When Muslims can dictate what movies are shown on a university campus in South Dakota, then it’s clear that the threat of Islam and sharia is far greater than most Americans imagine. And the school, without notice, did just that – submitted to the sharia demands once already – and canceled a scheduled viewing. via Film provokes censorship, tolerance debate at USD. h/t BNI
A professor at the University of South Dakota is refusing calls to cancel the screening of a controversial documentary that depicts brutality against Muslim women.
The “Honor Diaries” is scheduled to be screened at the university’s annual women and gender conference on April 10. But another screening of the film that was supposed to take place Sunday didn’t happen for reasons unknown, and there is pressure from some staff and faculty members to cancel next month’s showing.
Miglena Sternadori, a professor of media and journalism and the women and gender studies coordinator, is refusing to bow to that pressure, saying the film depicts issues that are relevant to the women and gender conference.
“It’s just the wrong thing to do to censor a movie,” she said.
The women and gender conference, which started in the mid-1980s, has been no stranger to controversy, said Cindy Struckman-Johnson, a professor of psychology since 1980 and an original founder of the conference. Topics have included abortion, gay and lesbian issues long before they were mainstream subjects, and other hot-button topics.
But Struckman-Johnson said she’s never seen this amount of pressure being exerted by students, staff and other faculty members to force Sternadori to cancel the film.
“I’m just absolutely stunned,” Struckman-Johnson said. “I just couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that a chair of a committee would be literally bullied. They kept saying, ‘It’s not censorship,’ and we kept saying, ‘Yes it is.'”
The film features women activists — including Muslims — who work in a culture that condones the honor killings of women, female genital mutilation, forced marriages of young girls and other abuses of women. Released in 2013, “Honor Diaries” has been praised for bringing attention to the plight of women in Middle East cultures. It’s also been criticized as anti-Muslim propaganda.
A chief critic of the film has been the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Spokesman Ibrahim Hooper called the film “Islamaphobic,” saying the creators behind “Honor Diaries” are well known “anti-Muslim bigots.”
“We’re talking the worst form of anti-Muslim bigotry couched in terms of a legitimate issue,” he said.
The issue of abuse of women should be discussed in college forums, Hooper said. But not with the film as a part of that dialogue.
“You don’t have to help promote the agenda of Islam haters,” he said. “That’s what you do when you promote this film.”
The film has inspired similar controversies on college campuses across the country.
At USD, the controversy started with a complaint from Musheera AnisAbdellatif, a professor in the health sciences department, Sternadori said. AnisAbdellatif, who did not respond to an interview request, wrote in an email that the film would go against USD’s desire for “inclusive excellence.”
Originally, a student group known as the Association for Advancement of Women’s Rights agreed to sponsor the film. But the group later withdrew its support. Carol Leibiger, the group’s faculty adviser, deferred comment to Emily Grode, the AAWR’s student leader. Grode did not respond to an email.
Two others involved in the issue also did not respond to interview requests: History professor Sara Lampert and Jesus Trevino, USD’s vice president for diversity.
Sternadori said she disagrees with assessments that the film is anti-Muslim. She notes that other Muslim groups support the film and that Muslims helped in its creation. And while she disagrees with censorship, she does agree that universities should not promote activities or groups that are racist or demean minorities.
“I would absolutely be sensitive to that,” she said. “I feel very strongly about not trampling on minorities of any kind.”
But even as Sternadori stands firm about showing the film at next month’s conference, there are questions about why it suddenly disappeared from a scheduled showing at the Muenster University Center on Sunday. Struckman-Johnson tried to attend, only to learn that it was canceled. She called it “stealth repression.”
“It silently disappeared, which is wrong,” she said.
Asked about Sunday’s cancelation, Lindsay Sparks, USD’s director of transitions and student programming said: “We weren’t best prepared to show it and facilitate conversation and things like that.” She then deferred comment to Trevino.
Stealth jihad. Creeping sharia. Islamization. Call it what you will.
Terror-named CAIR previously succeeded in shutting the film down in the occupied territory of Dearbornistan. Watch the trailer below:
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