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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Radical Islam wants you dead," said fliers for the documentary, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," which was shown last Tuesday in the Reitz Union.

In an e-mail sent to members of several on-campus groups and Student Government members, UF Supreme Court Justice Matt Klein wrote that "radical Islamic terrorists" don't want people to see the documentary, and that "their leadership on campus" admitted to tearing down the fliers.

UF only has one Islamic group, Islam on Campus. It's no surprise its members were upset by the e-mail.

Klein said he was referring to Nakba '48, a pro-Palestinian rights organization (Nakba '48's president said its members did not tear down the fliers). Klein has since apologized to Islam on Campus, but the damage has already been done.

Now, UF's Division of Student Affairs has to try to pick up the pieces after the fallout. Dean of Students Gene Zdziarski will preside over a meeting with Islam On Campus, the film's sponsors and Klein. Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president of Student Affairs, will write an official response about the incident. We know a meeting and a letter are just a Band-Aid for a much deeper cut, but we condone them for taking notice and attempting to smooth things over.

As for Klein, he should have known better. although he is a member of one of the groups that sponsored the film, he should have realized that as a student official who is supposed to be nonpartisan, he should have keep his opinion out of it. It's a double standard, but promoting what could be viewed as anti-Islamism is not a smart move.

As for the fliers promoting the event, there's no doubt a more tactful approach could have been taken. There's a fine line between intriguing and offensive.

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