Yesterday, Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders came and went from North Philadelphia, his trip cut short by a belligerent crowd of deniers, dhimmis and wanna-be true believers.
In advance of the speech at Temple University by the noted critic of radical Islam, an engagement which had been arranged by a Temple group named Temple University Purpose and funded by California-based David Horowitz Freedom Center, Wilders faced outrage and derision on the diverse urban campus. Consider this, from an article which ran in yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News:
The Student Senate has joined ranks with several organizations decrying a student group’s invitation to Dutch politician Geert Wilders, known for anti-Islamic and anti-immigration beliefs, to speak on campus.
In an overwhelming vote yesterday, the governing body passed a resolution denouncing Wilders for “intolerable, disgraceful and prejudiced slandering of the Islamic faith.”
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.
In a letter issued last week, Monira Gamal-Eldin, president of the Muslim Students Association, criticized the university for being the first in the United States to allow Wilders to address students.
“The Muslim population at Temple feels attacked, threatened and ultimately unsafe that Mr. Wilders has been invited to voice his hate-driven opinions,” she wrote.
“The decision to allow Mr. Wilders to share his viewpoints is a danger not only for the public safety of Muslims and the honor of the core principle of Islam, but also for academic integrity and objectivity on campus.”
As it turns out, Wilders was able to make a 30-minute speech, but in staying for a question-and-answer period afterward, he was interrupted by jeers and shouts from the few hundred students and others in attendance.
According to the Associated Press, Wilders is set to speak at Columbia University in New York City today. Perhaps he’ll be given the same respect offered by Columbia students to Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist in 2006. Remember this?
I always find it amazing how speakers on the right side of the political spectrum are shouted down and physically intimidated because of their contrary perspective by the very type of people who constantly preach diversity in everything. Yet, when someone like Iranian President Mahmoud Aquavelvajaahd comes to speak at an American institution of higher learning, he’s given the respect that common decency and a truly open dialogue proscribes.
Liberalism, friends and neighbors, is based upon emotion rather than fact. Emotion dictates that everybody be given a second chance at a first impression, but facts show that radical Islamic terrorists have carried out 14,253 deadly terror attacks across the world since September 11, 2001. People like Geert Wilders, Jim Gilchrist and others challenge the dwindling rational basis for liberals’ emotions, and for that reason face the only response ill-informed, emotion-driven liberals can muster — volume.
Shout down the opposition. That’s the motivation for how Ann Coulter is treated at speaking engagements. That’s the reason why Barack Obama has retained the services of Hugo Chavez-idolizing Mark Lloyd as Chief Diversity Czar and charged him with taking down talk radio. That’s the reason why the White House has essentially declared war on the one news organization that offers truth and fact, even if that truth and fact is presented alongside occasional overt opinion programming.
Don’t believe me? Try arguing the economic consequences of various environmental policies with hippies who cry over dead trees. Try arguing in favor of concealed carry on a college campus in the northeastern United States. To those people, emotion trumps fact every time, and once the facts begin to put the paper-thin rational basis for that emotion in jeopardy, I guarantee that the debate will become heated.
It’s unfortunate. Those malleable minds in North Philadelphia should learn what they can from Geert Wilders, rather than shouting him down and forcing him out. We need more dialogue, not less.