Simon Harak, “Peace” Center Target of Harassment Campaign, Journalistic Bias?
We reported on his extreme statements. And GOP3 has also chronicled his antics and positions.
But Harak and his supporters have largely ignored the blogosphere.
Not so when Milwaukee Magazine decided to report on the controversy surrounding Harak and the Center for Peacemaking. Harak’s fellow leftists in the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice went ballistic. An entry on their web page informed readers:
The Marquette Center for Peacemaking and its director, Father Simon Harak, are the targets of a harrassment [sic] campaign by two Marquette students who oppose the Center’s peacemaking mission. The students have leafletted [sic] Father Harak’s classes with flyers calling Father Harak “deranged” and urging students to “Drop this class!”Of course, this “harrassment” [sic] campaign actually amounted to only one student (Brian Collar) exercising his free speech rights.
The web page complained that the article:
. . . did not quote any Marquette students who were not critical of Father Harak. . . . Father Harak provided us with these responses, from attendees at various Center events.In reality, the “responses” are mostly not from students but from community members, and are not about Harak’s classes but rather about a workshop he conducted. Attendees at such workshops are a highly self-selected bunch who agree with the organizer’s viewpoint.
Their special ire was directed at a graphic that accompanied the story. It was an image of Harak with the crosshairs of a telescopic sight centered on his forehead. How did Harak respond?
In response to the photo, Father Harak says, “I’ve tried, but I just can’t take it lightly, because violence is not academic or symbolic to me (or ‘clever’ as I believe they were trying to be here). Even if I were to just think about Milwaukee, the problem of violence (and gun violence) here is serious enough not to be made light of like this. If I look at where they put the bullseye’ of this target, and if I were to imagine someone holding a gun, what would this image ‘invite?’” Father Harak’s concern is motivated by the fact that, since 9/11, Arab-Americans like Father Harak have been the targets of racially-motivated violence.In reality, the photo seemed to show a pro-Harak bias, implying that those of us who have been critical of the leftist cleric want to assassinate him or something.
In reality, all we have done is criticize him.
But Harak can’t seem to resist playing the victim card and invoking violence against Arab-Americans. In fact, such violence has been extremely rare, and nobody who wrote about Harak (and this includes both Marquette bloggers and Milwaukee Magazine) knew he was Arab-American.
What was in the Milwaukee Magazine article that the Wisconsin Network did not report? The fact that blogger Daniel Suhr discovered that the foundation that funded the Center for Peacemaking has a portfolio laced with stocks of defense contractors -- the people Harak calls the “Merchants of Death.”
When we asked for a response from Harak sponsor and cohort Michael Duffy (who is also associated with the Center), Duffy appeared to be grateful for the information and promised to look into the issue.
The Wisconsin Network web page urged readers to bombard Milwaukee Magazine with e-mails complaining about the article. Apparently they did so, since a more recent posting says that “Many of you have responded to the Milwaukee Magazine article and photo of Father Simon Harak, director of Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking Studies, and to our report on the controversy . . . .”
Of course, the local “peace” movement has a right to bombard Milwaukee Magazine with e-mails if they want to. But some responses are simply lame. The graphic they objected to was a bit “edgy” but in no way advocated or encouraged violence.
And the local leftists don’t seem to want to discuss other important issues such as the fact that the Center for Peacemaking is funded with money obtained from the “Merchants of Death” (Harak’s term) or the fact that Harak said that Saddam Hussein was justified in invading Kuwait in 1991.
Thus we find a typical tactic. Harak and his supporters are attacking the messenger to avoid dealing with serious questions about their “peacemaking” project.