Administration apologizes for delayed response to divisive Halloween photograph

and | Student Life Editors

Courtesy of Mahroh Jahangiri

Senior Mahroh Jahangiri repost of a photo of five students’ Halloween costumes along with a seven-paragraph-long caption went viral Wednesday, garnering more than 760 likes and 140 comments as of 2:45 Thursday morning.

[UPDATE: Friday, 12:01 a.m.] A Solidarity Forum hosted by the Muslim Students Association Thursday offered Washington University’s administration a chance to apologize for its failure to respond immediately to a controversial Halloween photograph gone viral and students to suggest possible avenues for improvement.

The discussion in Tisch Commons, in which a number of MSA members related how the photo was an emotional trigger for them, bringing back memories of personal experiences with racism, came one day after a Facebook post featuring an image of students in Halloween costumes garnered hundreds of hits from community members and others who found the photo offensive.

Some criticized the administration for its delayed reaction to the photo, which was sent to Vice Chancellor Sharon Stahl just after Halloween. At the meeting, Stahl took responsibility for her lack of action.

“I am the person, the only person, to whom this posting was sent on Halloween; I made a grave mistake in not responding sooner than I did. I deeply regret that,” Stahl said. “If I could go back and undo this, I would, but I can’t, so I have to accept the responsibility of my mistake. I apologize, and I hope that moving forward you will be able to find it in your hearts to give me that grace.”

MSA President and senior Ishaq Winters and Jenni Harpring, program manager for the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, facilitated the discussion amongst other MSA members, administrators and other students in attendance.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Provost Holden Thorp and Stahl sent an email to the entire Washington University community to address the issue.

“As a community, one of our highest priorities is to maintain an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome,” they wrote. “Images like the one that was posted on a social media site by students on Halloween and the impact it has had reminds us that we all must be united in this effort and it must be on-going. Whatever the intention, the image has offended and hurt members of our community. The image also is entirely inconsistent with who we are as an institution, our values and the way in which we engage in the world around us.”

“We are deeply disappointed and saddened that this has occurred. We must expect better of ourselves and of each other,” they added.

Check back on Monday for more in-depth coverage.

[ORIGINAL STORY] Washington University administrators scheduled an emergency meeting for 8 a.m. Thursday morning to discuss a Facebook post that has led some to vocalize concerns about anti-Muslim sentiment on the Danforth Campus.

While at least one student said the University was alerted to the photo—featuring three students posing in black tank tops and camouflage pants, pointing toy guns at a student on the ground donning a beanie and gray beard while another holds an American flag in the background—at least a week ago, there was no formal response as of Wednesday night, after it had already gone viral on social media.

As of 2:45 a.m. Thursday, a screenshot of the original photo, interpreted by some commenters as “a clear representation of Osama Bin Laden” and others as “representative of a Muslim stereotype,” had drawn 761 likes and 144 comments and had been shared 157 times on Facebook.

Senior Mahroh Jahangiri posted the screenshot with the original caption of “Halloween ‘13. Amurrica!!”—along with a seven-paragraph caption in which she interpreted the photo as “represent[ing] a broader, more aggressive (and apparently violent) Islamophobia rampant here at WashU and in the United States.”

She told stories of discrimination she has faced while at the University, expressed her disappointment in the student body for its lack of a reaction, explained why she was offended by the photo and urged students to “RAISE HELL ABOUT THIS.”

“I find it hard to believe that if this was a black man or a gay man or a Latino man with guns aimed at his face, that black students or queer students or Latino students would not have been up in arms. But because this costume did not represent my friends’ communities, it did not warrant a response,” Jahangiri wrote.

The post attracted comments from students and alumni as well as individuals from well outside the University community, ranging from Massachusetts to Texas to California. Some offered support for Jahangiri and her message while others defended the intentions of the students in the photograph.

Junior Chelsea Whitaker commented on the Facebook post that she had reached out to Vice Chancellor for Students Sharon Stahl about the photo a week ago with no response, and Stahl said she relayed details of the case to the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. Mike Hayes, executive director of campus life, said he was only brought into the conversation as of Wednesday.

Jill Carnaghi, dean of campus life, spoke at the Student Union Senate meeting about how the University planned to discuss its response to the issue.

Senior Matt Re, president of Student Union, said it is SU’s core mission to make sure all students feel safe and included on campus, and senior Gaby Dinkin, chair of the Diversity Affairs Council, said that the committee had an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and was working on drafting a formal statement.

“We’re not blaming anyone or saying that anyone was being intentionally hurtful, but people in our community were hurt, and that’s what we’d like to focus on,” Dinkin said. “I hope it won’t be a divisive issue but more a moment for everyone to learn and have a discussion.”

Several students felt that the photo and accompanying post warranted an extended discussion.

“A major component of this issue is the fact that students are not coming in direct contact with each other to discuss it,” freshman Laken Sylvander said. “It is very much limited to online debate, and I feel like a lot more can be said that may be more honest from certain people, but [that] is not necessarily the kind of respectful community that we expect and the dialogue that takes place here, and I think that removing it from the online community and into actual interpersonal dialogue will hopefully be an advancement in the right direction toward where the campus goes with this.”

