The seven students responsible for hanging controversial posters around campus Monday morning told members of the media Wednesday afternoon that they are anti-war and therefore anti-racism.
When the students received an e-mail advertising Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week – a series of events that aim to address radical Islam – the Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness took action against an event they consider an attack on all Muslims.
“How do you counter such an outrageous, ludicrous event” asked Lara Masri, a graduate student and a member of the Students for Conservativo-Facism Awareness. “Satire is a proven vehicle for that and it’s been used throughout the ages.”
The seven students who admitted to hanging the posters Monday morning – Adam Kokesh, Yong Kwon, Brian Tierney, Ned Goodwin, Maxine Nwigwe, Masri and Amal Rammah – insist they were meant to convey a satirical message, even if the message at face value seems anti-Muslim. The headline of the poster read, “Hate Muslims? So do we!!!”
Freshmen Yong Kwon and Ned Goodwin and graduate student Amal Rammah were not available for comment Wednesday. Group members would not comment on when the group was founded, or why it was founded. It is not registered with the University.
Though many students said they missed the satirical message, the group said the responses their fliers received are what they had hoped for.
“I think we are pleased by how the students reacted to it,” Masri said. “The main point was to raise awareness and that is exactly what we’ve done,”
Graduate student Adam Kokesh is the de-facto leader of the group. A veteran of the Iraq War and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Kokesh was arrested by U.S. Park Police in September for hanging fliers advertising an anti-war protest.
Kokesh said he and other members of Students for Conservativo-Facism Awareness said the misunderstanding about the intent of their fliers arose because many people heard rumors of the flyers but did not read them.
“The intent was to raise awareness of (Isamo-Facism Awareness) Week,” Kokesh said. “We understood that at first glance, the flier would be offensive.”
The seven members of Students for Conservativo-Facism Awareness sent an e-mail to The Hatchet Tuesday night identifying themselves as the individuals responsible for creating and hanging the controversial posters. Kokesh said the group members identified themselves because of the confusion surrounding the posters’ intent.
He said, “The main reason (for identifying ourselves) was to get the story straight.”
The group is organizing a “week of action,” Kokesh said, that will coincide with Islamo-Fascism week, which will run from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26. Kokesh said Students for Conservativo-Facism Awareness plan to hold a candlelight vigil, screen films and host panel discussions.
The group has invited David Horowitz, a conservative author who will be speaking about radical Islam as part of Islamo-Fascism week at GW, to participate in a forum and field questions from the forum’s audience. Horowitz said he would be willing to speak to the group but not during that week.
“We’re only asking for dialogue and awareness,” Kokesh said.
“I feel like it is plain human decency to be anti-racist, anti-bigotry,” said Maxine Nwigwe, a graduate student. “As soon as I heard about this week, I was outraged.”
Senior Brian Tierney said, “We don’t believe that this kind of racist hate speech should come to campus unopposed.”