Controversial conservative writer David Horowitz delivered an address on the dangers of modern Islam and what he calls a "genocidal" and "barbaric" Muslim culture to a large student audience in McCosh 10 last night.
Though he focused on Islamo-fascism, the name some conservative commentators give to a brand of Islam they deem similar to the fascist movements of 1930s Europe, Horowitz also talked about what he called the injustice of ad hominem arguments by the political left, reverse discrimination against white males and open academic debate within universities.
"There is a lot of hate coming at me and other leaders with similar opinions coming in a large part from the political left," he said. "I think people reading my writing on issues pertaining to universities will find that they are quite liberal, whereas I have been termed by the left as a far right-wing radical."
Horowitz denounced the female abuse and oppression that he said is rampant throughout Islamic states.
He went on to describe the intensity of Islamic hatred for Jews, citing a number of radical Muslim leaders and organizations such as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, who he said want to exterminate the Jews.
"Jew hating is not only rampant," he said, "but has become a religion in the Muslim world ever since the Nazis made a pact with radical Islamists."
Horowitz attributed what he perceives as the widespread anti-Semitic violence in Islamic states to fundamental religious and cultural aspects of Islamic life, including the lack of separation between religious institutions and the state in Islamic countries.
"I don't think there has been another religion that has made saints out of murderers, had children of age two thinking they should blow up carloads of Jews," Horowitz said.
"If you have a system of belief that controls how you live your daily life and a government that has the power to execute these things, that is a combination that will result in a totalitarian state. That is Islamo-fascism."
While listeners maintained a tense silence during Horowitz's forceful speech, the question-and-answer period that followed revealed audience members' equally powerful antagonism to his remarks.
"He was a pretty poorly chosen speaker, he wasn't even supporting the ideas of the right, and every two minutes he would change topic," said Anton Khabbaz, an associate research scholar in the molecular biology department. "He had no coherence, and he said many racist things."
Horowitz frequently rebuked the "hatred" he said was directed at him because of his beliefs as behavior inappropriate to an academic discussion. He opened the lecture with a colorful acknowledgement of the explosive reactions commonly seen in response to his opinions.
"I'm sure that some of you are coming here as though you are coming to a NASCAR event, to see a crash," Horowitz said.
Wyatt Yankus '09, vice president of the College Republicans, who sponsored the event, introduced Horowitz with a statement encouraging students and the University to maintain open academic discussion.
"[Horowitz] expresses an opinion not usually expressed on college campuses, but it is our duty to make sure that such opinions can be expressed at places such as our University," Yankus said.
Horowitz has had a controversial past at Princeton and at other peer institutions.
In March 2001, Horowitz submitted a controversial advertisement condemning slave reparations titled "Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery Is a Bad Idea — and Racist Too," to college papers including the Brown Daily Herald, the Duke Chronicle and The Daily Californian at UC-Berkeley. Some papers ran the ad, while others did not.
The Daily Princetonian ran Horowitz's ad on April 4, but also published a staff editorial that called it "an offensive piece of work" and promised to donate the ad's revenues to the Trenton chapter of the National Urban League, saying that the paper "[did] not want to profit from Horowitz's racism."
He, in turn, refused to pay the 'Prince' for the ad, explaining his rationale in a Salon.com column: "After flaming me in public — so easy for an irresponsible press where even the purchase of ad space merits an ad hominem attack — the princes will not get to donate my money."
Instead, he said, he would donate the money to a cause of his own choice.
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