one might say defamatory — charges claiming that our ad “aims to intimidate, threaten, or reductively portray a religious group with the intent to antagonize or demean its members,” it fails to explain how our ad does this, or in what way it is inaccurate. This kind of undocumented smear constitutes a kind of hate speech itself.
Our ad notes that “the goal of jihad is world domination,” that “jihad demands the suppression of all infidels,” that its battle cry is “death to America,” and that it is a war against Christians, Jews, women and gays. Does the Emory Religious Life Staff deny that all around the globe there are movements — united under the banner of “jihad” — devoted to exactly these goals? We are well aware that there are within Islam other understandings of jihad, but that does not negate the fact that those who are pursuing the agenda we outlined call what they are doing “jihad.” It is demeaning, not empowering, to peaceful Muslims to deny or minimize this fact, for denying it robs them of an opportunity to work for reform within their own community, refuting the understanding of jihad put forward by bin Laden, Nasrallah, and their ilk. One cannot address a problem while simultaneously denying the existence of that problem.
Like the letters that appeared in the Emory Wheel after the publication of our ad, the Religious Life Staff ad contents itself with impugning our motives, without offering even one specific rebuttal of anything our ad asserts. Likewise, a Muslim writer who claimed to find my letter to the Wheel “full of glaring errors” was unable, in several windy posts, to come up with even one — and showed himself to be utterly dishonest in framing his alleged refutation.
If anyone in the Emory community is willing to discuss the specifics of the problem of jihad terrorism and what can be done about it in a mutually respectful manner, dealing in substance rather than in disingenuousness and defamation, I would be happy to do so.