“I hope that people will view this as an instance to learn from and will be able to have open dialogue and be open-minded and understand where one another is coming from when discussing this issue,” freshman Lauren Chase added, “and that this will lead to positive change on our campus toward a more, not only tolerant but also accepting, environment for people of all races and diverse backgrounds.”

The Muslim Students Association announced early Thursday morning that it will host an open forum in Tisch Commons Thursday evening at 8 p.m.

“This is going to be a space where we can provide basic information for why it is an important issue and why it has hurt and affected students on campus,” Jahangiri said.

The DAC plans to release a statement by the end of Thursday and will be holding office hours in the Student Union office from 1-4 p.m.

With additional reporting by Eliana Goldstein, Divya Kumar, Manvitha Marni, Emily Schienvar, Emily Sybrant and Maddie Wilson.

  • Jim Heller

    It’s nice to see so many informed people expose the MSA’s decidedly UN-American, Muslim Brotherhood identity and ridicule this absurd display of fake hurt and indignation with pleasure. If we’re going to have to continually burst these PC trial balloons Islamic supremacists float to see how much they can control the airspace, we might as well enjoy it.

  • GeoffP

    ““I find it hard to believe that if this was a black man or a gay man or a Latino man with guns aimed at his face, that black students or queer students or Latino students would not have been up in arms. But because this costume did not represent my friends’ communities, it did not warrant a response,” Jahangiri wrote.”

    Interesting point. Did black or Latino students kill 3,000 people on 9/11? Have they attempted numerous attacks on the civilian population of both Western and Middle Eastern nations? It would certainly be the first I heard of it. Perhaps it is not so much a sin to represent Islamists as Islamists, really. If Ms. Jahangiri chooses to make wider associations than that, then it is really more her failing than anyone else’s; but I would be curious to know _why_ she makes such a connection.

    Oh, and that the MSA has hoisted up this issue is tantamount to an admission of the immorality of the objection in the first place. I wonder… Ms. Jahangiri wouldn’t be a _member_ of the MSA, would she? Hmm.

  • Don Davenport

    I hate to be the dirty sock in the punchbowl but I think Muslims need to be more sensitive towards other cultures and traditions. I think it would be a wonderful outreach if members of the Islamic community took infidel diversity and sensitivity training.

  • Confused undergrad

    Under most of these arguments, i would like to exercise my first amendment rights to drop the N-bomb and sing “b—- aint s—” but apparently thats too far. So why is this tolerated and not that?

  • Ganesha_akbar

    The Administration owes these creative satirists a MONETARY apology for trampling on their 1st Amendment rights of free expression and creating a hostile educational environment.

    Advice to Satirists: Lawyer up and sue these University administrators.
    http://thefire.org/cases/submit/

    • X

      Satire is really only effective when you’re flipping the script to criticize a majority or an oppressor (whoever holds the power in a given situation). I’m not sure how this picture is serving that very important function of satire.

  • RLande

    The students in the photo are exercising their first amendment rights to celebrate the death of bin Laden. While I don’t celebrate the death of anyone, I think killing bin Laden was a good thing. A phobia is an irrational fear of something. I think it is entirely rational to be concerned about Islam because the Qur’an teaches that Muslims are to spread Sharia law to Muslims worldwide and convert, enslave or kill non-Muslims. I, for one, do not agree with stoning adulterers, child marriages, hanging homosexuals, amputation as punishment, etc. Also, the women in our household enjoy equal rights. You attend Washington University to get an education. Learn about Islam and think for yourself. Muslims are free to be Muslims, but do you want to be forced to embrace Islam?

    • RLande

      spread Sharia law to non-Muslims

  • J Wilson

    Strange how Muslims, Africans, Latin-Americans, and Asians will do almost anything to immigrate to countries dominated by white males but, after arriving, immediately insist white males are the only enemy and must be persecuted. We don’t need them. They need us. If foreigners can’t handle a substantially better life without tearing down the families that shed multiple generations of blood, sweat and tears to make this country the greatest in the world…f— ‘em!

    • Save the West

      Yes, you’re so right. Ironic, isn’t it?

  • American

    I thought of WashU as a community with students from very highly educated families. These men in the picture look quite dumb.

  • Peaceful Muslim

    These comments have taken a seriously worrying anti-Islam/anti-Muslim turn.

    • rcl

      D— sensible way to look at it. Anyone who understands history understands the true nature of modern Islamism. It’s Salafist through and through. Violent and intolerant at its core. It shows the same evil face to all its neighbors, be they Muslim or infidel. Submit or perish. Academics, as usual, love to bend over and submit.

    • Save the West

      I’m anti-Islam. It sucks. A violent ideology that shouldn’t be in America, esp after the Jihad of September 11, 2001.

  • Ganesha_akbar

    Theatrical actors’ big mistake? Failing to apply for an NEA permit for street theatre.

    Wacademic ACLU clergy will never forgive that heresy.

  • Radiant Sunshine

    So a bunch of Muslims are angry and demanding that others “raise hell” because of a negative depiction of a mass-murdering terrorist (and as another commenter pointed out, coinciding nicely with Iran’s annual “Death to America Day”)? Sounds like the NSA needs to get involved.

