So this is what tolerance looks like! On Saturday students at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee conducted a brief but noisy protest against an op-ed critical of radical Islam. Ironic chants including “Vanderbilt united will never be divided!” and “To reach peace, teach peace!” could be heard ringing up from the campus.
The target of the protest was an article in the Tennessean and its author, the university’s own Carol Swain, who teaches law. Her op-ed began:
What would it take to make us admit we were wrong about Islam? What horrendous attack would finally convince us that Islam is not like other religions in the United States, that it poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored better than it has been under the Obama administration?
Granted, the questions are provocative, as is the overly broad assertion that “Islam is a dangerous set of beliefs totally incompatible with Western beliefs concerning freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.” But the demonstration, organized by Muslim student Farishtay Yamin, had the paradoxical effect of lending credence to Swain’s views by seeking to silence her.
As the College Fix reports, Dean of Students Mark Bandas emailed the student body to reiterate that his “top priority” was “ensuring that this campus is welcoming to, and supportive of, all of our students,” but also urged “students to use their freedom of expression to challenge ‘polarizing speech’ and ‘engage in dialogue with … those with whom you disagree.'”
Arguably, the most telling indicator of how misguided the entire enterprise was is this quote from Yamin:
What I’m really trying to show her is that she can’t continue to say these kinds of things on a campus that’s so liberal and diverse and tolerant. [Emphasis added]
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