On Monday morning, the George Washington University community awoke to a campus plastered with fliers that appeared to espouse vitriolic anti-Muslim sentiment. G.W.’s student newspaper, The Hatchet, describes the fliers:
The posters, on standard letter-sized paper, read, “Hate Muslims? So do we!!!” Below the statement is a picture of a Muslim man next to a diagram describing a “typical Muslim.” Some features mentioned include “venom from mouth,” “suicide vest,” and “peg-leg for smuggling children and heroin.”
The GW Young America’s Foundation is named as a contact on the poster, but leaders of the conservative organization said they had no involvement.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that the posters were a stunt: An outsider’s satirical response to the YAF’s upcoming “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week,” set to begin October 19. The YAF staged a controversial event; someone who objected to it responded by falsely publicizing ridiculous anti-Muslim sentiments and attributing them to the YAF. That’s satire—-albeit cheap, low-rate satire.
But the subsequent GW community meeting—-and the Hatchet’s follow-up story—-made it clear that (uh, sorry guys) nobody really gets it.
The GW Peace Forum, which organized the event, had this to say:
“We’re all here, we’re not all the same and we need to understand,” said sophomore Tarek Al-Hariri, president of GW Peace Forum, during the discussion. “I think something this morning happened. It may or may not have been taken the way it was supposed to be (and) may not have been a mistake. Nevertheless, people were affected, and people took offense.”
The quote is pretty representative of GW’s general confusion over what the discussion was, in fact, discussing. (Something happened, but it may or may not have been—-what now?)
The remainder of the meeting was similarly stalled by a lack of understanding of the situation at hand. Reports The Hatchet:
“It was completely satirical and overblown,” [graduate student Lara] Nasri said. “It was the antithesis of racism.”
[YAF President Sergio] Gor disagreed with Nasri.
“This is not satirical,” said Sergio Gor. “It is hatred.”
Kareem Shibib, a senior from Cornell University who came to gathering after hearing about the poster, said that the flyer is racist.
“I think this is a rather overt form of racism,” Shibib said. “What is important (is) to look further into this.”
So, GW graduate student Nasri, for one, thinks it’s satire. But strangely, YAF president Gor—-who has come under fire from students who think that he’s responsible for the flier—-insists that it’s not. Cornell’s Shibib says we better look into it.
As for the unknown poster (or posters) of the fliers, just about everybody is pissed at them; some have suggested their expulsion if they’re ever found out. At least then they’d get a chance to explain to everybody what the heck they were talking about.