Letter: ​Speech was harmful in wake of murders

TO THE EDITOR:

It was distressing to learn that David Horowitz, a prominent member of the Islamophobia network as documented by the Center for American Progress, was invited to speak at UNC-Chapel Hill on April 13. This event was especially distressing in the wake of Chapel Hill tragedy where three Muslim youth were murdered. 

During his speech, Horotwitz characterized Arabs as racists, linked Muslim Students’ Association and Students for Justice in Palestine to terrorism and implied Palestinians should be punished by a nuclear attack. In the past, Horowitz has attacked progressive movements and conducted witch hunt against liberal faculty members. Commenting on events in Ferguson, he labeled African-Americans as racist.

Islamophobia, like any other form of hatred, has serious consequences. Horowitz has supported work of such virulent Islamophobes as Robert Spencer, who was cited 162 times by the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Breivik. Since 9/11, countless Muslims and people who resemble Muslims have been murdered in the USA allegedly as revenge against “Muslim extremists.”

The best response to hate speech is: becoming part of a movement against all forms of hatred — either based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. North Carolina-based organizations like Muslims for Social Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, the N.C. Justice Center, the Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East, Black Workers for Justice and Methodist Federation for Social Action have launched a network to challenge racism and Islamophobia. We look forward to working with the UNC community on this mission.

Manzoor Cheema

Co-founder of Muslims for Social Justice

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