  • Ganesha_akbar

    In the interest of full disclosure, MSA are a notorious Muslim Brotherhood affiliate and propaganda mouthpiece for Hamas terrorists.

    Recall also, in a 6 to 3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a federal law that makes it a crime for Americans to provide “material support” of any kind (be it in the form of cash, weaponry, training, personnel, services, or “expert advice or assistance”) to a foreign terrorist organization, even if that support is for (ostensibly) peaceful purposes.

    Hamas would be one such example. It conducts terrorist attacks against Israel with one part of its organization while spitting propaganda lies with another. Propagandizing for them allows Hamas to not have to spend propaganda funds for its terrorist activities.

    Upcoming Congressional hearings will undoubtedly focus the spotlight on MSA terrorism enablers. For those interested in a fuller disclosure of the MSA, read their dossier.

    So, thanks once again to MSA propagandists for making it easier for Obama’s NSA to track your activities and Holder’s Justice Department to prosecute your material support propaganda campaigns.

    And good luck finding a job with “terrorism enabler” emblazoned on your resume.

  • Freedom

    I see a lot of comments about freedom of speech…

    Why was this an obvious argument last spring when the n-word was read in a song? I’m neither Muslim not black but d— I feel bad for Muslim students because of how people are posting on here.

    If you have a right to wear a Halloween costume people have the right to rap a song. So frankly, just cause you might have more black friends doesn’t make saying the n-word bad and dressing up as a Muslim good. They both have the same effect on the student groups involved… So why on earth are people arguing freedom of speech now and not last year.

    If you can dress up as an Arab I should be able to drop the n-word. Don’t be biased based on the fact that you probably don’t have Muslim friends

  • edcrunk

    I’ve dealt with some people from Portland and they seriously believe all the white privilege and male privilege nonsense. I just can’t wait til these christophobes stand before the Lord.

  • Tim Norling

    I am offended by the offensive offendedness of the offended. What absolute tripe.

  • Concerned Libertarian

    I was also offended by numerous Halloween costumes. Can we talk about people dressed up as cats? Clear beastiology. Or people businessmen/women costumes. I hope to work in an office, I find it offensive that people are wearing suits as a joke. How about people dressed as nerds? That is marginalizing and mocking an entire subset of people. Let’s get a list of everything that could offend anyone and get rid of those things.

    Additionally, the fact that the MSA is in an uproar over the length of the administration’s review period is utterly retarded. Do they even need to comment? This is America, last time I checked. That means we all have freedom of speech. This photo did not infringe on anyone else’s Constitutional rights. It obviously offended some people, but that is life. Stop these pathetic attempts to gain attention.

  • Steve Harvey

    I went to Afghanistan for Halloween last year and one groups was dressed like terrorists with one guy dressed as an American. I was pretty irked. Luckily, they were very accomodating of my feelings and decided to change costumes and apologized profusely.

  • WUSTL15

    Dean Stahl, grow a pair of balls. This is a non-issue and stop caving. Since when has the majority (that doesn’t give two s—-) become ruled by the professionally offended minority?

    • Ganesha_akbar

      Cluebat to Wacademia: How long before Salvador Dali’s “Islamophobic” caricature of Mohammed burning in hell is expunged from Washington University art history classes? How about Auguste Rodin? or Gustave Dore?

      Each of these “Islamophobic” artists caricatured Mohammed roasting in Hell– as related in Dante’s trilogy “The Divine Comedy” [Inferno XXVIII, 19-42].

      Artistic caricatures of Muslim villainy are protected free speech.

      And if academia is unwilling to fight this battle, what’s to stop the local Taliban from silencing any and every expression Islamo-supremacists deem “offensive”?

      Archived depictions of Mohammed serve as a poignant reminder that such imagery has been part of Western AND ISLAMIC culture since the Middle Ages— and serve as a resource for those interested in defending candor and free expression.

  • anon

    If you are honestly offended by this, drop out of WashU. We don’t want you.

  • 2010 Alum

    What really gets me is the number of people commenting on here to the effect of, “This doesn’t matter, and is not a ‘real issue.’” Where on earth do you get the idea that YOU CAN TELL OTHER PEOPLE what does/does not “matter” in the scheme of racism, Islamophobia, and the like? Particularly when you have probably never experienced the systematic, casual, and daily prejudice because of skin color or religion? What gives you the right to invalidate other people’s experiences of systematic oppression? If someone finds this sort of thing offensive, that is because they have experiences that you probably don’t. You may not personally find this offensive (because you see it as Bin Laden or any number of other reasons), but you do NOT get to tell other people who have suffered at the hands of a system that marginalizes them how to feel about an image like this.

    • aramkr

      We don’t tell them how to feel. We don’t care how they feel. “Insults” to muslims should be published every day from now until the muslims understand Americans are free to offend whomever they want. The muslims’ incessant whining should be ignored. I hold them and their religion in contempt and I want them to know it. Get over it.

      • Save the West

        “I hold them and their religion in contempt and I want them to know it. Get over it.”

        Me too. Oh boo-hoo the poor offended Mohammedans. I couldn’t care less.

