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Posted on Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:47 a.m.

Anti-Islam blogger scheduled to speak at EMU in event hosted by a Catholic radio station

By Chelsea Hoedl

Robert Spencer, an anti-Islam blogger and author who was recently banned from the United Kingdom for his alleged association with hate groups, will speak at a symposium at Eastern Michigan University Saturday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

‘Is Islam a Religion of Peace?’ will be hosted by Ave Maria Radio, an Ann Arbor-based Catholic radio station. The event, which will be held in the EMU Student Center, will also feature pro-Muslim speakers.

The symposium will conclude with a Mass led by Lansing Catholic bishop Earl Boyea.

According to the Detroit Free Press, EMU released a statement saying the university is not financially supporting, sponsoring or advertising the event.

Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for She can be reached at



Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

If Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam spoke at EMU, how would describe him? Anti-Jewish, Anti-White? I doubt it, but probably something warm, fuzzy, and PC.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of this debate. We'll have to wait and see if it is conducted fairly and appropriately, since this is a sensitive subject for many. I will mention that this morning, EMU allowed the local Muslim community to use its facilities for the holiday Eid prayer, which many appreciated. Funny that they are hosting these two events merely a few days apart!


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 3:17 a.m.

So EMU is allowing its facilities to be used for religious purposes? Sounds like a separation of church (mosque) and state issue.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

The Problem of Human Aggression: We may have to discuss this problem using our understanding of science such as Psychology. We cannot afford to ignore the threats like terrorist attacks and its remedy may not be found in the religious beliefs, or doctrine of the attacker. The solution comes from correct understanding of human nature, and human identity with, or without belief in organized religion. This event gives undue importance to religion and I am afraid that a discussion based upon theology will be unproductive. There are important social, and economic forces which are at work to provide an environmental stimulus for violent, or aggressive human behavior.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

This event will have an anti-Muslim speaker and, as the article states, "will also feature pro-Muslim speakers." So, there will be opinions expressed on both sides of the issue, and discussion will likely follow that. What are people so afraid of? You can't stand to have somebody with an opinion differing from yours, even strongly, around? If you believe your point of view is correct and you can support it, how can having a differing opinion be a problem for you?

Dog Guy

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Once again the city of big trees shouts that it will not tolerate any intolerance except from the religion of intolerance (which is tolerant around here only until their population percentage rises).

Usual Suspect

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

... or build a school where zoning doesn't allow a school.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Yeh, That is all we need. Another Ave Maria sponsored hate symposium. Ave Maria is as bad a representative of Christianity as are the radical Moslem groups representative of Islam. As long as anyone religion tries to impose its religion (and worse yet, its interpretation of their own religion) on others, we'll continue to have a cycle of religious violence. Tolerance and respect are neither part of Ave Maria nor are they part of radical Islam. But that does not make all Catholics/other Christians and all Moslems bad people. It is the idiotic leaders that ruin what what could otherwise be a loving, caring, beautiful religion. Ave Maria is no better than the radical Islam it wishes to question. It would have been a perfect partner to the Inquisition!


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

To hate a specific sect of religion is in error. The religion itself is not the root of hate it is the peoples interpretation of the religion. Every individual has the right to believe in God, and what God represents to them as an individual. As with any organization, individuals of the same representation, gather and form a group based on common interest and belief. Christians have been killing other Christians for thousands of years, Protestants vs. Catholics, The Civil War. etc. but in addition, Christians have been killing other sects as well, starting with the Native Americans, Afr. Americans, Jews, Japanese, Vietnamese, Muslim. etc. What makes Christians believe that their Faith, is the Superior Faith? If we as a human race, all believe in some sort of God then why is that an issue? Do we want others telling us what or how to believe? So what gives Christians or any sect the right to dictate what their Faith means to them? I am not a fan of the practices of Muslim countries. but not ALL Muslims support those practices. I do not understand how the Christian faith is against Homosexuality or Gay marriage when the whole purpose of the Christian faith is to love one another, and promote peace. Christians do EXACTLY the same atrocities to one another as Muslims, it's just kept behind metaphoric "closed doors", and now, from behind a computer screen. ALL religion is based around a central belief system that there is something greater than ourselves in our Universe, that we entrust with our ultimate "Salvation", though it is all based on assumption, and words, thoughts and feelings that were written civilizations ago. We, as HUMAN BEINGS, are supposed to be the "superior race", regardless of our skin color, sexual orientation, or spiritual beliefs, but it does not mean that we all have to agree or believe the same things. No religion, in it's true, intended form, promotes violence, intolerance, or hate. It is we, as humans beings that


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

my apologies for the lack of some much needed punctuation. It cut me off character wise, so I had to delete..


