"Islam Sucks," Fisher Says!
Arab-American leaders upset with WSU newspaper article
28 February 2002
DETROIT -- Arab-American leaders are demanding an apology from Wayne State University for a column published in the campus newspaper under the headline "Islam Sucks."
In an opinion column published in Tuesday's South End, student writer Joe Fisher said Islam "presents a danger to the welfare of many."
Fisher writes that the secular public school system in America can "deprogram the children of Muslim immigrants and help them adopt more productive values."
Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn, got a copy of the article Wednesday. He immediately faxed a letter to Wayne State President Irvin Reid, and encouraged supporters of the anti-discrimination committee to write letters to the South End.
"(The column) is full of hatred," Hamad said. "I have no problem with the writer not being a fan of Islam or seeing a problem with our religion. That's something he's entitled to. But that does not give him the right to demean our religion."
Wayne State officials said they do not condone the article. They've already met with the South End staff and the university's Arab-American student group.
An apology could be forthcoming, said Charles Brown, vice-president of student development and campus life.
"This is a red eye for Wayne," Brown said. "The article is not a reflection of what the majority of our faculty feels toward Arab Americans. We believe strongly in diversity."
This is not the first campus incident involving charges of bias against Arabs and Muslims.
Soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Arab schools and community centers received bomb threats in Dearborn. On Sept. 13, a philosophy instructor at Henry Ford Community College and a Arab-American student had a heated argument over the book, Why I'm Not a Muslim. The student claimed instructor John Azar, who is Lebanese, forced him out of the room. Azar was charged with assault and battery and is scheduled for a hearing Friday.
Ismael Ahmed, executive director of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, said the South End article "outrages me, but it doesn't surprise me."
"There's a million dollar's worth of negative images out there," he said. "They are damaging and they hurt people."