Protesting has long served as a rite of passage for idealistic undergrads, and likely always will. But as the icon of another protest era put it, “the times they are a-changin’.” Gone are the days when campus rallies were the exclusive domain of Chomsky acolytes in Che Guevara tee-shirts. Contemporary boat-rockers increasingly draw inspiration from Rush Limbaugh and National Review.
At first glance, “conservative activism” might appear to be an oxymoron. Conservatism’s raison d’√™tre is fundamentally defensive, aiming to uphold the institutions that form the basis of our culture. Moreover, its adherents are often content to do so by quietly propagating these values from one generation to the next. The in-your-face approach seems more attuned to leftwing causes and their professed goals of reshaping society.
However, as America grapples with the mounting threats of Islamic imperialism, open borders, and apathy toward the Western ethos, conservatives are recognizing the limits of passivity. It should come as no surprise that students have led the way. If questioning authority is the hallmark of youth, then universities – those intellectual redoubts of the 1960s worldview – provide a perfect incubator for conservative angst. The result has been a spirited half decade of campus activism, ranging from grassroots crusades against curricular bias to demonstrations mocking race-based admissions standards.
These efforts are set to crescendo October 22-26 with Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, the “biggest conservative campus protest ever.” Students at more than a hundred colleges will screen documentaries, host speakers, and even stage sit-ins to highlight the dangers posed by radical Islam and to condemn academia’s agnosticism – or worse – in the face of evil. The bold nature of the program is captured by its official poster, which sports the chilling photograph of a Muslim woman, moments before her execution.
For student activists unperturbed by a trip to the dean’s office or a tense encounter with the varsity Ikhwan, here is a worthy complement to the week’s activities: the sharia bake sale. This event takes its cue from the legendary affirmative action bake sales, which allegorize the blatancy of social engineering by offering steep discounts to members of favored minority groups. In contrast, the variable pricing and service of the sharia version illustrate the plight of women and non-Muslims under strict Islamic rule.
A blueprint for the sharia bake sale is as follows:
Before getting a crack at the brownies, potential customers are quizzed about their religious beliefs. Inquiries about matters of conscience may offend hungry passers-by who take for granted the freedoms enshrined in Western constitutions – and this is precisely the point. Such objections afford an opportunity to explain that in nations governed by sharia, the personal is political and one’s faith is the chief determinant of social status.
To this end, those who wish to play along are divided according to religion. Muslims – actually, Muslim men – are sold brownies at the price of one dollar each. Christians and Jews, so-called “People of the Book,” are instructed to line up at a small, adjoining table and wait. All others are declined service, with organizers citing limited supplies. These provisions mimic sharia’s treatment of dhimmis, the term for Christians and Jews who are granted official protection under Islamic law but enjoy far fewer rights than their Muslim neighbors. Other non-Muslims enjoy fewer still.
Expanding on this theme, people on the dhimmi line are charged two dollars for their treats. The added fee represents the jizya, the tax imposed on non-Muslims in conformity with Koran 9:29 and Sahih Muslim 19:4294. These customers also receive poor service and smaller-than-average portions, thereby satisfying the Koranic requirement that they “feel themselves subdued.”
Finally, brownies are sold to Muslim women at a cost of three dollars, a nod to the institutionalized oppression that Phyllis Chesler has aptly labeled “gender apartheid.” The characteristics and scriptural underpinnings of this system are graphically summarized in a booklet that she co-authored with Robert Spencer. Indeed, its contents expose the main shortcoming of the bake sale: the horrors that women suffer under sharia law and related customs – genital mutilation, veiling, forced marriage, wife beating, polygamy, stoning, and honor killing – could never be adequately depicted by overpriced brownies.
The cruelties of sharia are unfortunately neither theoretical nor confined to some distant age. Elements of Islamic law are in effect from the Maghreb to Malaysia, and the establishment of sharia-run super-states is the overriding goal of both Sunni extremists like Osama bin Laden and Shiite extremists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The drive for sharia has even reached Western shores. Notably, an attempt to sanction Islamic family courts was recently turned back in Ontario, with Muslim women leading the defense.
Americans, too, must heed the Islamists in their own backyard, particularly smooth-talking advocacy groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR has seen several of its officials convicted of terrorism-related offenses and has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which is accused of channeling money to Hamas. However, the words of its leaders are what concern us here.
In 1998 CAIR founder Omar Ahmad reportedly told an audience that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America.” The craving for sharia could hardly be expressed with greater sincerity. Then there is CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper. “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,” he confessed to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1993. “But I’m not going to do anything violent to promote that. I’m going to do it through education.”
Education is indeed the key – the key to combating Islamist forces both at home and abroad and preventing any facet of sharia law from gaining a foothold on Western soil. Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week represents an important step forward in this regard. A well-executed bake sale could provide a tasty means of further spreading the message.