Muslim students want Indrek Wichman to be disciplined. The University, at least for now, is reminding them of a little thing called freedom of speech. Of course, given the pattern of events over the last few years in the U.S. and Europe, I wouldn't be in the least surprised if they caved before too long and reprimanded, suspended, or even fired Wichman.
Meanwhile, what did he say? He told Muslims mounting a Cartoon Rage protest that Islamic jihad murders were worse than a few cartoons. He said it in strong language. But what he said was true: everything he mentioned was true and has been reported here at Jihad Watch (Mr. Wichman, if you are a reader, my hat is off to you).
From the Detroit Free Press, with thanks to all who sent this in, here is the text of Wichman's email:
Dear Moslem Association: As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intened 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 chirches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavain girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France.
This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsul you dissatisfied, agressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests."
If you do not like the values of the West -- see the 1st Ammendment -- 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.
Cordially, I. S. Wichman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
And here are selections from the Free Press's story on the fallout:
An Islamic student group at Michigan State University demanded Monday that university officials publicly reprimand a professor whose Feb. 28 e-mail called on Muslims who don't "like the values of the West" to leave the United States.
That's a funny lead. I suppose they are demanding that Muslims who don't like the values of the West should not be free to leave?
Of course, what they really mean is that non-Muslims who realize that there are Muslims in the West who don't like the values of the West should above all not suggest that those Muslims should leave the West. Instead, non-Muslims should acquiesce peacefully while those Muslims set about to transform the values of those Western societies.
But MSU officials said there's little that can be done to punish Indrek Wichman, 55, a tenured professor of mechanical engineering, because his comments essentially constitute free speech. Wichman sent the message to the Muslim Students' Association of Michigan State University while it handed out free cocoa during a public awareness event about controversial cartoons that depicted Islam's founder as a terrorist....
The Muslim Students' Association, along with 12 other student and advocacy groups, called Monday for the university to issue a letter of reprimand. They have met several times with university officials since Feb. 28 and went public with the e-mail Monday because the school had not acted.
Terry Denbow, spokesman for MSU, said Wichman's views in no way represent the university's views. But, he said, they do not violate the university's antidiscrimination policy.
"He was cautioned that any additional commentary ... could constitute the creation of a hostile environment, and that could ... form the basis of a complaint" under the policy, Denbow said.
He said he considers the comments "very inappropriate. And I personally wish he would apologize to the students."
To Farhan Abdul Azeez, an MSU senior studying human biology and the president of the student association, the e-mail was startling.
"Naturally, I was very upset. I was disgusted. All of those emotions went through my body," said Azeez, 20, of Canton.
In addition to a reprimand, the student group wants the university to implement diversity training programs for faculty and a mandatory freshman seminar on hate and discrimination.
"The best way to limit or to kind of defuse hate is through education, no doubt," said Maryam Khalil, 18, a sophomore from East Lansing studying journalism. Khalil is vice president of the association.
No, Maryam. The best way to limit or to kind of defuse hate is for Muslims to stop committing the violent acts to which Wichman refers, and justifying them by Islamic teachings. Those who do not commit violent acts should be directing their energies to those who are, and trying to convince them to stop. As well as working with non-Muslims to root jihad terrorists out of their communities.
If Muslims did that, they would find non-Muslims would have significantly less of what they think of as "hatred" for them, but which is actually a normal impulse for self-defense.
Denbow said discussions with students about sensitivity training are ongoing.
"We're not only willing to, but eager to listen to the students. Their commentary to date has been thoughtful," Denbow said.
Reached at home Monday evening, Wichman said he had regrets.
"I used strong language in a private communication that I would certainly not have used if this communication would have gone public," he said.
But he stressed the importance of free speech.
"I believe very strongly in free speech and free expression. It is one of the building blocks of this great republic in which we live. And any attempts to abridge or diminish it are serious matters."
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations also is urging the university to take "appropriate disciplinary" action, saying the e-mail creates a hostile learning environment for students.
I hope Wichman or someone there will point out that the true nature of CAIR.
"It was upsetting, yet sad" that a tenured professor could make such comments, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the council. "It's scary when you think about the power that this gentleman has" as a professor.
Walid said that MSU has the academic and moral obligation to publicly denounce the e-mail, conduct a formal investigation and have sensitivity training on how to deal with Muslims on campus.
The university should "strongly and publicly disassociate themselves from the statement," Walid said.
Azeez said education is most important.
"There's a bigger problem here of racism and discrimination at Michigan State University. Faculty training and sensitivity training are very important to help prevent future incidents like this from occurring," he said.
I would like Walid and Azeez to explain what in Wichman's statement was false. The worst part of it is his reference to "you dissatisfied, agressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems." But CAIR and the Muslims at MSU must recognize that there are Muslims in the world -- and not a few -- who are behaving with aggression and brutality. And the slave trade exists today only in certain Muslim countries. They should be devoting their efforts to eradicating these evils from the umma, not to protesting cartoons and the unfortunate Professor Wichman.