Lisa Daftari — a journalist with extensive knowledge of the Middle East, foreign affairs and counterterrorism, who is also a regular contributor at Fox News — was all set to deliver a speech at Rutgers University on Oct. 16 with regard to the topic of freedom to speech and campus radicalism.
But a student-led petition which claimed that Daftari was “Islamophobic” succeeded in compelling the university to cancel the planned speaking event, likely in a bid to avoid potential controversial actions by outraged students opposed to the invited speaker.
Deadline reported that Daftari, an Iranian Jew who is an alumni of Rutgers, was scheduled to deliver a speech titled “Radicalism on College Campuses” that would largely focus on the issue of free speech.
Ironically, her free speech has now been silenced by radical leftist students who don’t want anyone to hear what Daftari has to say. That effort was led by the president of Rutger’s RU Progressives student organization, Adeel Ahmad, who’d cited out of context quotes of Daftari speaking about Islamic terrorism as evidence of her alleged “Islamophobia.”
Voice of dissent silenced by the left
In a phone interview with the Jewish Journal about the cancellation and assertion of Islamophobia, Daftari said, “I feel attacked.”
“My name has been dragged through the mud,” she continued. “I’ve been invited to do briefings in Washington under Republican presidents, under Democrat presidents, I’ve been invited to the U.N … and to be called an Islamophobe after the years of reporting I’ve done on victims of human rights abuses in Muslim countries … it’s slanderous and unethical.”
Daftari said that if some students truly took issue with some of her past statements about Islam and terrorism, she would have been more than happy to address them during the question and answer period following her prepared remarks. Instead, those students chose to silence her rather than engage in a clarifying debate.
“By silencing me, you’re only showing me your own prejudice and your own intolerance toward different points of view,” said Daftari.
Cancellation, not postponement
The Journal reported that Neal Buccino, associate director of public and media relations at Rutgers, explained in an email that, “Rutgers University has decided to postpone the lecture by Lisa Daftari, scheduled for October 16. The university will continue to go forward on events that reflect a wide variety of perspectives.”
Daftari too great issue with that description of what had occurred, though, and responded via a tweet: “LET’S BE CLEAR – this was not a “postponement” – that is public relations talk for a cowardly CANCELLATION.
@RutgersU told me the event was canceled.”
Daftari was scheduled to deliver a speech at Rutgers about how radical leftists on college and university campuses are silencing voices of dissent and opposition, and true to form, radical leftist students at Rutgers led a successful effort to silence the views espoused by Daftari that don’t align with their own worldview.
However, in doing so, those radical leftist students at Rutgers — as well as the administration and faculty that sheepishly bowed to the whims of the radicalized students — merely proved Daftari’s point about free speech being at great risk on campuses everywhere.