University of Florida is the latest battleground in the war between free speech and “tolerance.” In a campus-wide email Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, asked students to apologize for putting up fliers on campus promoting a screening of the documentary “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The fliers read: “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.”
On liberal U.S. campuses, those who challenge Catholicism are applauded as rebels, and critics of Israel are revered as brave dissenters who expose some dangerous truth. Yet criticism of an ideology that publicly advertises its homicidal aims as a point of pride elicits accusations of bigotry.
From Patricia Telles-Irvin’s email:
At the University of Florida we have embraced a set of values, one of which is diversity. Diversity is not just about having representation from various cultures on campus. It also is having each member contribute to an inclusive and safe environment and collectively enhancing our understanding and appreciation of the richness brought by such differences.
“Diversity” is exactly what suffers when patronizing bureaucrats lump non-fundamentalist Muslims together with the proponents of Jihad, as Telles-Irvin’s response implicitly does. One only need look at Iraq’s emerging socio-political dynamic to note the majority of Muslims waste no tears on the identification and destruction of their radical co-religionists. That Telles-Irvin thinks she needs to protect all Muslims from criticism of jihadists indicates the shallowness of her version of diversity.
State Attorney General Bill McCollum has written a letter accusing Telles-Irvin of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students,” and is so far unsatisfied by the school’s efforts to clarify its position.