VIEWPOINT: Why I Left the College Republicans Board

On Feb. 27, I resigned my position as secretary of the Georgetown University College Republicans. Being an elected board member of the College Republicans was a dream of mine since I was first accepted into Georgetown, and I was blessed to have such an early opportunity to do so. I, along with seven other young conservatives, were elected to a board that was supposed to represent a “GUCR for a new century.”

However, after inviting anti-Islamic activist Nonie Darwish to speak on campus Wednesday, I realized that the board that I was once proud to serve had become misguided and turned its back on our message to be Republicans for a new century. Instead of defending the righteous pillars of free speech, the Georgetown University College Republicans board decided to support the shameful principles of hate speech.

My decision to resign has come under scrutiny by some conservatives on campus and even picked up by conservative provocateurs such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro. Still, I am fully behind my decision.

To truly understand why I resigned, one must understand the severity of the speaker the board has chosen to invite. Nonie Darwish is a former Muslim woman who converted to Christianity and is now a self-described women’s rights advocate. I initially found her story to be inspiring, interesting and especially unique; one that I believed deserved to be shared.

However, through further research, it was brought to the board’s attention that Darwish is not the advocate she claims to be. Darwish describes herself as someone who “warns the West of the dangers of Radical Islam and Sharia law” and has been quoted as saying that “Islam should be feared, and should be fought, and should be conquered and defeated and annihilated.”

It was clear to me that after this was brought to our attention by other members of the board, we faced a crucial decision of either still allowing her to speak or disinviting her, and more importantly, whether Darwish’s address constituted free speech and hate speech.

Hate speech is defined by the American Bar Association as “speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.” Now, yes, the Constitution does protect the principles of free speech. However, through our judiciary, and as a country, we have decided to define some confines as to what can be said.

I agree with the American Bar Association and its definition of hate speech and I believe wholeheartedly that Nonie Darwish’s comments qualify as hate speech. There is no doubt in my mind that speaking about the annihilation of entire religion and its followers is and should be categorized as hate speech.

Just this week, a Georgia couple was sentenced to a combined almost two decades in prison because of racial threats, among other offenses, made to a black family. The words of Nonie Darwish, who calls for the annihilation of Islam and claims Islam is a poison to a society, maliciously offend our Muslim brother and sisters, not only on the Hilltop, but around the world.

Let me be clear: As a moral conservative and an American, I believe that the freedom of speech is, without a doubt, one of the most important founding pillars of our democracy and, unfortunately, faces many opponents today.

However, to hide behind our First Amendment right of freedom of speech to give a platform to a hatemonger is not only cowardly, but egregious and immoral. As Republicans, we should defend the Constitution, advocate for a flatter and fairer tax code and promote free enterprise, but we should never become a platform for hate speech.

I stand with those who say hate speech is not welcome on the Hilltop. I ask the GUCR board to truly explore what the limits of free speech are and to fulfill its promise to personify a GUCR for a new century — one that is inclusive, diverse and committed to defining true conservatism.

Javon Price is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

10 Comments

  1. Jane Hoya says:

    The GUCR board had already demoted this kid from secretary to freshmen rep because he wasn’t doing his job. It’s all rather convenient that he was able to resign over this Darwish thing and come out smelling like roses while throwing the rest of the board under the bus.

  2. The fantasy that “hate speech”, which this is not in any case, is not protected by the 1st Amendment, has no basis in fact aside from the coddled class refusing to hear views they dont like and attempting to legalize free thought out of universities. Go resign Javon and may the College Dems that insult you behind your back for your otherwise conservative views and place as a black “conservative” be a more welcoming home.

  3. The ABA’s statement didn’t modify the 1st Amendment to suit your triggered liberal feelings. You can disagree all you want, but the wave of censorship on college campuses is liberal fascism in action,.

  4. Points in response to Mr. Price’s letter:

    1. If Nonie Darwish left Islam for a Christianity, and now writes that it should be “feared”, “fought”, “conquered”, “defeated”, and “annihilated”, perhaps that it because she is aware of Surah Nine in the Qur’an, and verses in it which command hostility and violence upon our fellow humans who are not worshippers of Allah. Here is a link leading to contextual history and relevant citations:

    http://www.citizenwarrior.com/2010/09/qurans-last-word-on-non-muslims.html

    Note the essential principle of abrogation (cancelling earlier peaceful verses), and also that this website, Citizen Warrior, has as its mission statement — in rather dark letters — just below the top title, final words of “orthodox Islam”. And such inconvenient truth for us Westerners explains the behavior of perpetrators of 9-11, the Paris Bataclan slaughter, Orlando, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Ohio State University, Islamic State, and thousands of other event around the world.

    2. The ABA’s definition of hate speech as that which “offends …insults …based on …religion” legitimizes what is often called the Heckler’s Veto: anyone may therefore claim offense & insult even if what was spoken or written is COMPLETELY factual. For example, my reading aloud a news report stating that “Allahu Akbar” has been shouted during beheadings might make some Muslims very angry. Can they then demand future censorship for all journalism?

  5. For those readers who seek a comprehensive solid discussion of whether violence is really justified by sacred texts and teachings of Islam, and even the life of its prophet, here is an item from OnePeterFive — a Catholic website:

    http://www.onepeterfive.com/the-root-cause-of-islamic-violence/

    It begins with last year’s remarks by Pope Francis, when he seemed to excuse pathological acts by Muslims because some members of his faith also engage in them. An “about” page for OnePeterFive is linked at that page’s top.

  6. Javon has so much to be proud about. He shows true courage in standing up against his fellow students and staying true to what he believes in. He is a freshman who has become a leader in this student community. I’m sure his peers already know that. Javon for GUSA President!

  7. Betsy DaBoss says:

    Correction: Javon was not secretary when he resigned. He was appointed freshman representative because of poor work ethic and performance, having missed several board meetings because he worked his way into the pointless GUSA “Senate” bureaucracy of Fin/App.

    Don’t lie, Javon, just because you want the attention.

  8. Betsy DaBoss says:

    “I ask the GUCR board to truly explore what the limits of free speech are”

    there shouldn’t be limits to free speech. thats the whole point of speech and expression being free.

  9. Pingback: There’s a World of Difference Between Free Speech and Hate Speech - Center for American Progress

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