When a student organization invites a speaker, you would expect that the speaker represents and promotes the ideas, beliefs and core values of the organization. With this in mind, the UConn College Republicans' choice of Jesse Peterson to speak for them last night was appalling, to say the least.
The speaker didn't spare any efforts to incite hatred against everyone who doesn't share his values. Of course, he has the right to free speech, but others also have the right to expose his ignorance and bigotry.
I'm not going to comment in detail on his political views, but rather I will expose the lies that he, as well as many other right-wing ideologues, propagated against Islam and Muslims in order to push forward a political agenda and rally support of the misinformed public.
In his speech, Peterson mocked President Obama for extending a hand of peace, understanding and respect to the world's Muslims. Peterson claimed that this is an act of appeasing "the enemy," which makes America look weak and compromising. He also said that "our enemies" hate us because we are a Judeo-Christian nation. He claimed that the Qur'an teaches that Jews and Christians are infidels and therefore sanctions their murder. Peterson couldn't be more wrong.
Millions of American Muslims love America and appreciate the goodness enshrined in the Constitution. These include dozens of Muslim faculty members and hundreds of students at UConn. Around the Muslim world, Muslims have coexisted peacefully with their Jewish and Christian neighbors for centuries. Islam's holy book, the Qur'an, teaches that Jews and Christians are people of the Book, i.e. the Bible, and that their lives, property and freedom of worship are to be protected under Islamic law. The only reason over a billion Muslims worldwide love Jesus the son of Virgin Mary and believe he was a perfect man and a prophet of God is because the Qur'an teaches so.
American Muslims have made clear their condemnation of acts of terrorism and their support for the nation's struggle against terrorism. For example, on Sept. 11, 2001, the Council for American-Islamic Relations issued a statement saying "We condemn in the strongest terms possible what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts." (More)