GW’s Young America’s Foundation handed out about 300 pamphlets, with titles including “The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam,” outside the women’s studies townhouse Wednesday.
Daniel Moshenberg, director of the women’s studies department, said he would not comment on the protest because YAF had not contacted him and he did not know what they were trying to accomplish. Representatives of YAF said they have approached the department.
“We tried several times to contact the department for co-sponsorship for this and our other events,” said Sergio Gor, the president of YAF.
The group also asked people to sign a petition that among other things, states that “The Islamo-Fascist Jihad is a war against Women.”
Gor said, “It’s never too late for the women’s studies Department to sign our petition.”
This women-centered protest was one of four events YAF organized as part of the nationwide Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week being hosted at nearly 100 universities.
“Ultimately our goal is to get GW’s women’s studies department to denounce what radical Islam did and continues to do to women around the world,” said Jordan Neidig, spokesperson for YAF.
But professors in the women’s studies department said the politicized nature of this controversy has stifled communication and understanding of the situation in countries where many Muslims live.
“It’s very hard to get meaningful dialogue started in such a charged atmosphere,” said Kelly Pemberton, professor of a class called “Women in Islam.” “The best place to start is to provide a forum for students to dialogue not only with each other but with people actually living in the Muslim world.”
Eight YAF members handed out three different pamphlets produced by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. One pamphlet called on feminists and pro-woman progressives to “embrace a single standard of human rights for all people — not one for the West and another, more barbaric standard for the Islamic world.”
“I think it’s sad that people say ‘No, thank you’ when I hand it to them,” said sophomore Javinia Swiatek. “One girl took a look at it and said ‘Absolutely not.'”
Some students took the flier and started reading it, while others threw theirs in the nearest trash can. Others stopped to hear a member of YAF speak.
Tim Miller, director of the Student Activities Center, stood outside with the YAF members.
Miller said, “We are here to support the Young America’s Foundation and to make sure the students have the event they wanted.”
This post was updated June 2, 2014 to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Javinia Swiatek was a member of YAF. She was not a member. We regret this error.