The Freedom Center is sponsoring an event tonight at Temple University.
Dutch parliamentarian and Islam critic Geert Wilders will be addressing a college audience in the United States for the first time. David Horowitz has blogged previously here and here about attempts to shut down the speech.
An article about the controversy ran today in the Philadelphia Daily News:
Student Senate President Jeff Dempsey said he couldn’t support the decision to invite Wilders and hoped that the university would pull the plug on the program at the last minute.
“I’ve never been ashamed to be a Temple student,” Dempsey said, adding that university-sponsored dollars were not used to fund the event. “Our proud embrace of diversity and inclusion is tarnished by this man’s provocation of hate.”
Wilders was invited to speak by a new group on campus called Temple University Purpose.
Before the meeting, about a dozen students held signs with phrases including “Temple U. Does Not Condone Hate” and “Hate Speech [does not equal] Free Speech.”
Among the demonstrators was Megan Chialastri, vice president of All Sides, an organization that seeks to promote peace between Israel and Palestine.
“We feel student groups should not bring people on campus that jeopardize the safety, or just the way people feel on this campus,” she said.
Read those last nine words that Chialastri says carefully. That’s the real problem with Wilders. He presents views counter to the way a segment of students, faculty, and administrators feel.
In his speeches and his film Fitna Wilders presents facts and ideas (principally drawn from the Koran itself) which offend people’s feelings about a political-religious movement about which they know next to nothing. Feelings is the operative word here. How many who oppose Wilders and slander him as a man of hate have ideas about Islam and how many have feelings? How many have actually read the Koran and scholars like Robert Spencer and how many just have some fuzzy feelings about not wanting to be politically incorrect?
Well, we have to live based on what the facts demand, not on what feels good. It’s time for students to put their feelings aside and look at facts and ideas. And Wilders is just the man to advance this necessary task.