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Here in the US, we love our freedoms of speech, religion, peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances as long as they extend only to those who are like us and agree with us. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all are religions of peace, with long histories of violence, which continues today, toward those who do not agree with them or look like them. They all claim to be sons of Abraham. Buddhism also teaches peace, but Buddhist countries wage war. Neither faith nor democracy can be truly enforced at the point of a gun, but these concepts are often used as the "reasons" to invade other countries and kill other people. We must look at and right our own sins b4 pointing out those of others. All the above named religions teach that precept in one way or another.

Jack Gladney

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

So Richard Spencer's views on Islam are a threat to the Crown? Her Majesty did well in banning him from her green and pleasant land. I bet that was the thought of her loyal subject in London who had his head peacefully sawed off with a machete in Allah's name a couple of months back.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

Jake, Maybe get a couple reverends involved to help solve that problem (jesse and al).

Jake C

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

There are entire neighborhoods in Detroit controlled by Christian mobs that enforce Biblical law (quite violently).

Angry Moderate

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

There are entire neighborhoods in London controlled by Muslim mobs that enforce Shariah law (quite violently).

Jack Gladney

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

*Robert Spencer. Sorry to Richard Spencer. You're good to go. Keep your chin up if you do go.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

WholeDude - Whole Spirituality: I grew up in India and India may have the world's largest Muslim population. As a small child, my first encounter was with a young Muslim college student who had lived at my maternal grandparent's home in Madras/Chennai City. I belonged to an orthodox Hindu family and had a chance to observe this young Muslim and witness him praying five times a day. I have the personal experience of carefully examining, and observing hundreds of young Muslims who had served in uniform, and had provided services to a variety of other Muslims of all age groups, and gender. Man does not believe in God because of some religious doctrine. Man's belief in God is innate to human nature. The Muslim belief in God is not the cause for violence or hatred. In recent times, we have witnessed a great tragedy in Rwanda and it appears that Christians can kill others of the same faith without mercy. As far as I am concerned, I am married to a Protestant Christian who attends the local Catholic Church and I would not uplift myself from my misery until God sends a Christian with an offer to help me.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

This article is garbage! What "hate" has this guy spoken of besides questioning a religion that clearly should be examined with all these terrorists around the world that belong to Islam and a Middle East with a bad rep for human rights. Heaven forbid we question a relgion... What great sin.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:26 p.m.

I"m sure the 9/11 victims agree 100 percent that Islam is "peace", perhaps that is why the Middle East is Utopia with freedom of speech and tolerance for anyone who questions Islam. The women in those countries along with gays have it great over there too. Yes, hard to believe a man would dare question a religion or that in America we allow people to question things. People in Ann Arbor are sure open minded and objective to anyone questioning something and would never call you a "hater" just for questioning something.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

I'm sure the people of Central America, Columbia, Vietnam and the Middle East agree 100% that Christianity is a a religion of peace. Read up on the history of Christianity and pay attention to what the US, a "Christian" country has done over the past 2+ centuries. Genocide. Slavery. We are the largest distributor of weapons of warfare in the world.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

I am disappointed in the rush to judgement on this event. With some investigating I found that this forum (actually multiple discussions) came to be because, Shadid Lewis, regional director of the Muslim Debate Initiative in the US, took issue with Spencer's book. He challenged him on youtube (see link below) and later asked for a chance to debate face to face. Shadid Lewis was invited and then Spencer was then invited at Shadid's request. The audience will include both Muslim's and Christians. EMU was chosen as neutral ground, as opposed to Domino's Farms that was founded by Tom Monihan an ardent Roman Catholic. There is more to this event than meets the eye, please check out the facts before rushing to judgement.

EMU Prof

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Why let facts get in the way of a chance to publicly demonstrate the refined nature of one's sensibilities?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

well said

Michigan Man

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

Nice! EMU supporting free speech in America!

EMU Prof

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

I wonder what the popular reaction would be if the speaker were Richard Dawkins?

EMU Prof

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I just looked up the CFI: it is an atheist/ humanist think tank. Why would they cancel Dawkins? There must be a little bit more to the story, like with Daft Punk and Colbert.

EMU Prof

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Dawkins thinks that anyone who raises their children in a religious tradition should be arrested and charged with child abuse. I don't think that is measured. So if this blogger is forced to cancel, will he be able to sue and get a settlement?


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

2011- Richard "Dawkins' appearance Wednesday at Center for Inquiry Michigan event was canceled at the last minute by the country club owner "because of (Dawkins') atheist philosophy," according to CFI representative Jennifer Beahan." - MLive Oct 11, 2011 The owner canceled after watching the O'Reilly Factor and seeing Dawkins use the 1st Amendment. The country club was sued, and agreed to settle. This is what happens when people watch the O'Reilly Factor.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:48 a.m.