    • Ganesha_akbar

      Clue to 2010: Accurate reporting on how Muslims mistreat gays, women and minorities isn’t “Islamophobic.” It’s merely being candid.

      Your intolerant Candorphobia is unwelcome.

      • 2010 Alum

        Because this discussion has everything to do with how extremist Muslims (or any other extremist religious group for that matter) treats women, gays, and minorities. Obviously. This image and how people feel about it has absolutely NOTHING to do with that. Quit putting up straw men.

  • Jack

    Extremist Muslims want to kill you. Moderate Muslims want extremist Muslims to kill you.

    I am sure that Mahroh has not once ever publicly condemned Islamic violence.

    • Henry Palmer

      Since when do Muslims need to publicly establish their condemnation of Islamic violence? I am German, and I don’t need to constantly publicly acknowledge that the Holocaust was wrong.

      • Ganesha_akbar

        Cluebat to Race-Baiter: Eisenhower was German. Being German doesn’t imply a reflexive need to apologize– unless (perhaps) you’re neo-Nazis.

        Now remind folks again: What “race” are Muslims?

        Don’t be an addlepated Islamo-supremacism apologist your whole life, MSA-hugger.

  • Brian

    Ok, so let me get this straight. Some people found a Halloween costume offensive? And this sparked an outrage?

    Ok, now where was their outrage at seeing Iranians burn the US flag on their ANNUAL celebration of an event, I believe it is something to the effect of “Great Satan Day”. I could be wrong.

    Noone is poking fun at Muslims or their faith or targeting you personally as a Muslim. Stop being hypersensitive.

  • Infidel Brotherhood ( Australia )

    There should be a bin laden day…..everybody gets dressed up as their favorite bin laden and celebrates his place with his 72 virgins………my favorite is the one, soaking wet with a fish in both ears.

  • Ok

    I support Mahroh’s and other students’ rights to feel hurt by this. Just as I feel the students have a right to wear those costumes, I feel everyone has a right to a responsive emotion and no one’s feelings should be invalidated. Would I have ever worn that costume? Absolutely not. I personally find it in very poor taste. Would I ever tell someone in this country that they have no right to wear to that costume? Absolutely not. I support freedom of expression.

    Although I fully understand and support the expressive freedom of Mahroh, StudLife, and all other students who shared the post, I find the manner with which this situation was handled to be in equally poor taste. I do not appreciate the fact that Mahroh and StudLife, well aware of their far-reaching impact in the community, chose to make this post with the names and faces of the students in costume still clearly visible in the Facebook image. The only justification I can see for this failure to take simple steps to ensure these students’ confidentiality is evident in Mahroh’s (and apparently StudLife’s) intentions to “raise hell about this”.

    To me, this reveals intentions to initiate a witch hunt. Because of Mahroh’s post, I know the names and faces of the students who suddenly have an entire university making uninformed claims of their racist beliefs and I pity them. I have long despised WashU’s infatuation with social justice public shaming. I can’t help but think of the Bear’s Den incident last year. This student body’s rapid transition to warmongering and the resulting actions display just as much lack of fore-thought as the students choosing to wear the costumes. Despite the costumed students’ ignorant actions, public shaming and the haste to persecute is never a productive response. This idea for costumes clearly shows lack of consideration for how it might affect others, but it is not a mistake that justifies what might turn into a permanent blemish on the costumed students’ records and the disdain of an entire student body, a newspaper, a university administration, and a local news channel (hopefully, this is where the ridiculous shaming ends). Does shaming of this magnitude for lack of social justice knowledge ever lead to truly productive social growth? For lack of consideration of this question, I believe that Mahroh, StudLife, and all other students who perpetuated this story are the ones who should be feeling ashamed.

    You know, after graduation, there will not be a Dean Stahl and a university administration to pursue action for your complaints.

    • X

      These guys had a “right” to wear these costumes. But you can exercise a right and still be doing something open to social scrutiny. Having a “right” to do something doesn’t mean people can’t criticize you for doing it.

    • RLande

      What kind of grades do you think the students in the photo will get at WU from now on?

  • G

    So wait, let me get this… Some Muslims are in an uproar, objecting to free expression of some adult Americans dressed up on Halloween as Seal Team 6 with Bin Laden captured and they’re lobbying the power structure to stifle their right to do that…

    …and the powers that be at Washington University in STL are planning meetings and taking actions by lecturing everyone on how objectionable this is, adding that these are not “our” values and to be more sensitive and inclusive by making sure not to post anything like this in social media for fear of hurting their precious sensibilities…?

    If that’s it, tell me, what country do we live in again?

  • Door Kicker

    Ridiculous.

  • canuckistan666

    The fact is that Muslims commit most terrorist attacks than any other religious group. Muslims in the name of Islam commit ON AVERAGE 4 deadly terrorist attacks a day (reference: The Religion of Peace). Not every Muslim is a terrorist but most terrorists are Muslim. Unless these facts are changed, Muslims need to grow a thicker skin and instead of whining about being victims, take responsibility for their violent and savage cult

    • Henry Palmer

      Christians literally killed most of Europe to spread themselves. Jesus, yo. As a Catholic, I would be so sad to know that people judged me based solely on my religion, and associated me with child molestor priests and homophobic pastors.

