University of New Mexico Occupiers’ War on Free Speech

Nonie Darwish is the author of The Devil We Don’t Know; The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East and President of FormerMuslimsUnited.org.


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The occupiers did everything to intimidate my sponsors to dis-invite me, then protested outside the hall, and when that did not work, they screamed and yelled to silence me in the middle of my lecture. Pro-Israel advocates and critics of Islam and Sharia practically no longer exist on US college campuses, which only allow anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-American activities throughout the school year.

After the incident, the protesters claimed that I said that Islam is violent, when that was not the topic I discussed, nor did I make statements to that effect. I specifically started my speech by saying: “I want to emphasize that I am not hear to talk about people, groups, or to offend good and peace-loving Muslims. I am here to speak about an ideology and a legal system that is the official law in about 54 Muslim countries. I think we can all agree that in America, no ideology, secular or religious, is beyond questioning. The day America shies from freedom of speech is the day freedom ends for everyone. Most people, including myself, don’t want or care to criticize any religion, let alone the religion I was born in, in the sense that it is a personal relationship with God. But, if religion expands itself to become a one party totalitarian State with an elaborate legal system to control every aspect of the life, and that has a military institution called jihad, which violates other nations, then that religion is no longer a private matter or immune to criticism. By assuming the role of government, religion has opened itself to criticism.”

The “occupiers” accomplished their loud and dramatic confrontation, then they had the audacity to file a police report for assault by the older gentlemen, but no one has been charged so far. The local Eyewitness News KOB 4 gave a biased report that students were attacked on the campus of UNM, and a Muslim student complained she was getting a death threat. However, other media outlets were more careful in reporting the true story when public opinion quickly turned against the “occupiers.”

If the “occupiers” were truly serious about challenging my opinion, they could have waited for the Q and A after my presentation and proved me wrong. Welcome to the West Bank and Gaza culture on our university campuses.

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  • SHmuel HaLevi

    We lived and worked in Albuquerque for several years and already then in the late80's and early 90's Arafat's "delegates" and islamics of all tints prowled all halls, from UNM to the Rotary.
    Nonie Darwish showed remarkable self resptraint and inner quality in the midst of that disgrace.
    Our slaute to ther from Eretz Israel

  • Rocky Mountain

    About four years ago I took a road trip with my then 12-year old son and I wanted him to see UNM so he could think about it as a possible place for his future college education. I'm sure you can get an education there if you can get past the amazing amount of PC stuff that was everywhere mostly dedicated to La Raza types of things. I quickly rejected the idea of him going there and, as it turns out, he wasn't interested anyway.

  • vlondo

    Nonie has lots of integrity – it shines through her words. l salute her from Australia!

  • ADM

    “Mic check, Nonie Darwish speaks against Socialist supported Islamist Apartheid,”
    “Genocide at the hands of al qada, taliban, hamass, hezbullah,”
    “Islam is not a religion of Peace”
    “Islamic Republic of Iran is the violent nation,”
    “The Arab Spring is here”

    • SpiritOf1683

      And you belong in Pakistan.

  • Steve Chavez

    I was there at the UNM event. For years now, I have reported here at FPM the activities at our university beginning with NM Peace Council fronts in the 80's whose leader was also the head of the NM Marxist Educators for Socialist Action, (now head of NM Democrat Socialists), which were affiliates of the U.S. Peace Council run by the Communist Party USA. The World Peace Council was RUN BY THE SOVIET KGB. These groups recruited students to go on Construction Brigades to Nicaragua "to help the people" but when Ortega lost the election, they left, which they were actually there to "help an ideology" which was COMMUNISM. STUDENTS FROM EVERY MAJOR UNIVERSITY WERE RECRUITED INCLUDING BARACK OBAMA WHILE HE WAS AT COLUMBIA. In a very rare 1983 SUNDIAL (GOOGLE), if not only, article he wrote, was all on CPUSA fronts and apologists for the Soviet Union. Obama admitted seeking out Marxist professors and this article proves he also sought out the most radical students.

