We are the authors of the ad “What Every American Needs To Know About Jihad,” to which the Emory religious life staff & campus ministry affiliates have taken exception in a response published in 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.
The text of our ad was quite clear. We quoted Osama Bin Laden’s statement that is the duty of Muslims to kill Americans, and the Hamas Charter which promises that Islam will “obliterate” Israel, and Hassan Nasrallah’s statement that “the Jews are a cancer.” We stated that “the goal of jihad is world domination,” that “jihad demands the suppression of all infidels,” that its battle cry is “death to America.” We noted that it is a war against Christians, Jews, women and gays. Does the Emory religious life staff deny that these are statements of Islamic leaders or that all around the globe there are movements – united under the banner of “jihad” – devoted to 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 to peaceful Muslims to deny or minimize this fact, as the Emory religious life staff does, for denying it robs Muslims of an opportunity to work for reform within their own community, refuting the version of jihad put forward by Ahmadinejad, Bin Laden, Nasrallah and the global Islamic terrorist movement. One cannot address a problem while simultaneously denying the existence of that problem.
We are disconcerted to see members of Hillel condemning the truths in our ad when Islamic jihadis have openly declared their goal to be the destruction of the Jewish state. If Jews will not defend themselves, who will?
It is shameful that a group of religious leaders in an academic community, instead of addressing an argument, would resort to ad hominem attacks against those they disagree with. This is a poor example to set for Emory students and a dangerous way to conduct a debate about an enemy who has declared war on all Americans who do not subscribe to their perverse view of Islam. A group purporting to speak for moral standards should know better.