College’s reaction to Muslim protests appalling

Quran burning pastor Terry Jones attempts to walk through a crowd of protestors on his way to the Dearborn Islamic festival, following his anti-Muslim rally in front of City Hall in Deaborn, Michigan, Friday, June 17, 2011. Jarrad Henderson/Detroit Free Press/TNS

On Thursday, The Collegian received an email sent by an English professor to Fresno State’s Provost in regards to an email the Provost sent out to faculty members. The email recommended that all professors on campus tell their Muslim students that they should stay home from school on Friday for their own safety.

“Due to potential threats, I request that Muslim students be excused from class on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015,” Provost Lynnette Zelezny wrote.

The implications of this email are astounding.

Yes, there were planned anti-Muslim protests going on over the weekend in as many as 20 cities. But as if to say that it was now the Muslim students’ responsibility to stay indoors and avoid the potentially crazy racist lunatics is ludicrous.

Sure, they didn’t specifically tell students to stay home, but recommending students keep off campus to avoid being hurt just helps the school avoid liability. It treats the students as if they aren’t worth equal treatment. It’s the equivalent of “letting the terrorists win” or asking sexual assault victims why they put themselves in that position in the first place. It is not OK.

The letter was so vague that the professor who responded to it – and CC’d everyone in her department – called the intent of Zelezny words into question:

“I am concerned about these potential threats, and about the lack of information in this email. Is this about the anti-Muslim rallies scheduled to happen over the weekend? I am worried that this email may send the message that the students themselves are a threat, when they are the ones being targeted.”

Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States. Christianity is the dominant religion on Earth. The definitive linking of Islam to terrorism is ridiculous. The concept that Islam is taking over and that Christianity is under attack is utterly insane.

You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded room when there is no fire.

The letter, which Fresno State later clarified that the Provost was expressing concern for Muslim students’ safety, is shrouded in racist undertones. Muslims are already being targeted and singled out in this country. They don’t need their school to single them out as well. It isn’t a student’s job to stay away from campus to be safe, it’s the school’s job to protect its students – all of them.

If there were to be a KKK rally on campus, would the school ask all of the African-American students to stay home that day? Probably not. But that’s the post-9/11 world in which we live, and it’s unfortunate.

If Fresno State was truly concerned about potential violence on its campus, they should have cancelled classes unilaterally – not focused in on a group which is a minority.

Instead, the school should have stood in solidarity with their Muslim students. They should have shown their support in another way like speaking out against violence against Muslims and racist protests. But that is too sensitive of a subject in Fresno.

The people protesting Islam in the United States are the same people that tout the Second Amendment after every mass shooting, but throw the First Amendment out the window when it comes to religion. These “Patriots” are the ultimate hypocrites.

They love their right to use hate speech and their right to have guns imparted on them by the First and Second amendments, but they openly express hate for Islam to the point of violence throwing out the First Amendment as well as the 14th Amendment, which provides for equal protection. You don’t get to pick and choose which provisions in our Constitution you’ll abide.

Which part of this is the American Dream?

In this country, the way we managed to achieve our lifestyle and culture is by standing up to oppression – to those who thought we were lesser than – not being the oppressors ourselves.

To truly achieve the American Dream, we must embrace Islam, and Catholicism, and Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witness, and Buddhism, and Judaism, and Hinduism, and Scientology, and atheism and all other belief systems.

To achieve the American Dream, we must be whoever the hell we want to be and not worry that what others believe in differs from our own views. Because that’s what makes us great and sets us apart in the world.

Our differences are what make us great. They should be celebrated, not protested, not hated, not attacked. We should stand together as Americans – ones that were born here and ones that immigrated – so the world can see that America is indeed what we always claimed it to be.

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