In Defense of the Constitution
Analysis and Commentary
25, 2004 - College Students
College Students Win
Riad Saloojee, The executive director of CAIR-CAN (Council
on American Islamic Relations,
Soloojee had been invited by the Rensselaer College MSA
(Muslim Students Association) to speak on February 27th and 28th
as part of “Islam Awareness Week.”
Students of the Rensselaer
were key players in whipping up opposition to the speech once they learned
of the CAIR connection.
On Thursday, February 20th, the college
Republicans discovered that the Rensselaer Muslim Student Association
had invited a representative of CAIR
to speak as part of "Islam Awareness Week". The two lectures were to
be held at 6pm, Feb. 27th, and 1pm, Feb 28th.
The Rensselaer Republicans had already been looking into CAIR’s involvement with the campus. The students met and voted on a course of action, a large protest designed to point out CAIR’s activities. Within 48 hours, they had coordinated with College Republican chapters across the Capital district and had received pledges of support from numerous campuses. To keep the protest nonpartisan, they attempted to enlist the support of the college Democrats, without result.
The college Republicans were
contacted by two officers of the MSA who were interested in hearing their
arguments against CAIR. From sources within the
MSA, they knew that some members of the MSA were having misgivings about
CAIR and didn’t want Soloojee on campus. A meeting was held on 23 February, just 96 hours before
the start of the protest.
During the special meeting, the MSA representative’s expressed surprise at the accusations made against CAIR by the Republicans. The MSA officers asked for time to do their own investigation of CAIR and called for a cancellation of the planned protest in exchange for a “forum” at a later date. The Republicans stood firm however, and gave the MSA 24 hours to either cancel the CAIR speaker or be faced with a large protest.
The MSA officers were not happy with the 24 hour ultimatum,
but were reminded that the Republicans were blindsided by the last minute
scheduling of Soloojee and had had little time
to react to the controversial speaker.
The end result? The MSA sent the Republicans an e-mail saying that Soloojee would not be attending the event “due to some personal reasons.”
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