      • Ganesha_akbar

        Refried tu quoque? That’s all you’ve got?

        Grade: F (fallacious)

        #dismissed

      • RLande

        If you are referring to the Crusades, the Crusades were in response to Muslim expansion and enslavement of Christians and Jews in what is North Africa, much of the Middle East and Europe. Muslim expansion reached Tours, France twice and Muslims sacked and burned parts of Rome. Having said that, the Crusades were brutal and terrible atrocities were committed by both Christians and Muslims. Why Christianity has moderated since the Crusades, Islam has not changed. It still teaches intolerance. It also teaches moderation and going along to get along when Muslims are in the minority.

  • willy

    this situation is the definition of “pics or it didn’t happen”

  • canuckistan666

    The Muslim Students Association is a pro-terrorist group and should be banned from college and university campuses. They are a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • wtf

      is this comment actually a joke

      • Ganesha_akbar

        Is your ignorance of the MSA agenda really that abysmal?

      • Samual I

        Better do your homework wtf.

  • canuckistan666

    Bin Laden was a member of Al Qaida. Al Qaida was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood, as was the Muslim Student’s Association. The Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to destroy Western Civilization from within. So, why is the MSA’s not banned? They are offended because one of their own is mocked in a Halloween Costume? Gee, you can’t offend terrorists because a pro-terrorist group like the MSA’s might get offended!

  • Marc
  • Confused undergrad

    So..when the n-word is said in a song, people go nuts over it and sympathize with ABS. When a costume which could literally resemble the bulk of muslim men, not just osama, is portrayed as being held at gun point, its no big deal?

    To an outsider maybe it was clear that it was osama. But to people of muslim background at this school, some of which wear turbans..cant you see how this would be offensive? To them, someone with a beard and a turban doesnt obviously represent Osama, it could represent themselves or their family or friends. A lot of muslims wear turbans and have beards, so to them it represents their culture. To them its not Osama under attack, its muslims in general.

    Stop trying to argue that they shouldnt be offended. If they are, why not pick them up rather than kick them while they’re down?

    • Ganesha_akbar

      Clue to Confused: The largest population of Muslims is Indonesian (~205M).

      Please examine the crypto-Leftist racism in your assumptions before finger-wagging at others.

    • Sterotypes aren’t cool

      The majority of Muslims are not Arab, and the majority of Arab Muslims don’t wear turbans.

  • Confused graduate student

    The costumes clearly depict Bin Laden being captured by American soldiers. I’m sincerely confused by the people who might be offended by this, and hope they will answer a couple of questions. Were you also offended by when people cheered that Bin Laden was killed? Did you also consider people’s jubilant response to that event to be “anti-Muslim” prejudice? If not, why take such an attitude in regards to people dramatizing some variation of it? If you were also offended, doesn’t that say a lot more about your perceptions of Muslims in general (and their relationship to a figure like Bin Laden) than it does about the people wearing those costumes.

    • US Military ’10

      Though I agree that this photo does not seem to be stereotyping the American-Muslim community (while harmful stereotypes leading to hateful acts against said community do exist in our country), I am offended by this photo because it makes costumes of a tremendous act carried out by SEALS Team Six. Triumphalism/cheering/Halloween costumes will look better on the day when we no longer have to kill each other.

  • Former Employee

    Butthurt much?

  • Jewish

    Next person who dresses up as a rabbi is done on this campus. Not having ANY OF IT. BD worker mixes up my last name with another stereotypical Jewish last name and I swear they’re getting fired if it’s the last thing I do.

    Also, it’s a shame that Greek Life is the source of any and all offensiveness on campus. Clearly the administration needs to ban them, as they bring absolutely nothing of value to our school and only serve to disrupt and create discomfort among our student body.

  • Butthurt

    GDIs, amirite?

  • Jack c

    School Administrators, not sure if this is egregiously stupid, anti American, or showing their true socialist colors? I Choose (E.), all of the above. Is this supposed to be a trick question?

  • RealTalk

    honestly, everyone should really just dye their skin some color that we can all agree upon and then wear the same uniform around every day. jesus christ get a grip people. worry about real issues. you want to talk about islam, let’s talk about islam and its oppression of women, its frequent inability to tolerate other religions and clear oppression of homosexuals. you can’t fool me by throwing red herrings out like this trying to detract from the real issues.

    • Learning Student

      Ok, let’s be real here. How many verses of the Qur’an have you read? Your intellectually-void generalizations of Islam only flame harmful stereotypes that the offended students were hurt about. The backwards treatment of women and homosexuals in many Arab states is largely a culturally engrained construct of misogyny, not as directly connected to Islam as you seem to think.

      Are you a student at Wash U? I’m actually concerned now at how anti-Islam your post is. I wish it weren’t so, but perhaps we really do need more culturally open/diverse education on campus.

      • aramkr

        Pay attention to what they DO, not what they or their books Say.

  • CareAboutThingsActuallyMatter

    Received yet ANOTHER university announcement regarding things that don’t matter at all. Just because some people are so easily offended by, well, almost everything that the whole campus has to be dragged into a nonsense debate like this. I just fail to see exactly who would get offended.

