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“American Sniper” at Michigan: Cowardly campus nearly caves to Islamic victimologists

April 10, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Muslim students said they felt “unsafe”

The petition read like an Onion parody:

“Anti-Muslim and anti-MENA hate crimes are growing increasingly common. These incidents create an unsafe space that does not allow for positive dialogue and triggers U of M students. Examples like the recent Chapel Hill shooting, which took the lives of three Arab American Muslim students, Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha, contribute to this lack of safety and space for Muslim and/or MENA students. Deah’s sister, Dr. Suzanne Barakat, has publicly stated how American Sniper has contributed to a culture of Islamophobia in America. Although we respect the right to freedom of speech, we believe that with this right comes responsibility: responsibility of action, intention, and outcome.

“The movie American Sniper not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim and anti-MENA rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer. Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians. Middle Eastern characters in the film are not lent an ounce of humanity and watching this movie is provocative and unsafe to MENA and Muslim students who are too often reminded of how little the media and world values their lives. What we instead should offer is compassion and respect towards others.”

And so did the statement that campus officials posted on the university’s Facebook page on April 8:

“Student reactions have clearly articulated that this is neither the venue nor the time to show this movie…. We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community, and appreciate the thoughtful feedback provided to us by students and staff alike. We in the Center for Campus Involvement and the UMix Late Night program did not intend to exclude any students or communities on campus through showing this film. Nevertheless, as we know, intent and impact can be very different things. While our intent was to show a film, the impact of the content was harmful, and made students feel unsafe and unwelcome at our program.… We will take time to deeper understand and screen for content that can negatively stereotype a group.”

And the administration’s selection of the film it planned to substitute–Paddington, a children’s film about a baby bear–had its own Onion-esque aspect.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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