What is the difference between the Internet hate site and the Wheel? Not much, if you read Robert Spencer’s commentary on the Wheel’s decision to run an advertisement equating jihad with bigotry against non-Muslims, women and homosexuals (“A Bestselling Author Offers a Different Definition of Jihad,” Feb. 20).

It is apparent that Muslims, including Emory’s sizable Muslim community, have become the new “other” – a scapegoat for terrorism, war, cavities and whatever other ills currently plague society.

What other community could be compared to Mussolini’s black shirts or the Nazis with impunity on the pages of a major university newspaper? Were the same things said about Zionists, the paper would understandably baulk about running such material. Evidently it is acceptable, however, to print such work attacking Muslims.

When talking about Spencer, for example, the Wheel demurred from printing the entire title of his book, The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion. As is evident from that title, Spencer has no academic background in Islam, but is rather a polemicist whose expertise is in Islamophobia. Spencer’s specious arguments and David Horowitz’s original ad use cherry-picked quotes without any context to stigmatize a community, which comprises nearly one-fifth of our world population.

When the Wheel first ran Horowitz’s ad, we believed that the paper’s staff simply prioritized revenue before civic duty. However, running Spencer’s editorial suggests a more active agenda to malign Islam and hurt the Emory Muslim community. To see the kind of hate Spencer spawns and which the Wheel facilitates, one need not go further than the comments section of the newspaper’s website. Like-minded bigots across the country congratulate Spencer for exposing “barbaric” Islam, while another claims Islam is not “religion, but a mental illness.” Is this the kind of discourse with which we wish to define Emory?


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