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Muslim Students Speak Out Against Nonie Darwish
From The Seattle University Spectator
Members of Seattle University’s Muslim community have been gathering signatures on a petition since Monday to voice their resentment over the university hosting author Nonie Darwish last week.
Darwish, a former Muslim who renounced Islam for Christianity and tours the nation speaking out against radical Islam and Sharia law, spoke at Seattle University Thursday.
Event organizers maintain they brought Darwish to campus to foster discussion about human rights issues and conflict in the Middle East.
“The idea of a university is to exchange ideas,” said Gracie Cohen, a sophomore pre-major who publicized Darwish’s talk.
Some students, however—who said Darwish spreads falsehoods and undue fear about Islam—demonstrated at the event Members of Seattle U’s Muslim Student Association plan to bring their grievances to President Stephen Sundborg, S.J.
“We believe hosting a person like Nonie on the SU campus is contrary to all of the values upon which this institution is founded,” said Ahmed Alnafie, former president of, MSA.
Darwish is the author of three books: "Now They Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror,” "Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law” and “Obsession: Radical Islam's War against the West.”
“The message she carries is a message of hatred and defamation to Islam,” Alnafie said.
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America—a nonpartisan media-monitoring organization formed in 1982 that focuses on decreasing anti-Israel bias in mainstream news—sponsored the event. Cohen, a CAMERA intern, publicized Darwish’s appearance at Seattle U through e mails and flyers.
Some of the students who attended the talk Thursday said they questioned Darwish’s credentials.
“If she had used the Quran to support any of her claims, she would have had some substance,” said Nabiha Pirbhai,
“It was horrible,” Al Harbi said. “She was giving wrong, misleading information about my religion. . . I’m OK with her criticizing Islam, but she was throwing out lies to people that don’t understand the situation.”
Many students who arrived in Bannan to hear Darwish speak Thursday were unreceptive to her, Cohen said. Public Safety received a report of a heated argument in the building.
“The majority of the audience came in hostile.” Cohen said. “She couldn’t get though half a sentence.”
Cohen said when she returned to clean up after the event, she found all of the CAMERA magazines and pamphlets she had displayed on the table for audience members were in the recycling bin.
Members of MSA passed out a handout listing short statements Darwish has made on Islam. They also distributed DVDs about the five pillars of Islam and other basics of the religion, Pirbhai said.
Al Harbi said he and other Muslim students purposefully interrupted Darwish when they thought she said something that misrepresented the religion.
Pirbhai said MSA will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss future steps. She estimates 25 students have signed the petition.
I think the University should take steps against students with such bad manners they will not let an invited guest speak although it must have been very galling for them to have an Egyptian former Muslim speaking the unpalatable truths. Non muslims should be left wondering why Islam cannot stand up to honest criticism.