Freedom of Speech alive and well at Gettysburg College

Score one for free inquiry. Heartfelt thanks to the police and security personnel who were out in force last night as I spoke at Gettysburg College. They ensured that Left-fascists would not disrupt the event as they did Monday at the University at Buffalo. I made the case that the concept of Islamophobia was making it impossible to have an honest discussion of a real problem, took the usual hostile and moronic questions from Leftists in attendance, and that was that.

All in all, it was a great evening, thanks to the courageous students of YAF who invited me and the security team. My hat is off to them. I think the event was videoed and will post the video if I can get it.

“Jihad Watch leader’s speech, Muslim support rally coincide in Gettysburg,” by Dustin B. Levy, Hanover Evening Sun, May 4, 2017:

(Gettysburg) — Gettysburg College played host to two events that presented starkly different visions of Islam on Wednesday night.

The impetus was a presentation from Robert Spencer, the director of a blog called Jihad Watch. Spencer’s appearance, requested by a student group, sparked controversy on the campus for his beliefs that Islam is more inherently violent than other religions based his readings of religious texts.

Spencer spoke to a filled room in the College Union Building about the dangers of the stigma of Islamophobia and how it can make people afraid to speak out when they are aware of a terrorist threat.

Just across a courtyard, hundreds of students and faculty gathered for a Muslim Solidarity Rally in front of Pennsylvania Hall. The outdoor rally featured music from a band called the Nawaz Brothers, playing songs like “Bailamos” by Enrique Iglesias and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Attendees sat in chairs or on the grass and some eventually got up to start a jubilant dance party in front of the steps of Penn Hall.

The purpose of the rally was “to show the Muslim members of our community that we support them, that we love them and that we’re there for them,” said Pearson Cost, a member of the College Democrats at Gettysburg College.

The rally came in response to the university’s affirmation of allowing Robert Spencer to speak on campus. Student senate originally approved the $2,000 required to bring Spencer to the college.

Spencer’s speaking engagement came with a significant law enforcement presence on Wednesday. The college decided to close his speech to the public because of safety concerns. By comparison, the rally had one or two police officers on hand.

Spencer acknowledged the backlash that predicated his speech, noting a lack of tolerance given to “intellectual diversity.” He accused the college’s president, Janet Riggs, of pressuring students not to attend.

In Spencer’s view, this all plays into stigmatizing those who share his views with labels of “Islamophobia.”

“The idea is to make everybody who speaks about the nature and magnitude of the Jihad threat honestly so toxic that other people are afraid to speak out,” he said.

Spencer read from the Quran and Sharia law to justify his beliefs. He maintained the quotes he read were what “the vast majority of Muslims believed.”

“Did I write that?” he asked. “Did I make that up?”

Spencer responded to charges apparently made by Todd Green, a speaker at the college on Sunday night, on several occasions. The school scheduled Green, an associate professor of religious studies at Luther College, to make remarks and give students the choice in listening to opposing voices on the issue.

Spencer sarcastically referred to himself as a “vicious gargoyle” and “hate-filled Islamophobe.” He described a “wave of fascism on American campuses,” specifically from the left wing.

A college or university “ought to be a place where free inquiry is prized above all,” he said.

Green did not think Gettysburg College should have felt obligated to host Spencer in the name of free speech.

“At a time in which you can make the most outrageous claims and insinuations against Muslims, our nation needs academic institutions to raise the bar intellectually and morally when it comes to how we talk about Islam and those who practice it,” Green said in an email.

Some of the students attending Spencer’s presentation did not share his beliefs, but were merely curious and wanted to listen….

“Guest speaker at Gettysburg College with controversial views on Islam delivers presentation; opponents demonstrate peacefully,” by Felix Rodrigues Lima, Fox43, May 4, 2017:

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – A guest speaker at Gettysburg College who drew calls for boycott because of his views on Islam, as well as a larger police presence because of anticipated protests, was allowed to make his presentation.

Robert Spencer, author and director of Jihad Watch, made light of the controversy during his talk to students, saying they were not going to get the sideshow they may have been looking for, but rather his assessment of Islam and what he calls the dangers of the faith.

“What we have in this situation is actually a very determined effort to make it so that the point of view that I represent is not examined,” Spencer said.

The Young Americans for Freedom group at Gettysburg College invited Spencer to speak and were approved even as the college brought in an opposing speaker earlier this week and amid calls from the college president to boycott the event.

“I think it’s very important to have this kind of perspective on every campus,” Scott Moore, the chapter’s president, said. “It’s obviously an issue that the entire country and the entire world is going to be facing and has already faced for decades.”

But there was a different vibe from what has happened across the country in response to conservative speakers on college campuses. Students held a “Muslim Solidarity Rally” to demonstrate support for Muslims in the community, featuring speakers and music.

“The way that we would counter this is by just having a celebration basically of Islamic culture,” Davis Healy, one of the rally’s organizers, said. “We just wanted to bring people out and have people be together because that’s what we think is the best way to show what we think in response to Mr. Spencer.”

Demonstrators say they hoped to counter the negative views of Islam from Spencer with greater cultural awareness….


Hugh Fitzgerald: An Apostate, Not Quite There

Raymond Ibrahim: ‘The Real Bomb Is in Islam’s Books’

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