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Archive for the ‘Wafa Sultan’ Category

UPDATE: PART 2 is now up. 

Last night I attended the panel discussion, Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West, that took place on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles. The panel consisted of notable Middle Eastern and Islamic experts, Dr. Yaron Brook, executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute (the organization that hosted the event actually, L.O.G.I.C. hosted the event), Dr. Wafa Sultan, and Dr. Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum and current instructor at Pepperdine University. They were quite a distinguished trio, encompassing vast expertise on the discussed subject from knowledge and experience–sometimes very direct personal experience as seen from their biographies in this post yesterday.

I thought it would be beneficial to post pictures I took at the event so that those who are interested might garner a decent understanding of what one might expect if one were to attend such a gathering in support of individuals, like the panelists, who not only wish to express their viewpoint, but who also wish to practice their freedom to express that view, no matter how controversial it may be.

So, without any further introductory and unnecessary exposition, enjoy the pictures (with some added annoying exposition.)

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A few UCLA police officers enjoy some dinner before the event. The police presence was unsurprisingly fairly large. It appeared there were probably around 20 to 30 officers covering all entrances and exits at the building where the panel discussion was to take place.

Standing in Line

The line to get into the auditorium was long, and it extended quite a ways down the street behind me….

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…as you can see.

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As the line started moving to allow entry, some young Muslims began handing out literature.

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The literature consisted of pamphlets entitled “Exposing Daniel Pipes.” But it did not consist of naked photos. Instead the pamphlet included information about the evil of Dr. Pipes, denouncing his expertise, deeming him a bigot and anti-Muslim propagandist. It goes on to read how his website, Campus Watch was created to restrict free speech by “stifling any criticism of Israel or its policies and by blacklisting any professors who dare not comply. Pipes labeled these academics as ‘advocates of suicide attacks and militant Islam,’ ‘self-hating,’ or ‘anti-American.'”

Of course, anyone who has actually visited Campus Watch knows that claim is absolutely preposterous. From the website…

CAMPUS WATCH, a project of the Middle East Forum, reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them. The project mainly addresses five problems: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students. Campus Watch fully respects the freedom of speech of those it debates while insisting on its own freedom to comment on their words and deeds.”

Campus Watch is designed to ensure what the Muslim pamphlet is accusing Dr. Pipes of doing, doesn’t happen–namely biased academia favoring the Arab or Palestinian position over the Israeli one. Having an opinion is fine. Forcing that opinion on impressionable college students without at least offering an opposing rebuttal is disingenuous and unethical. In all actuality, Campus Watch and the Muslim students pushing the “Exposing Daniel Pipes” disinformation leaflet are in general agreement–desiring a need to reduce bias.

Of course, when you have quotes denouncing Pipes from people such as Hamid Dabashi, Josehp Massad, and Rashid Khalidi, it’s apparent how biased those who were handing out the pamphlets really were.

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Before we entered, everyone was subjected to the metal detectors. Security was understandably tight for this event. Such procedures only seemed to increase the tension that was floating through the air.

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More metal detecting.

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Inside the building, but just outside the auditorium, more propaganda, but this time it’s from the event organizers–Ayn Rand literature including free copies of her seminal work, Atlas Shrugged. Personally, I can’t stand Ayn Rand, and I think Objectivism is contradictory and essentially ridiculous.

Anyway, from this point, I found my way to a seat where I settled in until the panelists arrived on stage.

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And here they are! From the left, introducing Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. Wafa Sultan, Dr. Daniel Pipes, and on the far right, the mediator for the panel.

(From this point forward, the quality of the pictures degrades considerably. The lighting in the auditorium was poor, and when I end up heading back outside, it’s after sundown which makes taking decent images even more difficult. I apologize for the quality or lack-there-of.)

At the beginning of the discussion, each panelist, beginning with Dr. Brook, offered a four minute opening declaration concerning the danger of radical Islam and the threat it presents against the west. For those who have little knowledge of militant Islam, the majority of the nights discussion would likely have been eye opening to say the least.

Those in the audience who were there in dissent were probably steaming after Dr. Brooks comments, and again I could sense the tension, rising even further. It was obvious to me some members of the audience were there merely to disrupt the proceedings, and while I didn’t wish to profile too much (that annoying politically correct side that’s been indoctrinated into my very soul for over three decades), I found myself picking out several individuals who I suspected might be party to a protest were one to ignite–notably several early 20’s hijab-wearing women a few rows behind me who appeared to be of Middle-Eastern descent.

Finally, Dr. Pipes began to speak, touching upon the concept of capitulation through political correctness to Islam (militant or otherwise), particularly on the American university campus and specifically UCLA. It was a powerful beginning, but short-lived. At that point, the protestors began running interference.

UPDATE: PART 2 is now up.

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I will be attending a panel discussion tonight, at UCLA here in Los Angeles, headed by such notable luminaries as Dr. Yaron Brook, Dr. Wafa Sultan, and of most interest to me, Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum.  I’ve read a bit from Dr. Pipes here and there, and his views on militant Islam and multiculturalism are unequivocal and, in this time in which we now exist, gravely important in order to better understand the threat Islamic radicalism plays throughout the world, far and near.  It’s an issue that has, for me at least, quickly turned from the it’s-about-them mindset to the it’s-about-me-too reality, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hear Dr. Pipes speak.

