We, the members of Siren Magazine, feel called to express our support for UNC’s Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine.
We fully support the right to free speech and as such, we are using ours to condemn the actions of UNC’s College Republicans. The Republican party speaks on a myriad of issues, including the economy, health care, and education. They could have brought a speaker on any of these issues. We would still likely disagree with them, but they would not vilify a peaceful community which is mourning a deep traumatic loss. They had many options when choosing a speaker to bring to campus, and yet they chose David Horowitz, a racist Islamophobe. This kind of ideology is inextricably connected to violence against Muslim and Arab communities—by promoting such a speaker, UNC College Republicans are perpetuating hate speech.
UNC College Republicans should own the fact that they brought a speaker to campus who accused MSA and SJP of having ties to terrorist groups, just months after three Muslim students were killed in what we, the staff of Siren, believe to be a hate crime. They vilified a community in mourning. It is also worth noting that accusing students of being linked to terrorist groups is no small accusation—it can have lasting effects on those students’ lives and careers.
Frank Pray, chairperson of College Republicans, asserted that MSA and SJP need to be “reformed” which is a particularly condescending and insulting statement.
Students have launched the hashtag #NotSafeUNC to speak up about the ways in which students of all identities are made to feel unsafe on our campus. We encourage all of our readers to use the tag and visit their Tumblr.
We encourage all of our readers to join us and stand in solidarity with Muslim and Arab communities at UNC and beyond.