I consider myself to be a devout Muslim woman, and it hurts me dearly when I see people speak ill of a religion which I hold so dearly. Therefore, I understand when some, if not most Muslim students at Ohio State were offended by the ad that ran in Monday’s paper.
However, I strongly believe the majority of students overreacted over the ad.
The title of the ad was “Former Leaders of the Muslim Student Association (MSA): Where are they now?” And the ad listed the names of several al-Qaida and al-Shabab members who were MSA presidents during their college careers. Then at the bottom of the ad was the name of the pamphlet, “Muslim Hate Groups on Campus.”
The ad, without a doubt, is controversial and offensive to Muslims, and several students have voiced their anger toward the ad by dedicating Facebook statuses and tweets to the ad.
Some of the Facebook statuses questioned The Lantern’s judgment in choosing to run the ad. Others called The Lantern “hateful” and “anti-Islam.”
Others sent editors emails labeling editors as well as The Lantern, “irresponsible, reprehensible and foolish.”
Most students questioned The Lantern staff’s “decision” to include the ad in Monday’s paper.
But I must ask, did the students that called The Lantern hateful in their emails and Facebook statuses take a second to think and ask themselves, who is responsible for this? Did these students know that at The Lantern, there is a divide between the editorial staff and the business staff? Did they realize that editors have no say in which ads make it to the paper and which don’t?
The answer is no, they did not.
And instead of inquiring about The Lantern’s advertisement policy or simply asking who’s in charge of the ads that run in the paper, the majority of students have relied on hearsay to form opinions on the issue.
Most people overreacted over something they knew almost nothing about.
Editors were bombarded with emails demanding explanations for the ad.
I’ve personally received several phone calls and text messages from fellow Muslims and MSA members asking me if I knew why The Lantern staff chose to run such offensive ads.
I told them all the same thing: you should not associate the ads that run in the student newspaper with the editors, they have no control nor do they have a say. They are only responsible for the written content, i.e. articles in the paper.
As a former Lantern editor myself, I can attest to the absence of racism, anti-Islamic views and prejudice in the Lantern newsroom. There is zero tolerance for such behavior and I’m a walking example of that.
Think about it, if The Lantern was so anti-Muslims and Islam, why was I a paid member of staff? If I was treated with that kind of hate and disrespect, why would I choose to not only work for, but write for a publication that allegedly spreads hate?
If there’s someone we should all be mad at, it’s Daniel Greenfield who wrote the pamphlet, not The Lantern staff.
Although I was as offended by the ad as any other Muslim would be, let’s keep in mind that every American has a right to freedom of speech. And even though Greenfield’s book offended and upset a great majority of us students, he does have the right to express his views.
But we should look at the big picture here: the more we keep dwelling on this topic, we are giving Greenfield some undeserved and free publicity by talking about his irrelevant and highly offensive $3 pamphlet.
So before you pick up the phone to make a call or send an email to a Lantern editor calling them ignorant, hateful and anti-Muslim, make sure you do your homework and separate the rumors from the truth.