Audience challenges Rick Santorum:
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum said he wants to hear from people who disagree with him — and there was no shortage of them during a speech he gave on campus last night.
Students packed 119 Osmond to hear Santorum speak as part of “Islamo-Facism Awareness Week,” an event aiming to expose the danger that radical Islam poses to the West. The week has been met with protest from the Muslim Student Association, who announced a “Peace Not Prejudice” seminar series to counter the movement.
Santorum began his speech by acknowledging that some are offended by the term “Islamo-Facism,” but said it is misunderstood.
“What that term does is describe an ideology,” he said. “You either subscribe to it or you do not.”
However, the audience was not pacified by Santorum’s statement. Even during the former senator’s 45-minute speech, the crowd could not stay quiet, interjecting questions and corrections throughout.
When Santorum, explaining why Islam and Christianity both claim exclusivity, said “Muhammad is the only prophet” in Islam, the crowd grew restless.
“He’s the final prophet!” shouted a member of the audience.
One audience member began by thanking Santorum “for coming to our campus to spew hatred and intolerance.”
In response to Santorum’s assertion that Islam oppresses women, the speaker urged students to ask Muslims for their opinions.
“There are many Muslims in the audience tonight … ask any Muslim lady sitting next to you and you will know what Muslim women think,” he said.
A Penn State professor took issue with the impact Islamo-Facism awareness week might have on students.
“I think you have done some harm even before you came in here tonight,” the professor said to Santorum, referencing a large “Islamo-Facism Awareness Week” banner that hung outside. “How do you think that has misled students tonight?”
Santorum replied that the objective of a university is to pursue truth.
“This is a rigorous place where we should care what the truth is,” he said. “Maybe someone saw that banner and came in here to listen.”
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