Of course, as Daniel Pipes is a fairly controversial individual who will be discussing a fairly controversial subject matter, some accompanying protestors are likely attending as well (organized by the UCLA Civil Dissent Network *snicker* tolstoy.la@gmail.com.)  I have no idea how many to expect; it could be five or 500 for all I know.  Yet I will wager the majority of those anticipated to manifest some sort of scripted brouhaha have  doubtless never cracked open a Qur’an or initiated any self-motivated investigation into militant Islam or radicalized Muslims beyond what they glean secondhand via left-leaning news outlets based on talking points from the previous nights’ Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck shows.  Why think for yourself when you can simply get the biased bullet points from someone else?

Instead of mindlessly picketing a panel of experts who harbor no devious agenda–who only wish to open intelligent and consequence free discussion on this contentious issue–protestors and activists who do manage to show, might want to consider simply attending the panel and civilly participating in the discussion.

But of course, I would never presume to tell them that they should do such a thing, and they would likely scoff at my presumption in the matter if they were by chance to read this.  Thankfully this is a country that allows reasonable public protests and demonstrations–a freedom we all appreciate.  Unfortunately, if CAIR and other radical Islamic organizations have their way, those freedoms will be lost under the oppressive umbrella of sharia law.  That is why I am attending the panel tonight to hear Daniel Pipes and others speak–to counter open dissent with open support.

Here is more information on the discussion this evening (further below is information on the probable protest–I’ll be bringing my camera.)

Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West

Who:      Dr. Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum
             Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute         
             Dr. Wafa Sultan, outspoken critic of Islam and author of the forthcoming
                                    book “The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster”What:     A panel discussion on the threat of Islamic totalitarianism and how to deal with it

Where:    UCLA Campus: Moore 100, Los Angeles, CA

When:     Thursday, April 12, 2007, at 7:00 PM

Admission is FREE.

Description: From the Iranian hostage crisis to September 11 to the London subway attacks to the Iraqi insurgency–it is clear the West faces a grave threat from a committed enemy. Conventional wisdom holds that the enemy is a rogue group of fanatics, who have hijacked a great religion in order to justify their crimes. It tells us there is no way to permanently eliminate these violent groups, that we have entered an “age of terror” and that we must give up the desire for a decisive victory.

But is the conventional wisdom right?
 
A distinguished panel of Middle East experts will provide new and illuminating answers to the most important questions of our time: Is the West ready to concede victory so easily? Are the terrorists a fringe group of fanatics, or are they part of a much wider ideological movement? What threat do they pose to the West? What can the West do to ensure victory? Is peace possible?

While the experts will answer these complex questions from diverse points of view, they all agree on one thing: Islamic totalitarianism is a real threat, and the right response necessitates engaging in a principled, ideological battle to defend the West from the jihad declared against it.
 
Speakers’ Biographies: 

Dr. Yaron Brook is executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute and a recognized Middle-East expert who has written and lectured on a variety of Middle-East issues. Dr. Brook has served in the Israeli Army and has discussed the Israeli-Arab conflict and the war on Islamic totalitarianism on hundreds of radio and TV programs, including FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, At Large with Geraldo Rivera), CNN’s Talkback Live, CNBC’s Closing Bell and On the Money, and a C-SPAN panel of experts on terrorism.

Dr. Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum. He taught history at the University of Chicago and at Harvard University, and lectured on policy and strategy at the Naval War College. He currently teaches at Pepperdine University. Dr. Pipes is the author of twelve books and numerous articles. He is a columnist for the New York Sun and he appears weekly in Israel’s Jerusalem Post, Italy’s L’Opinione, Spain’s La Razón, and monthly in the Australian and Canada’s Globe and Mail. His Web site, DanielPipes.org, is among the most accessed Internet sources of specialized information on the Middle East and Islam. Mr. Pipes has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Reports, Crossfire, Good Morning America, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, O’Reilly Factor, The Today Show, the BBC and Al Jazeera.
 
Dr. Wafa Sultan is a secular Syrian-American writer and thinker, Dr. Sultan is known for her participation in Middle East political debates, widely circulated Arabic essays and television appearances on Al Jazeera, CNN and Fox News. Dr. Sultan was shocked into secularism by the atrocities committed against innocent Syrian people by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1979, including the machine-gun assassination of her professor in front of her eyes at the University of Aleppo, where she was a medical student. On February 21, 2006, she appeared on Al Jazeera, where she scolded Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently and for not acknowledging the accomplishments of non-Muslim societies, including their greater freedom and capacity for producing wealth and technology. She named the Islamic threat to the West as “a battle between modernity and barbarism which Islam will lose.” A video of her appearance, widely circulated on Web logs and through e-mail, has been viewed an estimated 12 million times. Her outspokenness has brought her both threats and praise. Dr. Sultan is currently working on a book to be called “The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster.”

On the portest…

Leftists/Islamists Preparing to Disrupt Daniel Pipes at UCLA

As we noted yesterday, there’s a panel discussion at UCLA tomorrow night featuring Daniel Pipes, Wafa Sultan, and Yaron Brook, on the subject: “Totalitarian Islam’s Threat to the West.”

Today the moonbats and Islamic student groups are mobilizing, with a special hatred for Daniel Pipes. Here’s the flyer being circulated via Los Angeles Nazimedia:

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