Written by FPM
April 08, 2008
By FrontPage Magazine
In April 2006, MSA-MSU members held a rally protesting a Danish newspaper’s recent publication of a series of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. According to the group, the cartoons in question constituted “hate speech.”
In response, a Michigan State professor named Indrek Wichman sent an e-mail to MSA-MSU, which read as follows: “Dear Muslim Association: As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU, I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called ‘whores’ in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France….If you do not like the values of the West -- see the 1st Amendment -- you are free to leave. I hope for God’s sake that most of you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.”72
In response to this email, MSA-MSU (along with twelve other student and advocacy groups) demanded not only that the University administration reprimand Professor Wichman, but also that it institute mandatory diversity training for faculty and a seminar on hate and discrimination for freshman.
Six months later Michigan State University, after lengthy negotiations with the Muslim Students Association and CAIR, announced that it would offer non-mandatory diversity training – including an Islamic awareness workshop facilitated by MSA-MSU and funded by the University – for its faculty and student body. Said Paulette Granberry Russell, Director of MSU’s Office for Affirmative Action Compliance and Monitoring: “We’re working with the MSA to identify the things that they want to discuss. Then we’re going to use those ideas as a basis for developing educational programs.”73
In August 2007, pressure from MSA-MSU resulted in a decision by the University of Michigan to spend $25,000 to install foot baths for Muslim students in its campus rest rooms. Maweza Razzaq, President of MSA MSU, said that having access to foot baths would help Muslim students feel more comfortable about practicing their ritual washing (of feet, hands, face and forearms) in public before praying.74