Ottawa Citizen

I am proud we protested Coulter visit

Re: Mob rules at the U of O, March 25.

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As a student at the University of Ottawa, I have observed as my fellow students fought against Ann Coulter speaking here. I cannot remain silent as these students are being attacked, their acts being called everything from “embarrassi­ng” to the eloquently put “bush league.”

The most disturbing comments, however, are those defending Coulter’s right to free speech. While I agree that everyone has the right to free speech, I am left to wonder why no one seems to want to fight for our right to free speech and our right to protest, choosing instead to protect the rights of an ultraconse­rvative American bigot.

We shouldn’t allow Canadian students to receive an education that teaches them that childish anti-Islamic remarks should be tolerated and we should not talk of Canada as a land of diversity, if when the time comes to peacefully stand up against small-minded prejudices, we turn our backs on them and cry embarrassm­ent.

The only clear embarrassm­ent is that Ann Coulter is not universall­y despised, which I am almost certain she would be had her comments been about Judaism or Christiani­ty rather than Islam. It seems a bigot’s rights are more important than the rest of Canadians.

The 1,000 students who protested this week have heard Coulter’s past comments, disagreed with them, and decided to exercise their own rights. They peacefully let Coulter know that many people have a serious problem with her comments and that she is not universall­y welcomed on campus. For that, I have never been so proud of my fellow students and fellow Canadians standing up for the values that we have been taught since our youth, those of tolerance for diversity and the right to peaceful protest.

PHIL SAIKALY, Ottawa

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