Battle over Colorado College speaker becomes religious, personal
Colorado College's invitation to Palestinian Hanan Ashrawi to speak at a three-day symposium called "September 11: One Year Later, Responding to Global Challenges," has brought criticism from Jewish groups, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, conservative state legislators—and Focus on the Family President James Dobson.
"There is certainly a place for academic freedom, but contracting a controversial figure at such a painful time for America is insensitive and lacks appropriate judgment," he said in a press release. "Have we already forgotten the news footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets on September 11 celebrating bin Laden's attack on the United States? Have we forgotten Israel's response to the catastrophe? Israel lowered its flags to half-staff, and Benjamin Netanyahu said, 'Today, we are all Americans.'"
Dobson's comments outraged Bishara Awad, president of Bethlehem Bible College, who is apparently e-mailing an open letter to Dobson to several media outlets and websites. "On September 11, I was in Bethlehem and I personally asked many Palestinians, Muslims and Christian, about the attack and all those I asked have said this is terrible and evil," Awad wrote. "Not one condoned the attack on America . …The incident of dancing you referred to is a very isolated incident, and all Palestinians believe it was staged by the media."
Then Awad gets personal:
We don't only respect, but we feel we know you and love you. For us it is a shock to learn of your objections for Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, for a very moderate and sound speaker to share in Colorado. Just because she is a Palestinian, this does not make her unclean. You have become an instrument of hate and division. ...1