Letter to the editor

As students of this great university and daily readers of The Lantern, we were disappointed, appalled and honestly disgusted by the advertisement it chose to run on Oct. 24. The advertisement in question was written and paid for by FLAME – Facts and Logic About the Middle East – an organization that is notorious for publishing contentious blurbs vilifying Palestinians and all Muslims – two factions that are deeply engrained in The Ohio State University’s campus and culture.
The Lantern, like many of its newspaper and media counterparts, desires to preserve the freedoms of speech and press that are enumerated in the First Amendment of our sublime Constitution; however, the advertisement in question was a blatant and inflammatory form of hate speech – a form of speech that is explicitly unprotected in our Bill of Rights. The advertisement asserts that all Muslims and Iranians are “crazies” and that Allah commands Muslims to “kill Jews and other infidels, whatever the cost.” This is not only completely false, but it is a malignant and clear attempt at generating hatred toward Muslims. As a point of reference, the Supreme Court has ruled that not all speech is protected, or even legal in our country – precedent was set in 1969 with the Brandenburg v. Ohio case, which states that the First Amendment does not defend inflammatory speech “that is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action.”
Adding to the magnitude of this situation is the fact that our outstanding institution has been tarnished with hate crimes and the profuse proliferation of hate speech among our student body over the course of the past two school years, exemplified by the OSU Haters Tumblr account. The Lantern is the official newspaper of Ohio State, and it is also sponsored and promoted by the university, thus everything it chooses to print inherently represents our university’s views and positions. The Lantern has an obligation to review everything that it publishes, including advertisements, for accuracy – a duty that is expected for all professional organizations and forms of print. It also has the onus of upholding the democratic values of our nation, which unequivocally exclude the use of hate speech, and it has absolutely failed in this instance. Unfortunately, this is not the first time The Lantern has printed advertisements that promote anti-Islamic sentiments, and The Ohio State University’s Muslim Student Association has decided to take a stand against The Lantern‘s erroneous activity. From this point forward, we are refusing to patronize The Lantern until it takes an unambiguous stance against this type of speech, changes its flawed policy in regards to publishing advertisements and prints an apology to the thousands of Muslims and Iranians on our campus that were falsely accused of being crazy murderers.

The Ohio State University’s Muslim Student Association