Controversial author and outspoken critic of Islam David Horowitz denounced both radical Islam and what he called a liberal bias in college classrooms during an on-campus lecture last night.
Horowitz’s appearance, sponsored by the University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, drew a crowd of about 40 supporters and a handful of critics to an auditorium in the Modern Language Building.
Horowitz is the editor of the conservative web publication FrontPage Magazine and speaks regularly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and issues of academic freedom. His visit to campus was a part of National Radical Islam Awareness Week, an event Horowitz created to spread the view against what he calls “Islamofascism.” Young Americans for Freedom is hosting several on-campus events in conjunction with the week.
Six police officers and a personal bodyguard stood alert throughout Horowitz’s lecture, but the event proceeded without disturbance.
Horowitz denounced the University’s Muslim Students’ Association and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, calling them arms of jihadist movements that have fueled militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
“The Muslim Students’ Association is not an ethnic group,” he said. “It is not a religious group. It is not a cultural group. It is a political organization created by the Muslim brotherhood.”
LSA sophomore Salimah Mohamed, outreach chair of the Muslim Students’ Association, said in an interview that she disagreed strongly with Horowitz’s characterization fo the group, saying it’s wrong to group all Muslims into one category.
“MSA is not representative of one single ideal,” she said.
Mohamed said the group was aware of Horowitz’s lecture because of advertising on campus but chose to ignore his appearance because it did not want to give Horowitz any additional publicity.
Horowitz devoted about half his lecture to discussing what he called heavy liberal leanings on college campuses.
Horowitz, the author of a book called “Indoctrination U: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom,” also argued that liberal professors are forcing their views on their students.
“The left is rapidly converting the University to the University of Havana and Tehran,” he said.
Horowitz said professors should work harder to present alternative points of view on political issues.
“In a democracy, the purpose of education is to teach students how to think – not to tell them what to think,” he said.
Horowitz argued that the political left has been largely responsible for providing students with a one-sided education lacking critical perspectives on controversial issues like climate change.
He said the left’s willingness to “tar and feather” all opposition has been unchallenged.
“Administrators are cowards,” he said. “They do not want to take on the left because it is protected by the faculty.”
In his book “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America,” Horowitz listed two University professors – History Prof. Juan Cole and Anthropology Prof. Gayle Rubin – as promoters of radical agendas in the classroom.
In responding to allegations of McCarthyism from his critics, Horowitz said he never called for the firing of faculty for their beliefs.
Horowitz said he believes that a true democracy necessarily gives individuals the freedom of expression.
“You can’t fire people for their views,” he said.
Horowitz has drafted a document called the “Academic Bill of Right,” which lists eight principles for limiting political bias in the classroom.
The Georgia General Assembly adopted the document in 2004, but it was rejected by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 2006. The proposition lost steam there after a Pennsylvania legislative committee concluded that students’ right to an unbiased education were not being violated.