    The "Seeds Were Planted" by the KGB and our CPUSA and the fruit showed itself during NONIE DARWISH'S speech. I arrived early and looked for any type of disturbance possibility and soon they came and they were handing out fliers for their future event whose sponsors were Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Daughter's of Eve with the title "Stop the Hatred Stop Islamobhobia." Many in the lobby took the flier thinking it was for Nonie's event but were surprised and shocked that it wasn't. I went up to the red-head and another man and asked if I could hand out fliers before their event and they said I could but then I asked if they were going to disrupt the meeting and they said they weren't. After seeing disgusted faces from those who opened the flyer, I went up to them again and told them the best way to get their point across was to think of at least three questions to try to trap her with the first two agreeing with her and then the last "the knockout blow." THAT'S WHAT I DO AND I'M HATED FOR IT AND VERY WELL KNOWN since I consider myself an expert on these fronts and their tactics. I was surprised also at the number of senior citizens at the event.

  • theleastthreat

    I wish her a long, healthy, productive and fearless life.

  • Ken

    Typical uber-Lefty tactics. If your message is notlock-step with theirs, you must be marginalized, shouted-down and bullied!! If Obama gets 4 more years, you can bet that these tactics will increase a thousand fold!!

  • Steve Chavez

    Part Two: (Part One needs approval) Earlier that afternoon, I noticed a table with a Che poster and three students manning it. I went up and the fliers were for the group "Party for Socialism and Liberation" which also had ads for meetings posted for earlier events at the Peace and Justice Center where they are based. CPUSA and ANSWER have meetings there but they are not based there. I challenged on many points and they said that murder and killing justified the end result since that was what revolution was. TWO OF THOSE STUDENTS WERE IN NONIE'S PROTEST so when I saw them, I remembered those words and my mind and imagination was running. I didn't know too much about Nonie before the event but had heard of her, who I thought was a male since I only read her articles. Then she said she was under death threats during her speech. I thought "WHO ARE THESE STUDENTS AND ON THEIR FLYER IT'S ALL ABOUT PALESTINE AND ONE OF THE SPONSORS WAS THE MUSLIM STUDENT ASSOCIATION." I WAS IN FEAR FOR HER and I was glad I was in the front row. I kept looking at the side doors and occasionally behind me as I saw more and more students gathering. I did think that they should really be learning something as I did too when I went to COMMUNIST FRONT MEETINGS. Luckily they waited to hear some good parts of her speech and JUST MAYBE ONE OR MORE OF THEM WOULD CHANGE THEIR MIND.

  • DeShawn

    End the illegal Arab occupation of Jewish lands in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon!

    • SpiritOf1683

      So they do give you access to a laptop in your prison cell after all. And whty werwe you given your Jewish-invented vaccines, eh slave?

  • diann

    I admire the courage of Nonie Darwish – that she continues to speak out about what is damaging our culture – and she does so with grace and dignity.

  • Steve Chavez

    Funny that two of the girls, with one saying on local news, that she has been receiving death threats and the other on the news saying that she fears, and feared, for her life and asked for police to escort her to her car, NONIE DARWISH, has been getting real death threats, and according to the video, a FATWA, which would scare any of us BUT THERE SHE WAS ON AN OPEN STAGE, no security, and brave enough to stand up and educate all of us on the dangers of this "peaceful religion."

    Please watch the video and her passion. This incident by an organized mob had to be embarrassing for her. If you notice, she even tried to continue while they were shouting. She was surprised but I can only guess that she was also in fear!

    • falco

      As a college educated man and a minority, I believe if I spoke my mind about the lies and tactics of jihadist I would be threatened and killed by any wannabe Extremist Islamic. I don't know but i really believe that our leaders have been blinded and allowed the wolf into the sheep pin.

  • kafir4life

    It's been said before. If you want to drive an islamist (or liberal) insane, confront them with facts, and don't back down. Judging from their behavior, they've been confronted with facts, and other inconvenient truths.

