Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Islamist Intolerance at American Universities

Something that bodes ill for the future has just occured on the University of California's campus at Irvine. A group of Muslim students, several dozen in number, disrupted a talk by Michael Oren, the historian who is also the present Israeli ambassador in Washington. They had prepared and coordinated tactics for the occasion. The hall was quite large, and they had packed it. Interrupting Ambassador Oren, one of them would rise to shout an insult, whereupon the guards would lead him out of the hall, and another would stand up to shout - and so on and on until sustained discourse was impossible. Appeals from the university authorities and Ambassador Oren had no effect at all. After a number of individual ejections, those who were still in their seats got up to leave together. The shrill shrieks of the female students injected a note of hysteria into the commotion.

Such contempt for free speech in a university is intolerable. The university has to defend its principles, and discipline those who have no respect for them. If they had their way, these Muslim students would reduce intellectual standards to those of campuses in Tehran or Riyadh. But there is a yet more ominous omen. These students are privileged, members of families able either to pay the fees to attend or who know the procedures for obtaining scholarships and grants. But they are here not to learn but to find confirmation of what they have already been taught about non-Muslims. The more education they obtain, the greater their bigotry. The more they experience freedom in the West, the more determined they are to abuse it. What that event at Irvine exposes is the growth of Islamism down the generations.

(David Pryce-Jones, a weekend post from his blog at NRO)