A speaker hosted at UCF continues to cause student uproar over the comments he made about the Jewish state of Israel and its people.
On Nov. 17, the Ahlul-Bayt Islamic Society invited Sheikh Jaffer Ladak to UCF to speak on Islam and Anthropology, however, he was caught on camera saying, what appears to be, anti-semitic comments made about Jewish people–relating them to Neanderthals and people from Mars.
“The Ahlul Bayt Society is committed to freedom of thought, speech and robust discussion,” the Ahlul Bayt organization told KnightNews.com. “The views of the speaker are not necessarily reflective of our views, and we find the comments in question to be in poor taste, yet we enshrine the constitutionally protected right to freedom of expression.”
The group also told us ” We believe his [Sheikh Jaffar Ladak] comments were taken out of context by an individual who has a history of misconstruing the views of Muslims, on and off campus.”
Students have asked UCF to get involved and take appropriate actions towards the group. Many just wish to get more information from the group and UCF as to why this speaker was allowed to speak at UCF and why no student or faculty member stood up to the anti-semetic remarks.
Grant Heston, UCF’s Associate Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs gave us UCF’s view of the situation as it stands.
“It is important to know that a student group’s invitation to a speaker does not mean the university endorses the speaker’s background or comments,” Heston said. “Rather, it means the university supports students’ rights to free speech and an open exchange of ideas.”
The speaker was not invited by UCF nor paid for by SGA. As a registered student organization the SGA President has the ability to dissolve any organization on campus with his signature, however, has not decided to do so, fearing bringing SGA and UCF into a controversy with free speech rights and a possible lawsuit, according to SGA sources familiar with the situation.
The Ahlul Bayt Society has told us they seek the full audio and visual recording from the person who uploaded the video, which appears to be a member of The United West organization. KnightNews.com asked for the full video previously, but was denied the request.