Free speech under attack at Temple University

We’ve been following the hate campaign against Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who speaks out against militant Islam, for a while. Our posts on him are here. David Horowitz reports at FrontPage Magazine here and here on an attempt to stop Wilders speaking at Temple University in Philadelphia. (Temple is my alma mater so I’m especially interested in this.)

As part of its Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, and its campaign to Stop the Campus War Against Israel and the Jews, the David Horowitz Freedom Center is sponsoring  appearances by Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders at Temple and Columbia universities (October 20 and 21). The Muslim Students Association has issued a statement condemning the event and calling on the Temple Administration to close it down.

Here is part of the MSA’s statement:

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 breech 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.

Got that? Prohibiting backpacks shows that there will be hate speech. The only reason for the ban must be that people hate Muslims, not that any Muslim has ever carried anything dangerous in a backpack. But these Muslim students are lucky: they’ve gotten university administrators to do their work for them:

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the attempts to shut down the Temple speech of Geert Wilders which is being sponsored by a student organization called Temple University Purpose is the role played by three Temple University administrators who run the student activities program and who at a meeting last week pressured the TUP students to close down their event….These administrators told TUP leader Brittany Walsh that Wilders did not have free speech rights at Temple or in America because he was a foreigner.

I’m going to reproduce Brittany Walsh’s reply in full because it is so eloquent. We are fortunate to have students like her standing up for our rights.

“[You} stated in our meeting that Mr. Wilders is not an American citizen and therefore the First Amendment does not apply to him. The American Bill of Rights is not written to confer rights on Americans as to what they can do, but rather these American rights are conceived as limitations on government.  The Bill of Rights says Congress shall make no law abridging free speech and not once claims this only applies to American born citizens, but rather to all of man kind. Freedom of Speech has proved an essential tool in providing a medium for progressive social change in the United States; ie: Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Equal Rights Movement, Vietnam War protests, and even the Equal Human Rights Movement occurring right now in the U.S. advocating on behalf of the LGBT community. Throughout world history, we have witnessed the devastation caused when individuals are deprived of this Right to advocate on behalf of themselves. Many men and women have sacrificed their life or suffered severely to allow you and I to be free; thousands are still doing so today.
Furthermore, I would never dream of telling the Muslim Students Association that they may not practice their religion or espouse their beliefs, but I expect that same respect and consideration to be extended to all individuals and/or groups.  As was stated previously in our meeting, regardless of how I may, or may not, feel about what Mr. Wilders believes, I do believe it is his right to say it. Temple University Purpose will defend Mr. Wilders, and anyone else for that matter, against institutions and communities who attempt to silence them. The Right to Freedom of Speech is a fundamental right upon which this country was founded. Our founding fathers found that tyrants will always seek to silence those in opposition in an effort to squash non compliant beliefs and felt it to be of vital importance that men and women alike are protected from future governments, mob rule, and tyrants who seek to steal their voice. All of this being said, it would be a disservice to the Temple community, hypocritical of TUP’s mission, and a disrespect to all of those who have sacrificed for our right to invite Mr. Wilders to Temple, to rescind his invitation. The Temple community is being provided with a rare opportunity to have an open forum with a highly intelligent, though controversial, politician. Moreover, it is my hope that the community will come together, let their voices be heard, and participate in this educational experience being provided for them. Temple University Purpose plans to go ahead with the event on the 20th of October and hope we may do so with your support.” 

David Horowitz puts the matter in context:

Everywhere you look these days Americans’ most basic freedom is under attack by the jihadists of the international left. The infamous UN Human Rights Commission which includes the worst human rights violators on the planet (now joined by the Obama Administration) has recently passed a resolution against religious defamation — defined as linking Islamists to terrorism. At home Democrats have attached a “hate crimes” amendment which would make thinking a crime to the new defense appropriations bill. Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been banned from owning a National Football League team on the grounds that he is a conservative and conservatives are hateful.

The speech is scheduled for today. I’ll give you an update when I find out what happened.

Update from Gateway Pundit, 10/21/09:  Radical leftists shouted down Geert Wilders at Temple University last night. The good little indoctrinated leftists chanted, “Hey Hey, HO, HO, this racist bull—-’s got to go.” They forced the university to shut down the event early.

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