Ad uses politics to target religion
Letter to the Editor
The Daily Targum published an ad titled “Faces of Islamic Apartheid,” paid for by David Horowitz, is not only racist propaganda but also the epitome of demagogy and Islamophobia. To add insult to injury, it also makes a mockery out the true horror that is apartheid. In the ad, the term is thrown around does not make any sense in context, as cherry-picked photos of victims of violence and abuse from all nations, backgrounds and genders are used to decorate a page of hate. Had the people who placed this ad read the first thing about Islam, they would know that it condemns such acts of violence and that these instances stem from cultural, not religious, beliefs. Furthermore, it truly upsets me that the Targum would publish such an ad without realizing the hate speech it promotes. It essentially generalizes an entire group of nearly 2 billion — and counting — people, as being participants in apartheid.
Let’s first look at apartheid and what it means. Apartheid, as defined by Merriam Webster, is segregation — cultural apartheid, gender apartheid. While these photos do depict disgusting practices that result from cultural backwardness in different societies, they do not depict apartheid. This ad could be paralleled to picking the victims in random high-profile cases in America in the last few decades, such as OJ Simpson, Scott Peterson, Drew Peterson, Andrea Yates or Casey Anthony, slapping them on an ad and titling it “Faces of American Apartheid.” Would that make any sense? Evidently someone thought it would.
What makes this all the more grotesque is the fact that all of this was done under the banner of Islam. It is famously known that the last words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) before he died were: “… an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor does a non-Arab have superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have superiority over a white …” As Muslims, our civil rights movement took place more than 1,400 years ago, and it is something we hold sacred. To suggest otherwise is a travesty to everything we stand for.
As a student in a university where I once thought academic standards were held to the highest degree, I am horrified. Never would have expected the Targum to allow such racist nonsense to be published. As a Muslim, it hurts to see my religion being trampled on in the name of demagoguery. Finally, as a human being, I am utterly disgusted at the portrayal of victims of abuse and violence that were used to incite Islamophobic sentiments, make a mockery out of apartheid and spread further hate on campus, making these innocent lives victims once more.
Souad Haddara is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science and Middle Eastern studies and is the secretary of Muslims Without Borders