Would Dawkins be allowed to speak in the same country that banned Spencer?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

I don't believe Dawkins' message to be any kind of hateful. Inflamatory? Yes. Anti-Islam? At times, yes, but so with other religions as well. At least he is generally measured and holistic with his criticism of religion on the whole.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

While I respect the right of free speech, I do not believe that those that promote hate - of any type - should be given a public forum. EMU should not be hosting this.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:30 p.m.

Questioning a religion is hardly "hate". If this guy was calling out people to kill or discriminate against muslims then yes but he is bringing up facts and questioning things. What is wrong with that! What Hate is this guy really saying.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

As EMU has learned multiple times from recent lawsuits, public colleges may not ban everyone who isn't a politically correct liberal from speaking. It's funny how under the standards being used here, EMU professors spew "hate speech" on a daily basis, but nobody cares.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6 p.m.

This brings back terrible memories from last year of the obama administration blaming a film maker for the riots in Benghazi that resulted in murdered Americans. If this presentation bothers anyone - just take Hillary's attutude: "What difference does it make?"


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

This brings back memories of the president backing off of those claims after the tragedy was investigated. Now if we could only get the GOP to back off claims that "Stand down" orders were given, that there was anything the military could have done in Benghazi or that the attacks were any more foreseeable than 9/11, the dozens of attacks on embassies under republican presidents or the Boston Bombing. If only we could get the House Oversight Committee to hold PUBLIC hearings with the two people that wrote the state department review, that appears to have hit a wall after the two people came out in public and used logic against the wild claims of the GOP.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Get over it. Romney still lost

Jake C

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

As you like to quote a2citizen, ""What difference does it make?"


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Was it muslims or christians that did all those killings?

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

U.S. Embassy and Consulate Attacks Under George W. Bush January 22, 2002: US consulate at Kolkata, 5 Killed June 14, 2002: US Consulate at Karachi, 12 Killed February 28, 2003: US Embassy at Islamabad, 2 Killed June 30, 2004: US Embassy at Tashkent, 2 Killed December 6, 2004: US Compound at Saudi Arabia, 9 Killed March 2, 2006: US Consulate in Karachi, 2 Killed September 12, 2006: US Embassy at Syria, 4 Killed March 18, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 2 Killed July 9, 2008: US Consulate at Istanbul, 6 Killed September 17, 2008 US Embassy at Yemen, 16 Killed TOTAL DEATHS: 60 OUTRAGED REPUBLICANS: 0

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

So the Bengazi incident, which resulted in a handful of deaths due to an attack on an embassy is comparable to thousands of people killed, including thousands of American soldiers, due to a concerted lie perpetrated by Bush, Cheney, et. al.? How do you figure they are comparable? Hillary's exasperation is with GOP senators that love to grandstand for the sake of the their party. I don't recall GOP senators being too interested in investigating the confirmed lies Bush, et. al., told, in the run-up to the Iraq war.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

This brings back terrible memories of the run up to the Iraq War, when people like James Dobson and Jerry Falwell hijacked a religion of love and perverted it to appeal to cowardly people's fear and prejudice in the wake of 9/11. Shame on Ave Maria for stooping to this level for marketing purposes.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Dobson and Falwell didn't "hijack" a religion. They used it as it is meant to be. They are Christians. That is Christianity.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.


Cory C

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

I find it funny that anti-islam speech is being preached over a catholic radio. It's like watching two toddlers fight over the last cookie.

John S Wolter

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

I'm embarrassed that our local Catholic radio stooped to this low-brow marketing promotion.. What where you thinking? There are 1000s of ways to devise promotions that don't call on hate speech. Please show some positive advertising campaigns.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Northern Ireland was a political conflict. The parties were predominantly of two different flavors of Christianity, but the issue at hand was the desire of self-rule.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

wmilam - I actually had already thought of northern Ireland, but the sheer number of muslim conflicts in the world speaks volumes to the "peaceful" religion you seem to support.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 5:26 a.m.

It may be a minority of Muslims that support radicalism and extremism, but a "tiny fraction," it is not.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

Angry Moderate, the "vast majority"? What are you basing that on? I'm no fan of Islam, but even I know that there are millions of Muslims in the world, and only a tiny fraction of them are extremists. Considering the number of people of that faith, the extremists and their supporters are the exception. They seem to be very vocal and always in the news, but their numbers are small comparatively.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

@Mike, can you say Northern Ireland?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Since when is educating the public hate speech? If this guy is propogating lies then call him on it instead of throwing out the "hate" card. People who use the hate and race card tend to have no other evidence to back up their arguments.

