Posters appeared all over the George Washington University campus yesterday morning blaring the message: "HATE MUSLIMS? SO DO WE!!!"
Campus police moved quickly to remove the fliers, university leaders began investigating how they got there and student groups met last night to deplore the posters, which had a photo of an Arab and description of "typical Muslim" features such as "suicide vest," "hidden AK-47" and "peg-leg for smuggling children and heroin."
The posters managed to upset just about everyone on campus: Muslim students, other religious groups and conservatives who are hosting "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" later this month. Some questioned whether they were mocking the conservatives, pointing to fine print at the bottom -- "Brought to you by Students for Conservativo-Fascism Awareness" -- and a postscript recommending a BBC video on the politics of fear.
Any subtleties were lost under the gigantic headline, though.
"I was just really shocked that this sort of hatred exists on our campus," said Najah El Bash, a sophomore from New York who is one of the leaders of the GWU Muslim Students Association. "You never think this would come so close to home, from people you're in classes with. . . . It's scary." It had to be well-planned, she said, for so many posters to go up so quickly.
GWU President Steven Knapp said in a statement last night, "There is no place for expressions of hatred on our campus." He called the fliers reprehensible and said students of different faiths will be gathering this week for a community meal with Muslims during Ramadan. "This event speaks to our university's commitment to global cultural understanding and respect." (MORE)