Khan: Hacks at Best, Bigots at Worst
As winter term comes to an end, it’s as good a time as any to review the speakers the Dartmouth College Republicans have exposed our school to over the past two quarters: David Horowitz, Tawfik Hamid and Dinesh D’Souza ’83.| 2/26/19 2:00am
As winter term comes to an end, it’s as good a time as any to review the speakers the Dartmouth College Republicans have exposed our school to over the past two quarters: David Horowitz, Tawfik Hamid and Dinesh D’Souza ’83. The Dartmouth College Republicans speaker line-up responds to the age of post-truth unprincipled politics and amoral Republicanism with, “Yes, let’s do that.” Instead of inviting respected Republicans or policy analysts, the College Republicans have scraped the very bottom of the modern media landscape’s fringe punditry to produce a remarkable lineup of bigots and hacks. But let me back up my argument with facts — a novel idea to the men on the above list.
David Horowitz is a hard-right pundit with whom I disagree on a plethora of issues, including whether he should have hired famous Islamophobe Robert Spencer, who was banned from the United Kingdom for behaviors that may “foster hatred” and lead to “inter-community violence” in the country, as stated in letters from the Home Office. But that isn’t why I think Horowitz should have never come within a hundred miles of this campus. He shouldn’t be invited here because, a day after his speech, he tweeted out the email address of a professor who disagreed with the College Republicans’ decision to invite him to his less-than civil Twitter followers, a number of whom can be found making aggressive comments under any given tweet. Now, it’s not fair to blame David Horowitz for his followers’ toxicity, but tweeting out someone’s email address to Twitter trolls is morally repugnant. This isn’t out of character for Horowitz; he has been combative, controversial and uncommitted to civil discourse throughout his career. And yet he spoke at Dartmouth, and the College Republicans didn’t even hint at retroactively regretting inviting a man who called out a faculty member to his mob of followers.
Tawfik Hamid is, impressively, even more odious than Horowitz. His College Republicans-sponsored talk, ostensibly on preventing the spread of radical Islam, contained enlightening slides about how tolerance can be evil since tolerance of slavery in the 1800s was bad. Mr. Hamid also showcased the “ABC’s” of an interpretation of Sharia Law that he says all devout Muslims (according to “mainstream” Islamic theology’s standards) follow, which I have reprinted exactly from his slide below:
Are You With or Against Sharia Law?
A – Apostates killing
B – Beating women and stoning them to death for extramarital sexual relations
C – Calling Jews pigs and monkeys
D – Declaring wars on Non-Muslims to spread Islam
E – Enslavements and raping female war prisoners (Ma Malakat Aymnikum)
F – Fighting and killing Jews before the “End of Days”
G – Gay killing”
Hamid even emphatically stated that the only debate in Islamic theology about stoning women is “the type of the stones” used. In case it must be said, that’s not true. If you look up Dr. Ziauddin Sardar, the laws of several Islamic countries that follow their own interpretations of Sharia but somehow neglect to stone women, and the Prophet Muhammad, you will find them all excellent sources of ideas that conflict with Hamid’s arguments.
But Hamid proved he wasn’t just spreading bigoted nonsense; he was also spreading rubbish explanations to back his arguments up. He showed a graph of male testosterone levels to explain global terror outfits. He neglected to mention the Iraq War, the Kuwait War, colonialism or Wahhabism’s spread and dismissed the possibility of the Israel-Palestine conflict as an important source of terrorist motivation. He also all but explicitly said that any devout Muslim who pays close attention to the current scripture and “mainstream” Islamic theology is a bigot — and that the most devout ones are terrorists — and presented extremist interpretations of cherry-picked lines from the Qur’an as mainstream theological canon.
There are Muslims who believe in what Hamid presented. By his own admission, he himself was stupid enough to buy into it as a young man. But to present this as mainstream ideology is dangerous and deliberately misleading. Serious counter-terror analysts know that his explanations for global terror are harmful garbage. Dartmouth professors know that. My 12-year-old cousin knows that. But the College Republicans’ decision makers either believed what he said or just didn’t care enough to vet him. And make no mistake, these toxic ideas do cause real harm: Hamid has also spoken before ultra-hawkish, Islamophobic policy think-tanks and openly advocated for violent regime change in Iran. If these lectures influence actual policy-makers, then they certainly influence college students.
Finally, we come to the crown jewel of the College Republicans’ line-up: Dinesh D’Souza. In his illustrious career, he has committed a felony, mocked the classmates of Parkland school-shooting victims for losing a legislative battle, outed gay students at Dartmouth and produced critically panned, falsehood-spreading films that would have viewers believe Confederates and Clintons are two sides of the same coin. I’ll save some time and waste no more words on why a man who seriously compares Bernie Sanders’ ideology to Hitler’s shouldn’t be invited to campus.
These men are hacks. They are the naturally occurring cancerous growths on the underbelly of a divided country rife with inept gatekeepers who failed to keep garbage-hawkers out of the public eye. They have earned the audience of racists, misogynists and leftist-bashers they receive in the darker corners of the Internet, as well as a strain of conservative voters fearful enough of Mexicans, Muslims and leftists to ignore facts in favor of polemics and lies peddled by con men. They certainly have not earned the audience of intelligent, ambitious and soon-to-be-powerful young people the College Republicans have granted them.
I come from a conservative background. Unfortunately, like many conservatives at Dartmouth, I have the requisite shred of self-respect that prevents me from associating with a group that celebrates these bigots and hacks. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true: just as their guests have proven themselves time and time again to be deeply unworthy of this student body’s attention, the College Republicans have, in venerating them, lost their right to any politically-minded Dartmouth student’s respect or membership. It’s a dismal time for the school that produced Amos Tuck and Nelson Rockefeller. I can’t wait to see if the College Republicans bring back Milo Yiannopolous to speak in buildings named after them.
Khan is a member of the Class of 2021.