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During ‘American Sniper’ imbroglio, students note racism, threats

First, the University of Michigan canceled a showing of the top-earning film of 2014, American Sniper, after some students complained it is “anti-Muslim.”

Then, UM reversed course and ended up showing the film, calling its initial decision “a mistake.”

Yesterday, the screening was packed and the film received applause as the final credits rolled … even as the police and a “bias response team” stood by.

But some Muslim students remain unhappy, as they claim that leading up to the viewing of Sniper  they were the target of racist remarks and threats:

A Tumblr created by a University student has compiled messages and Facebook comments by those both outside and within the University community targeting Muslim and Arab students on campus. The posts show redacted versions of messages the University’s Muslim Students’ Association and individual students have received messages containing racist tropes, insults to Islam and suggestions for these students leave the United States.

LSA senior Saher Rathur, president of the Muslim Students’ Association, said her experience on campus this week has been “awful.”

“The amount of hateful messages we have received just since Wednesday night is ridiculous and so disheartening,” Rathur said. “It was so hard to pull myself together and sit in class and pay attention because I was constantly thinking of the intense hate that exists for people like myself who identify as Muslim.”

The messages range from non-specific and violent — inviting students to kill themselves or “eat shit” — and racist. The latter category’s messages and comments include a piece of bacon on the Quran, insinuations that students are involved in terrorism and should stop “blowing themselves up” or should be put on a watchlist.

The MSA’s Rathur added that “Ideally, I would like to think that Muslim, MENA and South Asian students have a place in this campus. But after this week and the University’s slow response to our concerns, it forces me to question whether there is any safe space on this campus for us.”

Read the full Michigan Daily story.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.