The David Horowitz Freedom Center has placed another ad linking the Muslim Student Association to terrorist networks in today’s issue of the Daily Nexus.
Appearing on page three, the advertisement – “Stop the Jihad On College Campuses” – claims the Muslim Student Association recruits and supports speakers who “are calling for the execution of gays, the killing of Jews and support the terrorist jihad against America.” The ad appears as part of an effort to publicize the third “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” sponsored by the Freedom Center.
In a special meeting called to preempt the advertisement, the MSA executive board collectively agreed the ad’s contents were unfounded and not representative of the MSA at UCSB.
MSA Graduate Student Representative Elliott Bazzano called the advertisement an example of inflammatory speech that unfairly attacks UCSB’s Muslim student population.
“I think it’s sad this ad [is] in the newspaper,” Bazzano, a graduate student in the Religious Studies Dept. said. “I think that ignorance isn’t always a choice, but in this instance, ignorance was a choice. The way that this ad is worded… It’s completely out of context. These people are conniving and clever.”
David Horowitz – an occasional Fox News analyst and founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center – has placed numerous ads in university newspapers across the nation condemning the MSA as an “arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
According to Horowitz, angry responses and allegations targeting his organization’s advertisements are a regular occurrence. He alleged that editors at other college papers were intimidated by their surrounding communities and local MSA chapters, and refused the ads, which Horowitz called a violation of the first amendment.
“I am glad the Daily Nexus has chosen to run this ad because we really don’t have a free press in this country anymore,” Horowitz said. “Several college papers have chosen not to run it, including the Daily Collegian at Penn State and many others. The censorship of America’s college newspapers is a major issue of our time.”
The Daily Nexus abides by a strict separation between its editorial and advertising departments in order to maintain objective reporting. Opinions expressed in ads do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Nexus staff.
Horowitz said the information included in his advertisement is backed by concrete research, including video documentation, recorded statements and investigative projects headed by himself and his colleagues.
Following a series of ads placed last April, the Daily Nexus received a stream of letters both defending and condemning the MSA and Horowitz. Additionally, over 80 UCSB faculty and staff members signed a petition, which appeared in the paper, urging the Daily Nexus to refrain from publishing “inflammatory” ads.
Horowitz cited his confrontation with MSA members at an on-campus lecture last year as the motive behind today’s advertisement.
“When I came to UCSB, 50 members of MSA and their president confronted me. I could not get them to condemn the genocidal agendas of Hamas and Hezbollah,” Horowitz said. “I consider that a serious issue. There are 100 MSAs that claim to be religious but are in fact political. This is an education campaign. It’s just trying to make people aware that there is a battle going around our nation.”
The MSA executive board also noted the negative impact of last year’s advertisements, particularly racist sentiment directed toward Muslims on campus. Husayn Hasan, MSA treasurer and a third-year political science and business economics major, said he was disappointed by the Daily Nexus’ decision to place the advertisement.
“I feel a little upset that the Nexus is printing this ad,” Hasan said. “At the same time, I recognize the power of free speech in this country and it is up to us to educate people in our country about these very issues.”
In a collective effort to counteract potential backlash, the MSA will hold a panel series addressing the issues of racism and the Horowitz advertisement. Hasan said students who wish to talk about the advertisement are invited to attend the MSA’s weekly meetings, Mondays at 6 p.m. at the Middle Eastern Student Resource Center in the Student Resource Building.