  • MacDaddy31

    This type of conduct that repeatedly occurs by Muslim student organizations and other Muslim groups in this country is dishonorable, disingenuous and very ugly. Perhaps that should be the focus. Those young minds that do not know the full, true story of what is going on over there and just want to get involved in something, because that is what young people want to do, should be made to focus mainly on the behavior. It is hard to always cut through the lies, half-truths, and other obfuscations conveyed by these groups, so the better way to convince youths is to focus on how they behave. Ask "can you really believe or want to mimic people like this?"

  • Steve Chavez

    UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO RULES IN PATHFINDER

    2.1 Subject: FREE EXPRESSION AND ADVOCACY 
    All members of the University community. The exercise of the freedom to dissent, however, must be balanced with the rights of others, respect for others, the educational process, and other legitimate University activities and interests. 
    ****The Regents recognize and approve the right of free speech and honest expression of opinion on any subject by any member of the University community, subject only to reasonable viewpoint-neutral rules. Those who speak or act shall not do so in the name of the University or any of its organizations unless there has been specific authorization to do so. The President of the University, as its Chief Executive Officer, is authorized by the Board of Regents to be the primary spokesperson for the University. The President of the Board of Regents is authorized to speak officially on behalf of the Board.

    • Steve Chavez

      4.2 Subject: STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT 
      Adopted: September 12, 1996—-Applicability——*This policy applies to all full-time and part-time students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies at the University. 
      ***POLICY—-The University will take disciplinary action against students for conduct which adversely affects the University’s educational function, disrupts community living on campus, interferes with the rights of others to pursue their education, conduct their University duties and responsibilities, or participate in University activities, when the offensive conduct occurs on University premises or at University-sponsored events, or when an offense which occurs off campus is such that failure to take disciplinary action is likely to interfere with the educational process or the orderly operation of the University, or endanger the health, safety or welfare of the University community.

      • Steve Chavez

        2.2 Subject: SPEAKERS FROM OFF CAMPUS 
        Adopted: September 12, 1996—-Applicability—This policy applies to all speakers at the University who are not affiliated with the University of New Mexico, whether or not sponsored by members of the campus community.—POLICY: The University encourages free inquiry on the campus. It has confidence in the ability of its students, faculty, and staff to critically evaluate all ideas that may be expressed at the University by speakers from off campus. As an educational institution, the University expects that presentations of speakers in University facilities will be of educational value, and that they will be conducted in an orderly manner. The responsibility for determining the educational value of invited speakers rests ultimately upon the group authorized to extend the initiation. 
        ***No University organization should accept speakers imposed upon it by any outside agency or individual, nor should an organization lend its entitlement to invite a speaker merely as an accommodation to anyone. 
        ***University facilities normally will not be made available for non-affiliated or non-sponsored speakers. Exceptions will be made for candidates for state and national political office and for speakers who address closed audiences of organizations that use University facilities on an invitational or rental basis. This policy is not intended to restrict the use of University facilities for meetings of a professional or academic nature arranged as part of the University’s regular functions. 
        ********Speakers approved in accordance with University procedures should be allowed free expression of their views. Members of the audience with divergent points of view should permit such speakers to be heard without harassment. ( AGAIN: “MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE WITHDIVERGENT POINTS OF VIEW SHOULD PERMIT SUCH SPEAKERS TO BE HEARD WITHOUT HARRASSMENT.)

  • http://unmia.com Lynn Provencio

    I was one of the organizers of the talk, and I admired how well Nonie handled it.

    When the protesters started yelling, one of my first thoughts was fear that someone might use that disruption to attack Nonie Darwish. I was also worried about some of the elderly and handicapped people who were in the audience, who seemed very upset, as well as some of the students who might be targeted by the protesting students during the disruption. They are bullies and inclined towards violence, and anti-Israel and leftist students have attacked fellow students at events on other campuses.

