Friday, March 31, 2006

New York University appeases Muslim bullies


With support from the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), a New York University (NYU) approved Objectivist student group publicised that it was going to show the notorious Danish cartoons (don't need to say what they are) in a panel discussion called "Unveiling the Danish Cartoons" on Wednesday 29 March. According to ARI:
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"A day before the panel discussion was to take place, NYU gave the student event organizers a non-negotiable ultimatum: if you display the cartoons we will close the event to non-NYU guests. This was in spite of the fact that NYU's own rules leave this decision to the student sponsoring organization."
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Furthermore:
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"And even though the students opted for not showing the cartoons, NYU barred entry to at least two journalists and more than 30 registered guests. Even after learning that Muslim students had sabotaged the event by acquiring and destroying two hundred tickets to leave as many seats empty, NYU officials still refused to allow non-NYU guests to enter."
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ARI is furious, understandably so. It has said:
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"Why did NYU trample the rights of the Objectivist student group?Because it chose appeasement; it chose, out of fear, to avoid the consequences of taking a principled stand to protect everystudent's freedom of speech on campus. And so next time, the mobs will know that to get whatever they want, they need only screamand threaten more stridently."
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Indeed - NYU would rather capitulate to threats and not upset those who call for violence, than to defend those who are implacably opposed to it. How dare it call itself a university - such an attitude puts it back with the book burners of the dark ages!
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Read the full ARI press release and letter to the editor of the NY times here.
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However, there is a far more interesting dialogue about this on Diana Hsieh's blog entry on this. She goes into more detail, explaining that the Islamic centre describes that:
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"These cartoons have lead to riots, protests, beatings, and even deaths on an international level"
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Yes, only by their deranged Muslim "brothers". Drawings do nothing at all - why should anyone attack anyone else because they are offended, unless they are savages?
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Moreover, the Islamic centre has no understanding of context - these anti-reason censors of debate claim:
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"Remember that this same type of manifestation of hatred has lead to the murder of many innocent people. We can look as far back as the 1930's in the years prior to the Holocaust when Nazi Germany circulated hate-filled images of our Jewish brothers and sisters throughout society. Contemporary situations such as Rwanda have also caused bloody genocides. It is necessary for all of us to stand together and speak out against this, as hatred does not discriminate against any color, race, creed, or religion; all it does is hate."
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To claim that an objectivist group is engaging in mindless hate is ludicrous, to claim the newspaper that published the cartoons was engaging in hate akin to Nazi Germany is utterly vile. In fact, it was in response to the ultra-violent anti-semitic cartoons the Arab world is not ashamed of publishing regularly. However, they wouldn't dare criticise their "brothers" in totalitarian Arab regimes, only Americans using free speech to debate the point of free speech. ARI was not engaging in hatred against Muslims, but the Islamic League doesn't even want to listen.
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Diana wrote to NYU saying:
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"Consider the consequences of your decision. By capitulating this time, you've forsaken the principle necessary to withstand pressure from other groups to withdraw some speaker deemed offensive. What ground can you stand upon when the Campus Republicans attempt to bar Michael Moore from speaking? Or when the Christian groups band together to bar an atheist? If those groups threaten trouble, will you demand concessions from those speakers too, like that Michael Moore can't say anything mean about President Bush or that the atheist must refrain from arguing his full case against God? Soon, no speech would be permitted, lest even innocuous comments about the sunny weather offend the depressed or mentions of a good grade on an exam offend those who chose not to study. Once speech is limited on the grounds that it might offend some people, the principle of free speech is destroyed."
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I couldn't agree more.

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