Saturday, January 27, 2007

Another rush to judgement?

Guilford College is a Quaker university in North Carolina, the kind of small colege that seldom makes the news - until now.

Investigations are still being made in what the University itself terms a `hate crime', where three `Palestinian' students were allegedly beaten by a group of football players in an incident that took place last Saturday.

The three `Palestinians',Faris Khader and Osama Sabbah and North Carolina State University student Omar Awartani allege that the players taunted them with racial slurs while assaulting them.

Authorities have charged Michael Bates, 19; Michael Robert Six, 20; and Christopher Barnette, 21, with misdemeanor assault and ethnic intimidation, according to court documents. They were released Monday on $2,000 bail.

The university promptly temporarily suspended these three players and two others and told them to move off campus, while this crime was investigated. The `Palestinians' were not suspended or subject to any discipline. Here's the first paragraph from a letter emailed on Sunday, by the Guilford College Director of Multicultural Education:

"By now, most of you have heard about the situation that occurred on Friday night between some football players and Faris Khader, Osama Sabbah, and Omar Awartini (a student from N.C. State). Faris, Osama, and Omar were defending themselves against students (and possibly perspective students) that were attacking them physically and simultaneously verbally with phrases like "sandnigga," "terrorist," etc. The incident was a hate crime."

All this, by the way, is going on while the College still maintains that it's `trying to sort out what happened' and `investigate the matter'!

Oddly enough, when talking to others, a slightly different picture of what happened is emerging. Seems that there are pictures of a vicious stabbing and belt whipping that was inflicted by Khader (an alleged victim) upon Michael Six, one of the players during the altercation, taken by campus security personnel.

According to Michael Six's parents, the Arabs struck first, and their son was assaulted, at which point his teammates joined in to defend him.

The football players claim that the `Palestinian' students should be charged with assault. They said that, after the `Palestinian' students had sworn out their warrants with the magistrate, the football players were denied the same opportunity.

Here's something from an anonymous GC student WGHP's website. Please excuse his spelling and grammar....

"As a Guilford College student athlete I have been appalled by the reaction to this incident by not only the student body but also the media. Most of the students that are so intent on screaming hate crime are extremely uninformed about the actual occurance of events that night. No, I did not witness the fight but I withhold judging or condemning the parties of either side until all accounts are fully investigated. It seems that even the news has not refrained from prematurally passing judgement. All of the articles and stories I have viewed on the television have been biased and from the most part over victimizing one party why already passing the other off as guilty. From the eyewitness accounts I have heard it was Osama who struck first, taking off his belt and hitting one of the football player. Osama himself has admitted this Also there were no brass knuckles involved in the fight, these so called brass knuckles were actually a watch. I am not saying that it is ok to beat anyone, I hate violence just much as anyone, but you also have to realize that mistakes were made on both sides. I know both of the parties that were involved. Faris and Osama are good guys, I like them a lot, and no doubt they did not deserve this, but as much as I like them they sometimes tend to look for fights. I also know one of the football players who has been arrested, and he is a good guy. He does not deserve to be slandered all across the news when he has not yet been convicted of anything. So get your story straight, stop being one sided, and stop trying to use this."

I bet CAIR and the MPAC will be all over this one. Stay tuned...

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