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MSU-YAF + Anti-Muslim Professor = Embarrassment all around

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Readers of the rANT Farm may remember the sad saga of poor, poor Dr. Indrek Wichman -- a professor of Mechanical Engineering at Michigan State University who, like many Westerners, was rather disconcerted at widespread Muslim response to the Danish Mohammed Cartoon fiasco. However, rather than handle the matter in an even-handed and mature manner, he wrote a really nasty letter off to MSU's Muslim Student Association - one calling them names, accusing them of things they haven't done or supported, and telling them to "go home." Dear Moslem Association: As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intened to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian chirches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavain girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France. This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsul you dissatisfied, agressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests." If you do not like the values of the West--see the 1st Ammendment--you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans. Cordially, I. S. Wichman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He later backpedaled, however unconvincingly, and the University saw fit to severely punish him by giving him a stern warning to separate his views from that of the University, should he ever decide to write another such letter. MSU declined to call it harassment, but left unaddressed was the issue of his using an official MSU email account to write such an offensive letter, and if a Muslim student could ever take a class with him and not worry about being made to feel unwelcome there. That was April of 2006. Now, almost two years later, Professor Wichman was all set to shoot himself in the foot yet again, this time by teaming up with MSU's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, who gained notoriety for being the first university-affiliated student group to be declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (More information on the group, and some of their ties to hate, can be found here). The fruit of their collaboration was supposed to be a talk on "how Muslims Desire to Deny People Right to Free Speech," to be held at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan on Tuesday, February 26, at 7 p.m. According to the press release, and a facebook event entry, the talk was going to be held "in remembrance of the first World Trade Center bombings, which occurred on February 26, 1993." And was co-sponsored by, amongst others, the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs (JINSA). Kyle Bristow, the chairman of MSU-YAF, said, "Professor Indrek Wichman defended Western culture and freedom when he sent the Muslims Student Association his email in 2006. He only said what most Americans think, but are too afraid to say." Bristow added that "it is an honor to host a speech by a freedom-fighter." There was just one problem: The Holocaust Center had no real idea the event was going to take place, as it was booked improperly Selma Silverman, administrator of the center, said the event was booked without following proper procedures and that the center did not become aware of YAF's background until Michigan Messenger inquired about the planned talk. ... "It should not have been there. It was an accident," Silverman said. ... She added that all groups and events at the center go through a vetting process, and that had not occurred in this case. Embarrassing? Worse was yet to come, as JINSA disavowed having any knowledge of the speech at all. "We don't know anything about this, and we don't know how our name got involved," said (Jim Colbert, communications director for the organization) in a phone interview. "We are not part of this." Unsurprisingly, the Holocaust Center canceled the event. The entry on MSU-YAF's blog, the Spartan Spectator, was removed without comment, as was the facebook event page, shortly thereafter. Note the tagline: "Because Islam is a wicked, vicious faith." This is a phrase MSU-YAF's Chairman, Kyle Bristow, has used before. According to Kyle Bristow: Just for the record, I do not think that Islam should be allowed at an "academic institution of learning and enlightenment." Over the last 1,300 years, what has Islam contributed to the world except for slavery, war, terrorism, and oppression? I do not apologize for not approving of a heresy. Charming, huh? I bet he and Professor Wichman would have made some sweet music together, on that stage. Maybe all the people who sent letters like this around could have come together to feel the love. It's really too bad that MSU YAF - who usually have better organizational and communication skills than this - couldn't make this speech happen. The last time Wichman spoke about the matter, he was still making it sound like a horrible misunderstanding, and seemed eager to put the whole mess behind him. Letting him take the stage could have put the lie to that, and let the MSU community see what he's really all about, now that the furor over his comments has died down. For the record, Wichman absolutely had the right to speak his mind, however offensively, as does Bristow, and any other person who want to criticize Islam, mainstream or radical. But when someone uses a university email account to drop something like that letter to a student organization, claims to speak for "many, many, many of (his) colleagues," and leaves in doubt whether a Muslim student could ever really feel welcome, supported and treated equally in his class, then it's time for that professor to look for another job, as he's shot holes through the principal mission of any institution of higher learning. And if you have to ask what that is, don't feel bad. Dr. Wichman doesn't seem to know, either.
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http://rant-farm.blogspot.com/

J. Edward Tremlett is a lot of things, currently. He's back in the states after a seven-year stint in Dubai, UAE. He's been published in such diverse places as The American Partisan, the International American, The End is Nigh, Pyramid Magazine (more...)
 

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