Friday, October 26, 3:45 a.m.
Conservative author David Horowitz defended his conservative views and lashed out against GW’s administration at a speech on campus Thursday night, one day after he was booed off stage at Emory University.
Horowitz is the organizer of a nationwide event to raise awareness about radical Islamic states – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. The event garnered national attention two weeks ago when several GW students hung posters alleging the week encourages the hatred of Muslims.
In the Jack Morton Auditorium Thursday, he told a group of about 200 that he was tired of being unfairly attacked. He also criticized University President Steven Knapp for not personally punishing the students who hung the posters.
“There is a lynch mob on this campus, and it’s led by Peter Knapp,” he said, referring to Steven Knapp.
Horowitz spoke at length about dangerous radical Muslim ideologies and the risks posed to America. He emphasized several times that he does not oppose the Muslim religion, but merely radical violent sects.
During the question and answer portion, two protesters unveiled a large fabric sign condemning Horowitz’s views. They were escorted out of the auditorium by the University Police Department, amid criticism from the audience.
“It’s very difficult to get your message out once you’ve been branded a racist,” Horowitz said after the speech. “I didn’t say anything condemning all Muslims tonight and I hope people saw that.”
One of the young men forced to leave, Catholic University sophomore Robert Diesu, said he was surprised no one from GW protested.
“I sent emails to the Muslim Student Association, Allied in Pride, the Black Student Union and a bunch of other organizations and not one responded,” said Diesu, who was there with an activist group called “The World Can’t Wait.”
More than 30 members of the MSA attended the event but many said they respected the right to free speech on campus and had not planned to protest the event.
“I respect that he has his own views. It’s important to always be respectful of others free speech,” said junior Sana Ahmed, an MSA member.
Ron Kirby, an Alexandria, Va., resident, said he came to support Horowitz and the week.
“The speech was pretty much a history lesson,” said Kirby, alluding to Horowitz’s references to the Ottoman Empire. “But we need it if we want to know our enemy.”
Sophomore Harry Baumgarten, who asked Horowitz a question about Palestinians during the question and answer session, said he tried to come with an open mind, despite reading about Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week in the media.
“I’m proud that GW was able to do this event,” Baumgarten said, “It shows that we are truly committed to open dialogue.”
After the speech, Horowitz said, “Tonight was easily the best audience I’ve had on tour.”