Let Lisa Daftari Speak at Rutgers
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On October 11, journalist Lisa Daftari's speech at Rutgers was cancelled due to an intellectually dishonest petition that claimed she was Islamophobic. We believe that the University's decision to cancel her talk was cowardly and betrays the true purpose of university: to expose students to new ideas and knowledge.
We recognize that the original petition against Daftari was filled with willfully-misinterpreted falsehoods. In a Heritage Foundation speech, Daftari accurately stated that ISIS members unfortunately base their beliefs off of a literal interpretation of the Quran. She also described the process of how women in Muslim communities with ISIS soldiers are turned into "Jihadi wives." These statements are factual and not Islamophobic.
The fact that Daftari's speech would have been financially sponsored by the University should not have been an issue to the petitioners. President Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, and Vice President Joe Biden have all spoken at Rutgers over the past three years with tuition money. In fact, Snooki from "Jersey Shore" was paid $30,000 to speak at Rutgers several years ago. Lisa Daftari is a recognized foreign policy expert who has spoken at the UN on pressing international issues - her intellect, accomplishments, and Rutgers alumna status make her a worthy speaker. Moreover, the money came from a privately-endowed lecture fund. The money was NOT coming from students.
If students have a problem with what Daftari has said, they should have registered to go to her event instead of signing a dishonest petition. We must navigate difficult political conversations by being willing to debate with each other. We become more intelligent and rational people when we learn from different perspectives. Daftari's speech would have exposed students to a new perspective. Instead, Rutgers students chose to abandon the spirit of free speech.
Rutgers students have shown their own bigotry by calling Daftari, an Iranian-American woman, a "cockroach" and "bitch" instead of engaging with her ideas. It is disgraceful that Rutgers bureaucrats have cancelled her event. We believe that Daftari should speak on campus.
Young Americans for Liberty - Rutgers University
Rutgers University College Republicans
Young Americans for Freedom - Rutgers University
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