Opinion

Muslim students protest screening of ‘American Sniper’ on campus

A small group of Muslim students at the University of Missouri is protesting the on-campus screening of the popular war film “American Sniper.

Student activist Farah El-Jayyous, who is leading the protest, maintained in a letter to the editor in the university’s student newspaper, The Maneater, that she will not feel “safe” if the film is shown as scheduled, April 17 and 18.

Source: New York Post

She also wants “an official, public apology and explanation be issued” by those who approved the film’s campus release. She wrote:

I do not feel safe on this campus and for good reason. The fact that this film is being shown, the fact that I have to explain why this film is not only problematic but harmful makes me feel even more unsafe. Showing this film will create an even more hostile environment for me and other Arab, Muslim, South Asian and people of color on this campus.

I am requesting that this film not be shown and that it either be replaced with a film that does not glorify violence or support existing systems of domination and oppression, or an event addressing “American Sniper” and similar films and media texts using a critical lens. This film is blatant racist, colonialist propaganda that should not be shown under any circumstances and especially not endorsed by a branch of student government that purports to represent me and have my best interests in mind.

Lastly, I would like to clarify that this is not an attempt at censorship but an affirmation of my right to feel safe in my body and identity wherever I may be, including this campus. Freedom of speech should not come at the expense of anyone’s humanity and right to be viewed, talked about and treated with basic respect and dignity.

I am asking that this film not be shown and that an official, public apology and explanation be issued by all parties involved in approving the screening of ‘American Sniper’ on Mizzou’s campus.

An apology for what? Because the overwhelming number of Mizzou’s students wanted to see what CNN Money ranked as the No. 1 war movie of all time by box office receipts?

And here’s an explanation: The university is situated in Columbia, Mo. — the middle of America’s heartland — where patriotism still isn’t a dirty word.

If it’s political correctness El-Jayyous seeks, I suggest San Francisco or New York City.

Nonetheless, Missouri’s student government took El-Jayyous’s rantings seriously enough to schedule a special meeting.

The College Fix reported that “on Friday, the students association finally weighed in, saying the movie will be shown as originally planned on April 17 and 18 – but promised to have some sort of event to help ‘cultivate an inclusive campus climate.’”

Whatever that means.

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