ADL ALERTS NATION'S ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ABOUT VIRUS
OF BIGOTRY BEING SPREAD BY KHALID ABDUL MUHAMMAD
New York, NY, July 1, 1997...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called
on university and college presidents for "moral leadership" in
speaking out against the hate-filled addresses being delivered on campuses
across the country by a former Nation of Islam spokesman.
In a letter alerting them to a "virus" being spread by Khalid
Abdul Muhammad's hateful rhetoric, David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman,
and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said to university and college
presidents, "The virus is bigotry -- anti-Semitism, racism, sexism,
homophobia, anti-Catholicism and all forms prejudice...Any campus that unwittingly
permits itself to be used as a breeding ground for bigotry and prejudice
stifles the full realization of human potential, which is the primary purpose
of the academic enterprise."
Mr. Muhammad delivered a hate-filled speech on May 21, 1997 at San Francisco
State University in which he viciously attacked Jews, whites, Catholics
and gays. He denied the Holocaust, and claimed Jews control the U.S. and
are involved in a myriad of conspiracies.
"At San Francisco State, in particular, his rhetoric achieved a
new level of rancor and vitriol, surpassing even that of his Kean College
address," continued Mr. Strassler and Mr. Foxman. "In 1997, it
is frightening that such a litany of anti-Jewish, anti-white and anti-gay
bigotry could still receive an enthusiastic welcome on a university campus."
The League urged college and university presidents to follow the "courageous
example" of what a growing number have already done and "speak
out against the hatred that would infect their campuses."
"Using historic fallacies, Mr. Muhammad takes aim at easy targets
using the slippery language of hatred, bigotry and prejudice," said
Robert A. Corrigan, President of San Francisco State University, in a statement
following the speech. "Mr. Muhammad provides an uncomfortable reminder
that insidious hatred still lingers in our society and must routinely be
exorcized by factual information."
"Respecting legitimate free inquiry and expression does not require
any institution of higher education to offer uncritically its facilities
to those who espouse hate," Mr. Strassler and Mr. Foxman told the college
presidents. "Our society looks to you for moral leadership... ."
Mr. Muhammad's November 1993 appearance at New Jersey's Kean College,
led to the passage of an unprecedented resolution of censure that was passed
by both houses of the U.S. Congress in 1994. Since that time, he has continued
to appear as a featured speaker at colleges and universities. Last semester,
he appeared on a number of campuses, including Northwestern University,
California State University at Northridge, California Polytechnic State
University, and California State University at Los Angeles.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.