    I was proud of the men who went to stop the disturbance and get the protesters to leave. They did their best to get the protesters to leave without fighting or violence, and considering the confined space and that some of the protesters wanted a fight, they did very well.

    • falco

      was cameras/videos used as tools to keep the protestors in check… a sign saying that videos are on the premise and all illegal activities will be recorded and will be prosecuted.

  • Rifleman

    How does anyone so dumb they need a cheat paper for simple chants get into college? Debating her would be like arguing with a three year old.

  • William R Nicholson

    Nonie is brave and I pray she changed a few minds with her lecture. It's still surprising to me that college students think themselves so intelligent yet they can't debate anyone who disagrees with them. Why do they think their views right ; when they cannot engage in civil discourse ? I fear for our nation when old people need to come to an event and then fear for their safety because of a few commie lib marxists.

  • Guy

    Wow. Darwish is HORRIBLE writer. Her writing is similar to her lectures; unacademic.

    • Walt

      And you are qualified to criticize the academic quality of her presentations?

  • Wanter

    You all make me sick, seriously….listen to the words that are coming out of your mouths.

    • JoJoJams

      Such as?

  • FearSells

    Eyewitness writes about the Nonie Darwish event.

    Democracy for New Mexico Monday, February 27, 2012

    Hate Speech or a Courageous Warning?By contributing writer, Lora Lucero.

    Hate speech or a courageous warning? Depending on who you speak with, that’s what we heard at the University of New Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 23. Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-American who founded Arabs for Israel, was invited by the UNM Israel Alliance to talk about “Why the Arab Spring is Failing and How Israel is Involved.” Her speech was interrupted half-way through by several young people in the back of the auditorium who attempted to “mic check” her in protest. Yelling erupted as a number of audience members rushed to the protesters — pushing, punching and pulling a protester’s hair.

    Read the entire article here: http://www.democracyfornewmexico.com/democracy_fo

  • Lisa_H

    People: don't bother reading the above post by FearSells unless you want to be sick to your stomach.
    On second thoughts: check it for yourselves.

  • Susan Schuurman

    Dear Mrs. Darwish,
    Your views stated in this article are nuanced about Islam, you make a clear distinction between good Muslims and the totalitarian Islamic state that oppresses its people. You would not have been called an Islamophobe if you had clearly distanced yourself from the comments on the YouTube video, namely, where you state "Islam is a poison" and "Islam should be annihilated." If you retract those two statements, I will respect that we may have differing points of view but will not refer to you as an Islamophobe who incites people to hate and perhaps be violent towards Muslims. Your nuanced views in this article about Islam show a respect for religious freedom, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Your comments in the YouTube video do not.

  • Lisa_H

    Dear Ms. Schuurman: Nonie Darwish has no need to retract or nuance anything. Obviously you have not read her books or truly–and I mean truly with ears wide open–listened to her speak and not some edited version. If you were to listen to, for e.g., this entire talk that she gave at UNM, and still hold your present opinions, I will respect that we have differing points of view but will not refer to you as Ignorant.

  • maturin20

    While I do not support the shouting down of Nonie Darwish's presentation, I must note that she squandered a lot of her moral righteousness when she lied. The lie was "Pro-Israel advocates and critics of Islam and Sharia practically no longer exist on US college campuses." That is a lie of the whole cloth. When you are right, why sabotage your case by lying? The truth is not good enough?

    I must also note that where Islamist students try to shout down Zionist speakers, Zionists simply petition the financial officers of the Universities to preemptively ban or block the Islamist speakers from appearing. Such was the case since the good old days of Hillel House trying to block Khallid Muhammad. Should any blacklisted speakers appear, Hasbaras then vilify the school administration in several media outlets.

    Lastly, isn't there some irony in hearing an Israeli Nationalist lament the presence of "occupiers?" This seems to indicate a massive backfire.

  • gman213

    Islamaphobe…blah blah..blah hate hate hate …blah blah blah…she speaks the truth and you all know it or you wouldn't be so pissed off!