Sessions with Shoebat

Florida Today reports that Walid Shoebat is due to make a couple of appearances at Brevard County, Florida:

He will speak 10 a.m. Saturday at Kol Mashiach synagogue in Melbourne and 10 a.m. March 8 at Church of Christ and 1:30 p.m. at a conference held at the Central Community Church in Cocoa.

“His topic will be more geared toward the Bible, Islam and prophecy,” said Kathy Mardirosian, a spokeswoman for Project Restoration, a Brevard-based group. “Walid is an expert at this topic and has an understanding that most in the western world doesn’t have. It gives him a unique insight into terrorism.”

Indeed, and I’ve chronicled his “expertise” at some length: his gems include the observations that Obama is definitely a Muslim who is using abortion as a plot to kill off Americans, and that Arabs and Nazis both like to use horses. As regards “Islam and prophecy”, he takes the view that “666” in the Book of Revelation is in fact a misreading of the Arabic for “In the Name of Allah”; he tells us that he discovered this after consulting ancient manuscripts, although one that he has cited – the Codex Vaticanus – in fact does not include the Book of Revelation. His “unique insight into terrorism”, meanwhile, is based on some supposed (and challenged) dabblings with the PLO in the 1970s, before – although having been “brainwashed” to hate the West – he moved to the USA and married a Roman Catholic.

Kol Mashiach synagogue” is a Messianic place of worship, while “Project Restoration” promotes a “Hebrew Roots” form of Christianity that appropriates Jewish culture in its worship practices (a trend I wrote about here). Mardirosian is prominent local Christian Zionist, and she was apprently in large part responsible for the town of Cocoa twinning with Beit Shemesh in Israel. She is also a member of the local chapter of Brigitte Gabriel’s “American Congress for Truth” organisation, through which she recently held a “Terrorism Preparation & Disaster Relief” seminar in conjunction with Brevard Citizens Against Terror, at which Lee Boyland was a keynote speaker (Boyland is apparently a nuclear engineer and former member of the Defense Atomic Support Agency’s Nuclear Emergency Team, and he is the author of The Rings of Allah: Usuma bin Laden’s 14 Year Master Plan! He also has links with Paul Williams, whom I blogged on here).

Shoebat’s had a busy few weeks – recently he was at the Oxford Union, and after that he gave a talk at the Humboldt State University, which is close to where his American great grandfather was apparently mayor (Shoebat hasn’t told us this person’s name, although he assures us he was a great friend of Winston Churchill, no less). This talk was apparently not well received; the local Times-Standard carries a letter from one attendee:

To my dismay, the crowd at HSU was incredibly rude and disrespectful. They were not objecting to the fact that Shoebat was once a terrorist, but that he was defending Israel and pointing out the negative aspects of Islamic fundamentalism. While the protests in front of the Van Duzer Theater were not surprising, the students entered the theater and despite requests for civility, they chose to continuously yell insulting remarks at the speaker throughout his speech. Instead of giving his speech as planned, Shoebat was frequently distracted and responded to the shouts and demonstrations. At one point, a group of five or six went in front of the stage, holding up banners and shouting down the speaker.

An over-heated Indymedia report tells it like this:

One after another, Walid lashed out on the students who lined the walls to ask questions. Many people had already walked out on him in protest already, but those who stayed to hear the questions saw an unforgettable spectacle. Not one student’s question wasn’t evaded and twisted into a fallacy or a mundane and unnecessary attack on the character of the questioner…His response to many respectfully asked and well thought out questions was a consistently unsuccessful attempt to belittle and discredit the questioners. He called some questioners stupid, some uneducated, some nuts. Some he attacked on a personal level even before they spoke into the microphone, making it obvious that he was already lost to his ‘dark side’ and unable to regain any meaningful purpose to be on stage aside from maintaining a large scale argument, which he embraced.

One of the most gut wrenching responses he gave was when he personally attacked a questioner from the Philipines who politely greeted him and, in his Walid’s defense, asked him to express from his heart what he feels about Islam, virtually begging him to show a softer, rational side and giving him a much needed get out of jail free card. Walid took the breath out of the student and the audience when Walid accused him of not knowing Islam and being a fake.Walib’s heartless character really shined through as he let himself exhibit a passive aggressive tantrum on stage.

It was not Walid, but the Conservative’s Club members who directed the event that stepped in to call an end to the whole scene, turn off the mics, get Walid off the stage and get people out of their seats.

As the vibe was so vivid, many people stuck around the theater afterwords and were treated to a beautiful gathering of rational people who are awake to what just happened to our campus. Protesters formed a line of signs and lit candles as about a hundred or so people prayed before a courtyard staircase and stepped up, one by one, to voice what they felt in their hearts and to add their voice to our united desire for a free Palestine and an end to such attacks of propaganda on our campus…

Shoebat was planning to be at Western Michigan University on 10 March, but apparently there’s been a hitch:

A Speaking Event to be held at Western Michigan University on March 10th 2009, which includes two former terrorists Walid Shoebat and Kamal Saleem who speak regularly on University campuses about the threat of Islamic terrorism, has been threatened with cancellation due to the pulling of grants, which were allocated by the University…

The grant of $8311 was passed 4 to 1 by the appropriations committee of the WSA (student activities administration of Western Michigan University). The grant approval was also sent in writing and signed by the finance director of the WSA. On Thursday evening Feb 19, the organizers of the event on campus received an email from the WSA revoking the grant because of a technicality.

Based on the letter signed by the WSA committee of appropriations by default the University appears to be deliberately attempting to stifle the free speech both organizers – The International Conservatives, and the speakers…

Keith Davies, Shoebat’s handler, has responded thus in a letter to the university:

…I am very concerned about a meeting with International Conservatives leader Chris McCann which was held Thursday, the 26th of February with three members of your administrative departments. The meeting which took place I would regard as very troubling and tantamount to intimidation in its content if not its tone. It also reveals the tremendous bias based on the personal views of these particular administrators who overreached when it came to the issue of free speech. Based on case law there is no balance between sensitivity and free speech; free speech trumps sensitivity under the first amendment, so the members of the administration were treading on the side of inappropriate intimidation of a group’s right of free speech by even attempting to ask a student to consider his actions on the issue of content of a poster because of the”sensitivities”of others.

I would like to remind you that Martin Luther King’s views in his day were regarded as “hateful” by the actual haters. I would contend this to be exactly the case in this situation. Martin Luther King’s right of free speech had to be protected when he too came under pressure.

It is beyond belief that members of your administration would side with a group of students, probably representatives of the Muslim Student Association, as well as the radical “Peace Center” on campus who we know called Mr. Shoebat and Mr. Saleem “frauds” at an organizing meeting of the International conservatives for this event, and indicated directly by email that they oppose the March 10th event. Again, similar slurs were used against Martin Luther King, the same as against our speakers, when he was outspoken on civil rights. Former terrorists who are now willing to speak out for their former enemy obviously will evoke a response from those that might support terrorism. You might possibly consider that the people who expressed fear concerning the event might be supporters of terrorism and now use fear as a way of touching the nerves of your administrators which prompted them to call the meeting with Mr. McCann. Or, possibly even worse, is that some or all members of the administration who called this meeting might even side with the terrorist sympathizers, which is a position that could be construed from their personal view of the content of the posters. I do hope not…