  • CountChocula

    My family is from Transylvania and you have NO idea the hardship we suffer EVERY Halloween. I deserve reparations!

  • chuckt12345

    Henry Palmer, you have got to be joking if you think this is offensive,, american heroes killing the most wanted man in america and someone portrays that in halloween and that offends you. If this makes you feel uncomfortable then you will never hack it in the real world. god you make this country suck.

  • It’s an Accurate Costume

    Here is a Google Image Search for Osama Bin Laden. Let me know if any of the outfits look familiar

    http://goo.gl/FX1bmk

  • Henry Palmer

    I expect a statement from IFC. Despicable. Honestly, this is so much worse than the event in BD last year. That was hazy and was worsened by poor reporting. This is an issue that is clearly extremely offensive and makes even me, a white male, feel uncomfortable.

    Maybe students are overreacting to this. But that doesn’t mean that white males can do whatever they want without regard for the feelings for others.

    • Alum11

      That photograph does not look to be all white males to me. It is an Osama Bin Laden costume worn by what looks like to be a non-white student.
      Second, this is no where CLOSE to what happened in BD last year, and that was an overreaction, albeit with understandable outrage.

  • Proud to be an American

    Know who this is really offensive to? American soldiers, who are portrayed as jingoistic, violent executioners. Of course, American soldiers are tough enough not to whine about every minorly-offensive image or phrase they stumble across, so you won’t hear them getting up in arms.

  • ali

    Its not only different colored skin that gets discriminated against, its nationalities too

  • alum

    Hopefully the WashU administration will not give in to the demands of the professionally offended this time around

    http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1319694648885786.jpg

  • ConcernedRationalist

    The level hypersensitivity to issues such as this by students on this campus is absolutely baffling. It is fairly evident that these students are depicting the leader of a terrorist organization that murdered thousands being killed by US Navy Seals. if you are offended by this, then i am offended that you are offended. So many on this campus are out there just looking for reasons to be offended and “raise hell” over something all out of conceit. “raising hell” over instances like this only causes more divisiveness on this campus.

    • sulaymanf

      You’re really not seeing the problem, are you? Put yourself in the shoes of a Muslim student. Nobody I know is mourning Bin Laden’s death, the problem is that we are constantly stereotyped and demonized as a threat to other students. At best, it’s hurtful, and at worst it puts us at fear of hate crimes.

      • Blazingcatfur

        Tsk Tsk not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims. Suck it up Cupcake.

        • Henry Palmer

          Blazingcatfur, you are a terrorist. You are sewing terror into the lives of your own classmates. Muslim students are in fear because of you and comments like this.

          • Santos

            Oh, they’re in fear are they? You mean the kind of fear that non-Muslims felt at the Westgate Mall? The kind of fear the spectators and participants at the Boston Marathon felt? I don’t think it’s quite the same, do you, cupcake?

    • X

      what about the very real experiences of Mahroh Jahangiri and other muslim students at washu? do you seriously think they’re just making stuff up or being “hypersensitive” so people will feel sorry for them? no one WANTS to feel insecure or threatened because of their race/religion/gender/sexuality. regardless of the intentions of the students in the photo, the negative impact the photo had is real, and worth a serious conversation.

      • Mr. Happy

        Yes, they are lying and they are “making stuff up” as a means to silence any criticism of radical Islam. That is exactly what Mahroh Jahangiri and her group is doing.

        When will Mahroh Jahangiri denounce AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, the number two man at Al Qaeda and the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (a Muslim brotherhood offshoot)?
        The MSA is a Muslim Brotherhood directed organization and that has already been proved during the ‘Holy Land’ terror financing trials of a few years back.
        The Muslim Brotherhood was an unindicted conspirator in that trial.
        The Muslim Brotherhood, and her members, have murdered over 3,300 Americans since 1972 via countless acts of terror.

  • CommonSensor

    Cmon man (or woman)… It’s Halloween for God’s sake !!.. it’s not like they were dragging his costumed body through the street behind a camel-colored 76 Dodge Monaco….

  • anon

    Way to go, Phi Delt.

  • Undergrad

    Good god, what a joke. As if Wash U couldn’t be any more indicative of the average mindset of a coddled trust fund suburbanite. It genuinely seems like half of this campus wakes up every morning and starts their day by making a big list of all the ways they can be offended and be a victim that day. I have German heritage and would not be offended if Jewish students on campus did something similar to this on Halloween with Hitler instead of bin Laden nor would I assume the students were being intentionally offensive towards people of German heritage. I would assume Chinese students on campus would not be offended should Mao Zedong be assassinated with plastic squirt guns by a fraternity either. Anyone who is offended by a mock up of a mass murderer being killed should a) visit a psychologist and b) be expelled from this university for offensive stupidity.

    Chelsea and Mahroh, if you need a Band Aid for your feelings you can visit SHS. The rest of us will carry on existing in the real world and worrying about more important matters.

    • ConcernedRationalist

      could not have said it better myself. thank you, undergrad.

    • ali

      don’t agree…you’re obviously not on the receiving end

      • soph

        but… what exactly IS the receiving end…?