Angry Moderate

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Actually, Solitude, the vast majority of Muslims support violent extremism. The peaceful Muslims in the U.S. and a few other places are the rare exception. Just look at the policies in Muslim countries and compare them to the rest of the world.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

Ava Maria and everything to do with it is to Catholicism as extremism is to Islam. Ava Maria is not representative of your average, mainstream Catholic any more than jihadists are representative of your average, mainstream Muslim.

Simon Green

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Outrageous! We need to abolish the First Amendment and jail those who disagree with us.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), a rebel group operating in Tripura, North-East India, has been described as engaging in terrorist violence motivated by their Christian beliefs. The NLFT is currently proscribed as a terrorist organization in India. It is classified by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism as one of the ten most active terrorist groups in the world, and has been accused of forcefully converting people to Christianity. Beginning after the Civil War, members of the Protestant-led Ku Klux Klan organization began engaging in arson, beatings, cross burning, destruction of property, lynching, murder, rape, tar-and-feathering, and whipping against African Americans, Jews, Catholics, and other social or ethnic minorities. The KKK is still alive and well in the USA, membership grew after a mixed race man was elected president. Should I even bother to list the number of attacks/bombings/killings at abortion clinics around this country, often perpetrated by Christians against Christians.


Thu, Aug 8, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Mike, please do some research on: Ireland and it's several hundred year battle between Catholics and Protestants. Mormon history in the USA. I see outward hatred of homosexuals in most states of our union, and posted on these pages regularly by Faithful Christians. Many states in our union have passed laws that restrict the lives of women. I saw 8 years of war and death (still going on) brought to Muslim countries by a Christian Nation, Christian president and paid for by a majority Christian congress. Torture, kidnapping and war crimes were ignored or condoned by our Christian "Leaders". I would suggest that People are the problem, religion just seems to be the excuse.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Bhavanjagat - your statement above seems to conflict with your image of Islam as a religion of peace. Many hot spots in the world are Muslim against Muslim. Do you know of any Christian against Christian battles, for example Protestant warring against Baptist? If you do I would be grateful for you to share them with me. I see images of war and death on television in the middle east, outward hatred of homosexuals, and oppression of women regularly but only related to the Muslim religion. Is this your definition of peaceful or am I missing something?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

It seems that Muslims do use their Freedom of Speech and there are several different Schools of Islamic thought such as the Shia, and Sunni. Among them, there are various other branches. The differences among Muslims is the biggest challenge that Islam faces today. We are clearly witnessing this sectarian strife in Syria. The problem there is that of a Muslim killing another Muslim.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Don't the already do this in every country in the Middle East? How dare this man call out Islam.

Edward Green

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Is he gonna show this video?


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

spencer? really? again? state school? ave maria? kresta? using EMU as a podium... you there are some huge room(s) right around the corner from WDEO IN Dominos Farms - why not use them? count this graduate among the embarrassed


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

On the bright side, this guy can't be any worse than hosting Kwame there, which they did in the last year or so.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

Islam and Peace: I had the good fortune of serving under the command of Colonel B K Narayan of Special Frontier Force when we took military action in the Chittagong Hill Tracts to initiate the Liberation of Bangladesh during 1971 while the United States had opposed our action. As far as I know, he was the only non-Muslim who was allowed to perform the holy pilgrimage called Hajj. He was a scholar of Islamic Studies, and Arabic language and taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He was a Hindu by his birth, and faith. He told me that Islam is a religion of Peace. I had served in the Land Forces of the Sultanate of Oman from 1984 to 1986 and I know the people of Islamic faith. I want to affirm that Islam is a religion of Peace for I understand a Muslim as much as I understand another man of any different religious faith, or no religious affiliation.


Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

Peaceful Muslims, just like peaceful Catholics, are in the vast majority. Unfortunately, more people have died at the hands of "the faithful" than the combined total of those who have suffered under the atheists of the world.

Chelsea Hoedl

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

BhavanaJagat, thank you for sharing your personal experience with the Islamic faith.

Tim Hornton

Wed, Aug 7, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Osama Bin Laden was a scholar of Islam too. Half the Muslim population liked him. I guess they just don't understand Islam like your hindu scholar friend did. Do you like the way women and homosexuals are treated in Islamic countries or the "freedom" of speech in them too. Or the limited freedom to People of the Book (Christians and Jews).... Pagans and athiests are the lowest of the low in the Middle East. You try going to the Middle East and try spreading you Eastern Religion around... I'd like to here how the peaceful religion treated you.