story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical
engineering professor named Indrek
Wichman (at right).
Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student's Association.
The e-mail was in response to the students' protest of the Danish
cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist.
The group had complained the cartoons were "hate speech."
Enter Professor Wichman. In his e-mail, he said the following:
Dear Moslem Association:
of the Jihad-inspiring cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed
As a professor of Mechanical engineering here at MSU I intend
to protest your protest.
I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like
beheadings of civilians,
cowardly attacks on public buildings, suicide murders, murders
of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian
churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in
Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes
of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in
your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and
the rioting and looting in Paris, France.
This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic,
and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied,
aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to
be very aware of this as you proceed with your infantile "protests."
If you do not like the values of the West -- see the 1st Amendment
-- you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of
you choose that option. Please return to your ancestral homelands
and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.
I. S. Wichman
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
The Michigan State University Statesman, replied with this
Poor choice, professor
MSU professor sends student religious organization
offensive letter, tells Muslims to get out of U.S.; bad move
on his part
on you, Indrek Wichman.
Come on, you didn't really send an offensive e-mail to a prominent
student organization with the notion that it was going to be
kept private did you?
Well, you're saying you did, but that was a pretty irresponsible
move for an MSU professor.
The Muslim Students' Association received an e-mail Feb. 28
sent from your university account in which you blatantly verbally
attacked the organization and basically told them if they don't
like Western ways, to leave the United States.
That's quite a thing to say.
But as disturbing as that might be, what is arguably worse
is the e-mail The State News received from you in which you
appear to have decided maybe you should have actually thought
this one through before typing out a ranting, accusatory e-mail.
You're singing a different tune stating, "A communication
that I thought was private was subsequently made public, much
to my chagrin. That is troubling, and I regret this entire incident."
estimate Muqtada al-Sadr commands the loyalty of some 3
million to 5 million Shiites across the country; a following
that has swelled with each confrontation with the United
States. Many of his supporters live in Sadr City, a vast
Baghdad slum of 2 million previously called Saddam City
and renamed for the senior Sadr after Saddam's fall. Sadr
also has strong support in Najaf, the holy city where the
cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed, Ali ibn Abi
Talib, is buried.
he lacks the religious education required under Shia law
to be a cleric, he has set himself up as a major force in
the country's Shiite community by radical rhetoric and control
of the al-Mahdi militia.
If you're going to have the audacity to label a whole group
of people, you better at least be able to back up your claims
if need be.
But instead you hid behind regret.
There's no denying that you have the right to harbor the idiotic
opinion about Muslims that you do, but using your MSU e-mail
account and introducing yourself as a professor of mechanical
engineering in the first sentence is unfairly looping the university
in with your claims.
Although you're intolerant, apparently you're lucky too. Even
if most people don't agree with your statements, the university
can't and shouldn't punish you for exercising your freedom of
Until your words become harassment, meaning relentless and
widespread actions, they don't fall under the university's antidiscrimination
But what MSU, the Muslim Students' Association and other members
of the community who oppose your hateful message need to do
The only way to contradict a perspective as disagreeable as
yours is to talk out against it with positive speech.
Muslim students are welcome at MSU and in East Lansing and
they deserve to feel comfortable both on and off campus.
Your e-mail is another specific incident which reaffirms that
MSU should insist upon diversity and sensitivity training, not
only for students, but throughout the entire university.
In fact, they should probably start with you.
MSU STATESMAN EDITORIAL BOARD