No sooner was the announcement made about Dutch Politician Geert Wilders appearance at Temple University in Philadelphia next Tuesday, October 20th than the local Muslim Student Association (MSA) chapter fired a bow shot that came up short. In a release issued yesterday, Monira Gamal-Eldin, President of Temple MSA , requested a meeting with University authorities to scuttle the event. Here’s what the Temple MSA release said:
Geert Wilders is a far-right Dutch MP who is infamous for his anti-Islamic rhetoric and extreme hatred towards Muslims. A person who has been tried in the Netherlands Supreme Court for his hate speech concerning Islam, banned from the United Kingdom due to the threat he poses to community harmony, and is concurrently being charged for violating anti-hate laws in the European Union, should not be allowed to address the Temple community.
Temple MSA speaks for the many Muslims and socially conscious students and faculty on campus when we say that the presence of Geert Wilders on our campus is a breach of Temple University’s pledge to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all students and faculty on campus. The Muslim population at Temple feels attacked, threatened, and ultimately unsafe that Mr. Wilders has been invited to voice his hate-driven opinions. The fact alone that backpacks are prohibited for entry to this event reinforces our argument that this creates an unsafe atmosphere where prejudiced, racist and vehemently hateful words will be disguised under the veil of academia.
Temple MSA deplores the decision made by Temple College Republicans, The David Horowitz Freedom Center, Temple University Purpose, Temple Student Activities, and Temple University as an institution of higher learning, for welcoming Geert Wilders when so many have found his speech to be repugnant to society as a whole.
We condemn Temple University for being the first university in the United States to allow Mr. Wilders to address their population and hope that the administration realizes the reputation and ideologies they are fostering not only to the Temple community, but to the world. The decision to allow Mr. Wilders to share his viewpoints is a danger not only for the public safety of Muslims and the honor of the core principles of Islam, but also for academic integrity and objectivity on campus.
We strongly urge that his invitation be rescinded immediately in order to foster appreciation of free speech that is not based on hatred and discrimination.
This was pure taqiyya (religiously sanctioned dissimilitude) by the Temple MSA leaders. A major problem was that their information was behind the times given the news of a U.K. Immigration Tribunal lifting the ban on Wilders travel to Britain. The travel entry ban was caused by an order issued by now disgraced former Home Secretary Jacquie Smith last January that caused Wilders, an EU parliamentarian, to be ejected upon arrival at Heathrow Airport. In the wake of this Immigration Tribunal decision, Wilders will go on Friday to Britain for a victory lap for this doughty rising Dutch political star. Even, the left wing Guardian UK in an article, “Geert Wilders, the 'pre-criminal “ headlined “Home Office attempts to deny UK entry to extremists are both authoritarian and inept. Pre-emptive gagging is a bad precedent.” The article noted:
Almost exactly a year ago, it announced the introduction of new measures including creating a "presumption in favor of exclusion" from the UK in respect of all those who had "engaged in spreading hate". The Home Office's actions had all the hallmarks of an ill-thought-out PR exercise designed to make it look as if it was being tough on extremists.
After all, the presumption in favor of exclusion meant that it would now be up to the individual concerned to prove they would not "stir up tension" after arrival in the UK. As Brian Whitaker observed on Cif: "Why not a presumption in favor of free speech?"
It is almost always a very bad idea to allow governments these kinds of arbitrary powers to ban visitors – whether it is Geert Wilders, or the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan or the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi – especially when we have legislation on the statute books to deal with the very situations they claim to be trying to protect us against.
One of the recipients of the Temple MSA release was the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Horowitz personally staked out a position in rebuttal addressing the muzzling of free speech explicit in the request to have the University shut down the Wilders program, as well as the questionable bona fides of the MSA. He posted the release on the FrontPageMagazine and sent it out to media across America as a thundering jeremiad.
It is not surprising that the MSA would seek to shut down the free speech of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who has been an outspoken critic of Islamic terrorists and Islamic attacks on Jews and other religions. Assaults on the First Amendment and efforts to censor critics of radical Islam are, in fact, typical of the tactics used by the MSA, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society. These groups support the jihad against the west and are part of the network created by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of the terrorist groups al-Qaeda and Hamas. The faculty advisor for Temple MSA is presently a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Temple MSA refers to the fact that security will be necessary at the event as proof that Geert Wilders is dangerous. This is the perfect Orwellian mindset of supporters of the jihad. The threat to the Wilders event making security measures necessary comes from Muslim radicals who have already assassinated two prominent Dutch critics of Islamic terrorism – Pym Fortun and Theo Van Gogh (who not incidentally both happened to be gay).
In point of fact Wilders has not been tried by any Dutch court, and was recently exonerated by a British court which declared the ban on his entry illegal.
The Temple community should reject the call by the MSA to censor free speech on the Temple campus, and should recognize it for what it is – an assault on the right of all Americans to have a democracy that is inclusive, tolerant and respectful of the rights of others.
Temple U administrators had the courage of their convictions when they rejected an endowed chair on Islamic studies for faculty member Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub.
A Campus Watch article discussed his peculiar views of Danish Mohammed cartoons.
Mahmoud Mustafa Ayoub, a professor of Islamic studies at Temple University is exercised about the content of one or more of the cartoons, in which "Muhammad was portrayed as a terrorist." But he also raised a deeper issue: "It has a lot to do with the difference in belief about freedom…The essential difference is how freedom is understood. I believe that my freedom ends where the dignity and respect for all the prophets begins." Deciding where freedom of expression ends and abstractions such as dignity and respect for literary figures called "prophets" begins is a tricky business, and Ayoub offers no guidance.
But does the MSA come with clean hands in this flawed attempt to throttle the free speech of Geert Wilders? Not according to Patrick Poole, who reveals in a Pajamas media article, “Ohio State Student Groups hosts Hamas Fundraiser,” that an MSA chapter at Ohio State sponsored an event for British MP George Galloway raising funds for terrorist group Hamas.
he MSA at the Ohio State University — a sister organization to the UC-Irvine group — also held a luncheon fundraiser on April 4 featuring Galloway, just three weeks after his televised appearance in Gaza with Hamas leaders. A flier for the event states that “all proceeds go to Gaza.” According to the flier, the event was co-sponsored by a prominent mosque in the Columbus area, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center, which has recently been in the news concerning its terrorist ties and its connection to the Rifqa Bary case.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the OSU MSA has a very troubled history. Before the 9/11 attacks, the group operated the MSANews email distribution service that served as the primary English-language outlet for virtually every Islamic terrorist group in the world, including al-Qaeda. As the Associated Press reported in December 2001, the OSUMSA was under investigation by federal authorities for openly promoting terrorist videos and extremist Islamic groups in the U.S.
In the midst of this war of words over free speech another voice of reason , Jerusalem Post Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh is in Philadelphia speaking at Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania about Middle East matters. He discussed in a Hudson Institute post, “On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda “ about the conceit of radical students on America’s campuses fomenting attacks against Constitutional guarantees of free speech. His remarks were in the context of campus visits during which student groups espoused support for Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and endeavored to deny his views. But the same could apply to this Temple U. MSA attack on the Wilders campus event:
The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don’t like to hear.
We commend the courage of the Temple U. students for sponsoring the Wilders appearance there. Their mettle will be challenged by this assault on free speech. We trust that Temple U. administrators will let Wilders speak.