Rutgers Caves to Leftist Demands, Backtracks on Hosting Anti-Radicalism Speaker
By Aviv Khavich
Rutgers University has caved in to student efforts to cancel anti-radicalism speaker Lisa Daftari. Daftari was scheduled to speak on Tuesday, October 16th, at Trayes Hall, hosted by Rutgers Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA). Daftari is a Rutgers alumna, an Iranian-American, and a prolific political journalist, with expertise regarding foreign affairs, specifically the Middle East and counter-terrorism. She is currently an analyst for Fox News and has appeared on multiple news programs, including CBS, NBC, and PBS.
Daftari spoke to The Centurion late Thursday evening detailing the cancellation, calling the decision “unreal”. Rutgers University had previously appeared to stand by her appearance in the face of criticism by left wing groups on campus, stating in a Twitter post that “If these issues are not brought to the forefront and given a chance to be debated, then they may continue to stay buried”. It is unknown at this time for what reason the event was cancelled.
Daftari’s speech, ironically, was intended to be on the subject of “Radicalism on College Campus”, free speech, dialogue, and tolerance.
Her appearance was criticized by portions of the student body, especially pro-Muslim groups, who called Daftari “Islamophobic”. The Muslim Public Relations Council penned an opinion piece in the Daily Targum claiming that the foreign affairs analyst “threaten[ed] the safety of students".
Additionally, an online petition was created on Change.org by Rutgers student Adeel Ahmed. At the time of writing, it had amassed 1,547 signatures. The petition contended that Daftari’s comments that “Islamic terror takes its guidance and teachings from the Quran, which is Sharia law”, were “Islamophobic”.
However, some students defended Daftari, maintaining that her statements were accurate portrayals of reality.
Young Americans for Liberty, a student political organization on campus, has already expressed intentions to host Daftari in defiance of the University’s decision.
The Centurion has reached out to UAA and Adeel Ahmed for comment.