“There are two distinct forms of jihad,” Daniel Pipes said. “The jihad of violence as with al-Qaeda, and the jihad that can be non-violent.”
Pipes, a New York Times News Service/Syndicate columnist and a former advisor to the Rudolph Giuliani presidential campaign, addressed a crowd of over 70 students last night in Embarcadero Hall. The controversial speaker and founder of Campus Watch – an organization that reviews Middle East studies in North America – was invited to speak by the UCSB College Republicans. During his speech, Pipes spoke about Islamic fundamentalism and the role of the United States in the Middle East.
The hour-long event required heightened security and employed six University of California Police Dept. officers and four Community Service Officers to patrol the lecture hall and check baggage. Throughout his presentation, Pipes continually drew on what he identified as the Five I’s: “Israel, Islamism, Islam in Europe, Iraq and Iran.”
“My position is that we stay the course, but change the course,” Pipes said. “We should no longer be concerned with securing the Iraq streets, fixing their infrastructure, their water and food systems and their constitution … Rather, we should hand over control of everyday life back to the Iraqi people.”
However, Pipes also said that maintaining military bases in Iraq is in the strategic interest of the U.S. and immediate withdrawal of a military presence would prove disastrous.
The columnist’s appearance follows a controversial ad that was purchased by the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Terrorism Awareness Project last week and published in the Daily Nexus. The ad charged that many chapters of the Muslim Student Association across the country were “founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the godfather of Al Qaeda and Hamas, to bring the jihad into the heart of American higher education.”
With regards to the advertisement, Pipes said that despite its ambiguity, he supported its general message.
“What the ad doesn’t make clear is that the MSA brings a lawful form of radical Islam to the United States’ higher education institutions and not terrorism.” Pipes said.
MSA Vice President Hadi Noori said although he does not blame the editorial staff of the Daily Nexus for the advertisement published last Monday, he said his organization feels it deserves an apology.
“Since the ad, my whole life has been engulfed by trying to clear MSA’s name and reassure everyone that we are a peaceful organization and not a political group,” Noori said. “We do want a formal apology from the Nexus or whoever oversees the advertisement department.”
Noori said although the MSA endorses freedom of speech and respects First Amendment rights, it disapproves of the accusations lobbied against it.
“This is not the first time this has happened and it’s sad, but we are used to this,” Noori said. “We’re not going to stoop to their level and fling mud back at them.”
Event organizer Adam Rapaport, a fourth-year business economics major, said the timeliness of Pipes’ lecture at UCSB will help bolster intellectual diversity about contemporary issues of Islamic Fundamentalism.
“I think [Pipes] is a great resource to espouse views that are not normally heard inside the classroom,” Rapaport said. “In recent light of the MSA advertisement, I think we are fortunate to have him to shed light on these issues.”
UCSB College Republican President Ross Nolan said Pipes’ lecture will serve as a launching point to combat the dominance of liberal ideas on college campuses.
“There is a monopoly of leftist ideas in our universities today,” Nolan said. “Other ideas will not be brought to us by our left-wing faculty in the classroom, and it is up to us to provide intellectual diversity.”
Nolan, a third-year political science and Slavic studies major, said the recent advertisement in the Daily Nexus was merely an example of freedom of speech and urged MSA to condemn terrorism.
“The MSA has still refused to denounce international Islamic terrorism,” Nolan said. “I denounce the IRA in Ireland, and I am an Irish Christian, so why can’t the MSA denounce terrorist organizations such as Hamas?”