        • sulaymanf

          hate crimes, obviously

          • Mr. Happy

            Just how many “hate crimes”, precisely, have occurred at the University of Washington in the last semester involving Muslims as the target?
            The answer is ZERO, so stop smearing MY country and MY PEOPLE with that false accusation.

    • shah

      sounds like a band or album name “Band aid for your feelings”

    • ali

      yes…german heritage…but you probably don’t speak with a german accent…then things would be different

      • Alum2012

        So what you’re saying is that if somebody was to make fun of Hitler, “real” Germans would rush to defend Hitler?

      • anon

        how dare you make an assumption like that

    • V
    • RLande

      Great post!

  • Alum11

    Though I can (somewhat) understand Mahroh Jahangiri’s offense to the photo, I am genuinely curious as to how much “anti-Muslim sentiment” there is on campus. I mean it when I say I am genuinely curious because I am not Muslim and did not witness any negative sentiment towards Muslim students or culture during my time at the university. If there is a problem, then it should be addressed and I apologize for my ignorance of such an issue. If it isn’t, then it should not be manufactured based on a Facebook photo.

    In my opinion, this is another instance of being offended over a minor “incident” that merely divides the cultures on campus more than it unites. This is not explicit racism, or anti-culturalism based on the photo alone, but Ms. Jahangiri seems to jump to that conclusion without knowing any context.

    Is the student in Muslim garb a Muslim himself, or of Middle Eastern origin? If so, he chose this costume and is free to do so. Why is this a problem? If it was his idea, then does the entire photo become permissible? If he is included in the photo as a participant, does he share the blame, or is he a victim?

    Is this a depiction of Osama bin Laden and Navy Seals? If so, then why is this anti-Muslim? It doesn’t target ordinary Muslims, but rather a relevant and important historical event that our entire country celebrated.

    I know that Muslims get a bad rep in this country, and there are many MANY instances of hate and ignorance that are directed towards the Muslim community. This is not one of them…or at least it sure doesn’t look like it.

    Sometimes outrage needs to be reserved for actual problems, lest students and administrators get exhausted from the Crying Wolf that occurs when someone is offended by something. Though dressing as another race/culture is not tasteful, and a lack of taste is not always automatically offensive. Sometimes you just have to take a joke.

    • InAGoldenEye

      You’re right that dressing as a another race is not “tasteful”. However, dressing as another race IS automatically offensive, one way or another, especially when its coupled with violent imagery.

      • chuckt12345

        your right we should portray the man who killed thousands of innocent civilians in a positive light, im sick and tired of extreme minorities telling everyone else what is right and wrong,, gfu and then get the f— out of this country

    • Alum13

      “Sometimes you just have to take a joke.” Unless, you know, you’re someone who has never faced oppression because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Then you never have to take one :-)

      • Alum11

        Everybody has experienced some form of oppression (to different degrees of course), and sometimes humor, even self-deprecating, cultural, race-focused humor, is the best way to deal with it.

        Of course “taking a joke” really only applies when it can be appropriate. Since we’re talking about what looks to be a OBL costume, I think it’s ok :-)

        • Anon

          On “everybody has experienced some form of oppression,” can you give an example of what oppression a middle-class WASP male with an average body build, average IQ, averagely outgoing personality and no apparent accents would face? I understand you’re a well-meaning commentator, so I’m only raising the question because I’m failing to come up with possible oppression they face that would stem from traits/dispositions/associations they are born with. (And this is a genuine question, I’m sorry if it seems ignorant.)

          • ConcernedRationalist

            how about the automatic oppression in the form of affirmative action? how about a white person who suffers from a physical or health issue such as a person with a physical abnormality or even just bad acne. how about a white person who has moved to different region of the world/country with a far different culture from where they are from and is bullied/oppressed. some people need to get of their high horses they think they are on because of their minority status and realize that they aren’t the only ones that face difficult and sometimes oppressive situations.

          • chuckt12345

            every white man in this country is oppressed by people like you telling us what we can and cannot do because it make 3 people upset. GFU

          • Alum11

            It’s a broad stroke, but I think your description itself is enough of an example. You assume they have never faced oppression or been in a minority, and automatically assume this gives them a free pass. Yeah, the WASPy stereotype you describe definitely has it better than most levels of society. Yet people you describe have been victimized, bullied, or attacked for their race/standing, and it does not make the news. Nobody wants to hear about their problems because they aren’t a minority, they don’t know oppression, they don’t know what it’s like. Some of that is correct…but you can’t outright DISMISS someone because of that. Further, the “White Privilege” argument seems to be a crutch used to break down others’ arguments because “they cannot understand”, as though they lack empathy or reason. I look at the bigger picture.

            The bigger message I was sending is that everyone has been made fun of, or has felt some sort of exclusion/victimization, regardless of their creed, race, gender, or social status. Sometimes, humor is the best way to address the ills of society.

            When I see comedians on TV making fun of their own and other races/religions/people, I don’t get offended, I laugh. People are different, and differences can be funny. So long as there is no intention of harm, laughing about stereotypes and differences can be a good way for different cultures to connect.

            This isn’t a picture of white guys in KKK garb surrounding a white guy in blackface. It’s a picture of 4 friends in military costumes over Osama Bin Laden. To assume otherwise is seeking victimization and does more harm than good.

