College rejects call to drop anti-Muslim speaker

A Muslim civil-rights organization, along with religious leaders from a dozen area places of worship, has asked Everett Community College to cancel Thursday afternoon’s talk by a writer they portray as holding racist views.

Everett officials say they’re not planning to make any changes to the program, which features Raymond Ibrahim, associate director of the Middle East Forum and contributing writer of a blog called “Jihad Watch.” Ibrahim’s appearance is “consistent with the belief that students be exposed to a variety of views,” said John Olson, Everett vice president for college advancement.

But the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and several local religious leaders said they fear Ibrahim’s views could incite violence against Muslims.

“Everything Mr. Ibrahim has done in his career seems to have the single-minded focus of portraying Islam and Muslims as evil, deceitful, conspiring to take over the world, and … feeding the perpetual questioning and mistrust of their presence in the West,” reads the letter by Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington chapter of CAIR. The letter is signed by Bukhari and 58 others.

Seattle Times, 4 May 2011