From the Field

Horowitz spews hate on UNC campus, students push back strong

Anu Joshi • Apr 22, 2015
Demonstrators hold signs at a vigil for Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha and Deah Barakat, Muslim students who were shot to death in Chapel Hill in February.

On April 13, noted anti-Muslim activist David Horowitz spoke on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus. Founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC), a vehemently anti-Muslim think tank, which funds and coordinates Islamophobic activities, Horowitz has utilized his various platforms and millions of dollars of funding to orchestrate an all-out assault on minorities, specifically, but not limited to, Muslims.

Invited by the UNC College Republicans, Christians United for Israel and Young America’s Foundation, Horowitz focused his speech on the ‘threat’ of Islamic terrorists, including, he claimed, students on the UNC campus. He said: “The goal of SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine], the MSA [Muslim Student Association] and the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Fatah, and Iran and Hezbollah is to kill the Jews, to push them into the sea.”

In response to the fearmongering, hate-filled speech, one UNC student, Nicole Fauster, organized a Twitter campaign (#NotSafeUNC) to express the fear that many students feel on a regular basis: “It came out of a desire to create a platform for students to be able to explain and share their own situations and experiences and incidents that have happened to them on campus that have made feel unsafe,” she said.

The UNC College Republicans, in a Facebook post, questioned the validity of the #NotSafeUNC premise: “We wholeheartedly believe that UNC is a safe place for all students and call into question any claims that there are legitimate threats to the safety of students on the basis of color, creed, or ethnicity on UNC’s campus.” This less than two months after three Muslim Chapel Hill students were murdered near campus.

On Friday, the last day of classes, the student of color on campus are organizing a “People of Color centered day of visibility” in solidarity with Muslims and Palestinians on campus.

As Manzoor Cheema, of Muslims for Social Justice, noted in a Letter to the Editor following the event, “Islamophobia, like any other form of hatred, has serious consequences … Since 9/11, countless Muslims and people who resemble Muslims have been murdered in the USA allegedly as revenge against ‘Muslim extremists’.”

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