          • Anon

            Alum11, I’m sorry if my comment seemed dismissive, and I appreciate your reply. (I, in fact, also perceive the photo as students dressed up as the military and Bin Laden. I didn’t state this position because It was irrelevant to the question I posed.) I also receive your “bigger message” well.

            I have not personally known cases of “oppression” on a WASP person on the basis of race (“standing” suggests socio-economical standing, which I do see as a source of discrimination), or in the papers. So, I posed the question to seek examples and answers. I did not intend to rule it out as a possibility. I did not know cases, and I want to know. If I were to “automatically assume,” then I would not have had to raise it as a question.

            I also had no intention to use the question as a crutch or accusation – I certainly hope and am willing to believe that there are people with empathy and reason across all groups.

            ConcernedRationalist: Whether affirmative action accounts for “oppression” is debatable. As for the point on physical abnormality/condition, I agree and it’s my fault I had not covered them in my original description.

            chuckt12345: I suggest you review the definition of “oppression” and the history of oppression in your country. I also did not tell you what you or others “can or cannot do”. The hostile assumption was uncalled for and unfounded.

    • Anonamuous

      It’s the Muslims crying wolf that are the problem. Any time Muslims perpetrate a crime against others, they cry out about backlash. BS. There are very few crimes against Muslims that aren’t perpetrated by Muslims; many, such as the woman in CA who was murdered by her husband, are first publicized as hate crimes against Muslims, then, after further investigation are found to be perpetrated by Muslims.

      I’m sure this girl who’s pissy about this is just another Christianophobic Muslim.

  • Anonymous

    Those who think too highly of themselves are easily offended.

  • Arafat

    Just the facts, Jack.
    ………..
    Former MSA members:

    o Anwar al-Awlaki
    , an influential American-born al-Qaida cleric who recruited a series of homegrown jihadists before being killed by a U.S. drone strike;
    o Aafia Siddiqui, convicted of attempted murder and assault on U.S. officers and employees in Afghanistan;
    o Zachary Chesser, convicted of attempting to provide material support to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab and soliciting attacks on “South Park” producers for an episode in which the prophet Muhammad was shown in a bear suit;
    o Jesse Morton, convicted with Chesser of threatening the South Park producers with murder;
    o Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for treason and material support to al-Qaida;
    o Waheed Zaman, who was convicted of plotting to blow up transatlantic flights;
    o Adis Medunjanin, who is awaiting trial for plotting to bomb New York subways;
    o Ramy Zamzam, who was convicted in Pakistan of conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks;
    o Omar Hammami, who was indicted on charges of providing material support to al-Shabbab and is designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for his terrorist connections;
    o Muhammad Junaid Babar, who pled guilty to his support to al-Qaida; and
    o Syed Hashmi, who pled guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida.

    • Alum11

      This has no place here in this discussion, as it does not address anything regarding the event nor the article itself. You’re just fanning the flames and provide more reason as to why there could be Anti-Muslim sentiment, “Arafat”.

      • Hugh Jas

        No, he’s simply presenting facts. Shame on you for turning a blind eye (for an eye?) to such a factual list.
        But then don’t let facts get in the way of the point you are trying to argue….

        • Alum11

          I didn’t once dispute his facts, I just don’t see how they are relevant to this discussion. Are any of those people members of the WashU community? Are any of them involved with our campus MSA? Are any of them quoted in the story? Are any of them in the Facebook photo?

          While we on topic of presenting facts, the factual answer to these questions is “No”. That implies that it is not relevant to the discussion. All it was was a list of Muslim terrorists who were in an MSA and saying “HURRR DURRRR, look at these Muslims and how they are bad!”

          Yeah, real conducive to this conversation…

          • chuckt12345

            should say the same for you thinking this photo represents all arabs in a bad light,, you only see what you want to see.

          • Alum11

            I see a costume of Osama Bin Laden surrounded by Navy Seals. So, what’s your point?

    • sulaymanf

      False and misleading.

      An MSA is merely any Muslim student group, they generally aren’t coordinated with other schools. In the 50 years, there have been tens of millions of students. If I looked at Jewish student clubs going back decades I could also find students who were arrested for taking part in the JDL and other illegal groups or were convicted on violent crimes. Same with Christian clubs.

      You’re trying to smear and fear monger, and it won’t work.

      • Blazingcatfur

        That’s a crock. The MSA is an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • Scrumdidliumptious Bar

    Know what offends me? When people get offended over an “insensitive” depiction of a mass murderer.

    • seymour b

      I know, right? I don’t understand why people are offended when people hang Obama in effigy given his continuation of foreign occupation and drone campaign.

    • ali

      its not what its depicting…its painting them all with the same brush

      • chuckt12345

        so your saying osama represents muslims now? because awhile back the entire muslim community said he does not. If osama does not in anyway represent the muslim community how could this offend you, in fact you should be for it if your against his actions. So young, so dumb. good luck after your history degree

        • sulaymanf

          He does not represent the Muslim community, but to a TON of ignorant Americans, he does, the same way Hitler represents the image of a German in so many Americans’ minds.

          • Ganesha_akbar

            Sounds like a TON of psychological projection on your part.

            Take your Haldol.