Students and faculty gathered Thursday for a panel discussion about misconceptions of Islam in response to the controversial promotion of a movie about “Radical Islam.”
The panel, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Islam On Campus, addressed the controversy that arose when students hung posters advertising the movie, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.”
Posters promoting the movie, shown on campus Nov. 13, had the phrase “Radical Islam Wants You Dead!”
Matt Klein, a justice on the Student Government Supreme Court, sent out an e-mail before the movie was shown accusing students of removing the fliers and identified them with “Radical Islam.” He later apologized when students took offense to the e-mail.
Before the discussion, Yaser Ali, president of Islam On Campus, said the accusations in the movie posters and e-mails used “sensational language” and could threaten students’ safety.
“It insinuated that our organization promotes terrorist ideologies or condoned terrorist ideologies,” Ali said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Dave Kratzer, associate vice president for student affairs, said the discussion was a small step toward the UF community becoming united.
“I think we have gone through some trauma this past week in which some hurtful things were said,” Kratzer said. “This is not about freedom of speech. This is about civility.”
Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Board, said discussion was a positive way to handle the recent negative situation on campus.
Ahmed said that after Sept. 11, U.S. policies have been driven by fear and have created a vicious cycle.
“Part of this cycle are American Muslims, or Muslims in general, whose faith has been blamed for everything,” Ahmed said. (MORE)