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Davis, California

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘Islamists Rising’ coverage

The Aggie coverage of the panel presentation on campus regarding Islamists Rising: Where Next For America, has been pathetic.

First, The Aggie printed an absurd letter denouncing the panel before the speakers even offered public thoughts and dialogue with the audience. The student letter was an attempt at anti-free speech censorship at a public university, which a First Amendment newspaper should have editorialized against.

The Aggie did not attempt to interview the speakers, and let the biased and uninformed public letter stand alone, without public discussion or rebuttal in the printed issue. The Aggie might have contacted the speakers, alerted the community to the opportunity to learn and participate and generally endorsed diverse views on campus.

Second, the panel was remarkably thoughtful, informative and calm, yet no mention of the content and erudition of the panelists was reported after the event. The audience applauded multiple times, and many comments were offered of praise for the speakers’ balance, informed scholarship and polite tone. If the panel had been hateful, that certainly would have made news. But it was a well-received presentation, so The Aggie ignored it.

Third, the printed Aggie article a week later completely ignored the real public debate about the threat of radical Islamism, and the bullying tactics of the “protest” letter. The newspaper coverage missed every opportunity to defend the right of speakers to appear, to weigh their views, to encourage public discussion and to comment favorably on the integrity of the panel.

The panelists outlined how moderate, secular, pro-Western and human rights respecting Muslims should be befriended and celebrated and highlighted, and how all human rights sensitive students should learn more about the hijacking of Islam by jihadist theory and practice.

Nothing quoted about the speakers in the original letter of protest, nor in the statements of the speakers at the panel, has been challenged or disproved. The actual evidence of historical and current radical Islamism has not received any mention. Human rights abuse, slavery, destruction of Christian communities, mistreatment of women, violent revolution, undemocratic regimes, suicide bombings, intimidation, fatwas, beheadings, destruction of religious minority cultures and rife evidence of radical Islamism globally receives no mention in The Aggie.

The journalism here failed to build on the opportunity to learn from the speakers, to ask the audience why they attended and why they felt rewarded by a scholarly, patient and respectful panel presentation, and how the very bullying by the protesters, to label speakers and preemptively smear them as promoting “hate speech” is itself an example of radical Islamism.

Shame on The Aggie. Bravo to the audience who listened and learned in respectful, civil dialogue. The ignorance and lack of discernment or intellectual honesty displayed by the letter writers exemplifies the crises of campus leftism and emotional irrationality in facing truths.

Larry Greenfield
Panelist

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