Written by Kathy Shaidle
In our last installment, we looked at the spreading influence of Saudi money and ideas throughout the American K-12 educational system.
However, the growing power of radical Muslims in the nation's colleges is more troubling, since university students possess more autonomy than elementary school children, and are much closer to going out into the "real" world and spreading their ideas in the workplace.
(read the previous issues here)
The Muslim Students Association (MSA) offers would-be activists free guides on "How to Achieve Muslim Holidays," "Set up Prayer Rooms" and "Achieve Halal Food" on campus. American college professors and administrators, who typically chant "separation of church and state" at every opportunity, find themselves speechless when the petitioning believers are Muslims rather than Christians.
Among the MSA's many victories was the construction of two $25,000 footbaths at the University of Michigan at Dearborn (devout Muslims are required to wash their feet before praying).
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told reporters that the footbaths mark the start down "a slippery slope of preferential treatment of one religion over another," which the First Amendment was established to prevent.
"These baths exert a monetary cost upon publicly funded institutions which by our Constitution should not appease the financial demands of one faith group over another," he said. "Every other faith group on campus should be demanding that they be provided equal funding and space - which basically demonstrates how outrageous these accommodations are."
Besides undermining the Establishment Clause, radical Muslim students also pose an uncomfortable challenge to the average liberal university's championship of feminism and racial integration. One area in which Muslim students have made significant inroads is the seemingly trivial yet highly significant area of "women's only gym times" - which should more accurately described as "Muslim women-only."
Last year, Harvard announced new women-only access times at the student gym, to "accommodate religious customs that make it difficult for some students to work out in the presence of men."
This decision came one month after men were banned from the athletic center during certain times, following successful petitions from the Harvard Islamic Society as well as the Women's Center.
Needless to say, politicized Muslim students play a major role in annual "Israeli Apartheid Week" events on college campuses across the country. Last year, UC Irvine hosted a series of events provocatively titled "Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust." While videotaping one of the keynote speeches, two students were approached by the Dean of Student Services, who told them that, "on behalf of the male students, we would have to stop filming the female [Muslim] activists, or as she called them ‘the sisters.' Aware of our rights, we refused her orders and continued covering the event."
Last month, journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that:
"During a recent visit to several university campuses in the U.S., I discovered that there is more sympathy for Hamas there than there is in Ramallah.
"Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber. (...) These groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don't like to hear."
Dirty tricks combine with ignorance to create an atmosphere of intimidation at campuses across the nation. One depressing example comes from Brett Cohen, a campus coordinator with the pro-Israel organization StandWithUs. When his group organized an event last March to publicize Israeli casualties in Sderot during the recent war in Gaza, a rival group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) "circulated a letter condemning the event. It was signed by several campus organizations, including the College Democrats and Amnesty International. Shamefully, several of the signers have admitted that they never read the letter, and had no idea where Sderot was."
Author and expert on radical Islam Robert Spencer has been sounding the alarm about this sort of "sharia creep" for years at his website JihadWatch.com. In an exclusive interview, Spencer reflected on whether or not his efforts to warn the public were paying off:
"I think we may be getting through to a very small number of people, but Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the U.S. are still making tremendous headway by portraying these Sharia-creep initiatives as simple matters of civil rights, and playing on fears among public officials, and the public at large, of being seen as racist and bigoted.
"It is getting worse, because there is a concerted effort by the MSAs on various campuses and other groups to push Muslim accommodation issues aggressively, but this effort is relatively new. We didn't see it on this scale ten or even five years ago. I think it is a natural outgrowth of the post-9/11 anxiety on the part of government and media not to appear ‘Islamophobic.' As long as that continues to be a matter for concern, there will be continued accommodation of Muslim practices and Islamic distinctiveness, which only aids and abets the Islamic supremacist agenda.
But the "level of awareness right now is so abysmal," continued Robert Spencer, "that I think the main thing people can do is try to call attention, via letters to the editor, contacts to their elected officials, the blogsophere, etc., to the explicit campaign being undertaken here. The idea would be to awaken as many people as possible to what is going on here -- who the groups are that are pursuing this agenda, and what the agenda really is, behind all the talk of ‘hate speech' and accommodation of cultural practices in the name of multiculturalism and diversity."
(read the previous issues here)
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new book, The Tyranny of Nice: How Canada crushes freedom in the name of human rights - and why it matters to Americans, features an introduction by Mark Steyn. Shaidle is also an advisor for the International Free Press Society