Over the past 10 years I have read the Collegian faithfully and, during most academic years, I am proud to say I work (and have studied) at a university that produces such an informative paper with such thoughtful editorials. Some years, of course, are better than others. This year's publication has been a vast improvement over last year's, with the exception of Ryan Chapman's editorials. I'll return to that page once he graduates or goes off to work for the Republican National Committee or Pat Robertson.
I had to begin this way because this is my first e-mail to you on any subject and I didn't want it to be completely negative. I can't tell you how disappointed I was in the Collegian's lack of reporting and distorted image of Sheik Ammar's educational presentation Thursday in room 230 of the Lory Student Center. Ammar was intelligent, eloquent, positive, reflective, honest and very impressive. I did not detect ANY anger in him or in his presentation style, as was the impression given on the front page of Friday's paper. There was no story. Did anyone attend? Someone took a very large picture of his face and plastered it on the front page with only a caption that was probably taken from the posters in the LSC. It was the only picture on the front page that did not have a story associated with it. It was a disgraceful misrepresentation, which I'm sure was unintentional, yet irresponsible.
Three of us attended in hopes of becoming more educated about the role of Islam in the political issues of today and the attitudes of Muslims about what is going on in the world. We were not disappointed. We were convinced that, as we'd hoped, Muslims are no different than anyone else. The majority do NOT condone violence and simply want to live their lives in peace and have equal opportunity. The violence is being committed by the politically and economically disenfranchised, a fact most educated people understand.
This was precisely the kind of discussion that needs to take place in order to bring people together – rather than dividing them further. It should have been attended and reported on in a fair and objective manner, if it had been, the Collegian could have been proud to be a tool that facilitates understanding, compassion and tolerance. The Muslim Student Organization deserves an apology from the Collegian in my opinion.
State classified employee