Editor, Daily Nexus,
There are so many points one could address in response to Walid Shoebat’s speech on Wednesday night, one of which is how this event demonstrated the necessity of engaging in critical source analysis. There were approximately 600 students packed in to Corwin Pavilion, many of whom likely have very little background information on the Arab-Israeli conflict. The risk in having an Evangelist Christian completely misrepresent Islamic eschatology is that some people may see him as an honest and objective critic of Islam. This man profits enormously from overstating and eschewing certain Islamist principles. He makes his living by dividing rooms because it keeps him in the news and it keeps his speech tours solidly booked.
Simply put, please be aware of who it is you are listening to. Be critical, explore alternative perspectives and if your opinion still falls in line with the perspective of Shoebat, then all the power to you. However, do not take the word of one individual and take it is as fact. Do not fall prey to the oversimplifications of our age – these empty dualities of East versus West, Good versus Evil, Freedom versus Terror. You do not have to be with us or against us. There is no shame in admitting that there are subjectivities in life or gray areas.
I’d also like to comment on the utterly atrocious job the mediator did at, well, mediating. He asked Shoebat to speak for one hour, and when that time came, sat impotently at the side of the stage, obviously afraid to interrupt such a revered guest and explain to him that his time was up. When the question and answer period came, he allowed the guest speaker to crudely patronize certain members of the audience, and did nothing to push the guest speaker for actual answers or clarifications. I have never witnessed a professor mediate so ineffectively.
Regardless of the circumstances, last night was in some respects inspiring, as it showed that there are hundreds of students concerned with issues that extend beyond American borders.