Is that fear I smell?

03.09.04

Writer and journalist Irshad Manji gave a talk at McGill University last week, where she reportedly issued a challenge to the Concordia Muslim Students Association to join with Concordia Hillel in inviting her to speak there. MSA promptly turned her down:

“I challenge the Muslims and Arabs at Concordia to give proof of their love of democracy by inviting me to come speak and creating an open forum for debate and discussion,” said the 35-year-old Manji, who’s been labelled by The New York Times as “Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.”

When reached for a comment, the president of Concordia’s MSA, Ahmad Hussain, promptly declined Manji’s request for an invitation. “I don’t know why she didn’t extend the same invitation to MSA at McGill. It’s not fair and very provocative. She didn’t wait for the MSA.”

Hussain continued: “I think she’s angry with her experience with Islam. She’s a self-proclaimed scholar of the Koran and she doesn’t even read Arabic. Honestly, I think she’s looking for publicity. She’s quick and rash to judge and she’s not qualified. Her message is based on little more than rhetoric and personal anecdotes laden with speculations and generalizations. I’ve read many academics and journalists have dismissed her simply because the content of her message is unscholarly and unfounded as I’ve mentioned before. I think the only people who sponsor her speeches and hail her as “refreshing”, are those who already agree with her.”

Sounds like a lot of excuses to me. Could it be that MSA is afraid of Manji’s message?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Puck 03.09.04 at 9:37 PM

Maybe they should invite Rachel Corrie. Its too bad she died accidentally.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,916299,00.html

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2 Otter 03.10.04 at 6:53 PM

I’m guessing that Ahmad Hussain and I don’t see eye to eye on most topics — but my impression of Manji is pretty close to his.

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3 joe 03.12.04 at 5:44 PM

Right, and Hillel would co-sponsor a Finkelstein talk, right?

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4 Puck 03.12.04 at 6:00 PM

Ultimately, it is just a PR battle for Canadian opinions so both sides would be silly to waste money on sponsoring opposing views.

I was just disappointed how many lives get eaten up by these PR machines for the just cause.

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