Georgia Tech's Censorship "Technique" · 16 March 2007

By Orit T. Sklar
Filed under: Press Coverage


Last month, the editorial board of the Technique – the Georgia Tech student Newspaper – rejected an advertisement from the Terrorism Awareness Project entitled, “What Americans Need to Know about Jihad.” In the February 23rd edition, the Technique published a news article with the headline, “Islamic Awareness Week promotes understanding.”


The Technique has clearly chosen to promote one particular viewpoint and censor those views not in line with its own unbalanced agenda. The Technique seems to doubt the intellectual ability of Georgia Tech students to come to their own conclusions when given complete information. Worse, the paper believes its role is to review, filter and censor, in order to entrench a single narrow ideology as the only one worthy of expression on campus. I’m sure the Technique would describe itself as a marketplace of ideas. Too bad there’s only one item on the shelf at this marketplace. Buy it and like it.  

Radical Islam has set every region of the world aflame in its quest to conquer and destroy modern civilization. But even at the very moment we are battling the jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan, sympathizers inexplicably abound here at home. Covering up the identification and the intentions of our enemies is dangerous and can only lead to our demise. While bodies pile up in every corner of the globe, the Muslim community and opinion-makers on college campuses refuse to even consider the possibility that the Islamic community is, if not to blame for the slaughter, complicit in its silence. How much more killing needs to happen in the name of Islam before its stateside advocates demonstrate against terrorism, instead of against the free society that stands to crumble should that which they deny exists triumph? Typically, according to the Technique, Muslims are the victims:

In recent years, the deplorable activities of terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have unfortunately led many people to have many misconceptions about Muslim people. Even the Islamic faith has become a victim of false accusations and beliefs as a result of the mistrust towards the Muslim community that has been precipitated by events like 9/11 and the 2005 London train bombings.

In response, Tech's Muslim Student Association (MSA) launched an Islamic Awareness Week last Tuesday, Feb. 13. This week was meant to add momentum to the organization's attempts to break down common misconceptions about Islam and Muslim people.

Islamo-fascist terrorists will remove anyone and anything that stands in the way of achieving their goals. The true victims in this situation are all of those people who wish to live in a free, democratic society.

The ad submitted by Terrorism Awareness Project simply calls attention to the oft-stated goal of jihadists – the establishment of a global Islamic state under Islamic law. The article chose to whitewash the truth about how Islamic terrorists themselves have advanced jihad through word and deed:  

Jihad was another issue that was discussed and clarified during the week…"Jihad is directed towards purifying yourself and your inner values and not towards purifying the world by extraditing other religions," Masud said. [Umair Masud President, Muslim Student Association]

Muslim countries have some of the worst ratings in the world in terms of women’s rights. (Many of the outspoken critics of radical Islam are women who have written books based on their experience as a woman in a Muslim country. Most of them need extra security, to protect them from those that seek to silence them.) And yet, the article addresses the hijab as if it was some kind of idealistic model for a woman’s life. Women might be able to choose whether or not to wear a hijab in free societies, but that is not possible in countries where Sharia law reigns supreme. I doubt that a woman such as Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran –  who was forced to wear a hijab in Iran out of fear for being killed – would agree with Masud’s assessment that, “Muslim women wear the hijab to not only reflect their modesty and self pride but also to establish their identity in society.”

Accompanying the article was a picture of the mosque on 14th street with the caption, “Several Muslim students at Tech regularly visit the newly constructed mosque.” Ironically, this picture could have been used back in April 2006 when news broke that Syed Haris Ahmed, also known as the “Georgia Tech Terrorist,” was indicted on suspicion of giving material support of terrorism. The Technique places Islam and the mosque on an idealistic pedestal complete with praise and admiration. But replace the mosque with a synagogue or church, and it is highly likely that the Technique would jump at the opportunity to demonize Judaism or Christianity.

The exclusion of this vital but inconvenient information is representative of how the Institute and the Muslim community also chose to deal with the chilling news that one of “our own” was a terrorist: pretend it never happened.

The Technique’s biased coverage is not new. The Technique’s coverage since the September 11th declaration of war by radical Islam has been repulsive. The Technique claims to be “The South’s Liveliest College Newspaper.” But that can only be true if one considers a career in Soviet-style propaganda a worthy pursuit.

The Technique is receiving approximately $60,000 a year from Student Activity fees. It is time that the Technique is held accountable. The Technique is part of the problem at Georgia Tech. It is yet another area of the campus that has taken it upon itself to shut down debate, replacing honesty with censorship and partisanship. In effect, it has replaced a vital tool for disseminating information to the student body of about 17,000. The Technique is ultimately hindering Georgia Tech from truly becoming a marketplace of ideas by censoring its ideological adversaries. As long as a select few have the power to invent the “truth,” the entire Georgia Tech community will be done a great disservice.