There were two events featuring speakers on the campus of the University of Central Missouri this evening. One, sponsored by the UCM College Republicans, featured Allen West, a former member of Congress (one term) and semi-famous or semi-notorious (take your pick) right wingnut. We didn’t attend that event, mostly because we weren’t particularly interested in what he had to say and partly because we couldn’t be in two places at once.
The other event featured Dr. Moussa Elbayoumy, Board Chair for the Kansas Chapter of CAIR, the Council on American–Islamic Relations. He spoke for over an hour before a standing room only crowd of approximately 200 individuals which included students and community members. His speech was sponsored by the Muslim Students’ Association, the Saudi Students’ Club, and the UCM Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity.
We have no idea how many people showed up to hear Allen West (r) speak.
A portion of Dr. Moussa Elbayoumy’s remarks:
Dr. Moussa Elbayoumy: [….] That’s how our community should respond. The biggest concern we have right now with this wave we have over the last two years in the political campaign is not necessarily what one person says, but the fact that this hate that we would have never accepted to be in the media – in the newspaper, or on TV, or on the radio. There was always an undercurrent or a stream of a few individuals that have this hate in their heart, that have this bigotry that was never allowed to come to the surface. But now, since it’s elected officials doing it, candidates for elections doing it, it became mainstream. It became acceptable to say that you hate Muslims, or that they have no place here, we’re going to ban them, and they have no rights, and all the stuff, craziness that we hear now.
The problem here is if we allow it then it’s going to prevail. And it will take all of us to stand up together and say, No, not in my town, not in my university, not in my school, not in my work place. Imagine, take what’s being said about Muslims and instead of the word Muslim, put Jewish, or put African American, or put whatever you want and see what the reaction of the community will be. The KKK is still a legal organization in the U.S. until now. And they can get up and stand and talk about African Americans and slaves and say whatever they want. That’s not illegal. But it’s still, it’s socially unacceptable and ethically unacceptable. And because people refuse it no one dares to say it. And if anyone says it they suffer the consequences immediately whether they have to apologize or they have to resign from their job or whatever it is. I wonder why do we as a society allow that to be different in the case of a different group of people. And it’s going to take all of us to stand up and say, no.
One of the speakers at Dr. [William] Corporon’s and Reat’s [Underwood] funeral said something that stuck in my mind until now. He said, just like a bully usually tries to pick on people perceived to be weak. Bullies, in general, are cowards. And they only pick on someone that they think is weaker than them, that can’t respond. But it will only take somebody, when they see someone bullying another person in the locker room, in their school, to step in and say, you may think that you’re stronger than him, but in order to get to him you have to go through me and I’m not going to let you.
And this takes all of us, when we see something like that, to step in and say, I’m not gonna let you practice your hate against my neighbor or my classmate or my coworker. To get to them you have to go through me.
That’s how we fight hate with love. Your love for your neighbor, your classmate, and your coworker is the only antidote that will stop hate from hurting anybody else. [….]
After the presentation by Dr. Elbayoumy the audience adjourned to the lobby to share a meal:
Before the two events started Young America’s Foundation, apparently the right wingnut welfare organization funding Allen West’s appearance at UCM, posted a whiney release/statement on their web site [no link, you can easily find it via an Internet search] complaining about CAIR, etc.
A hate group, the First Amendment, and a funeral in a small town (November 23, 2010)