New York school latest to ban 'American Sniper'

by Joni B. Hannigan |

(Warner Bros.)

TROY, N.Y. (Christian Examiner) – American Sniper will not air tonight at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) after school officials canceled the critically acclaimed film following a request by the school's Muslim Student Association, according to an article in Campus Reform.

The action comes on the heels of a complete reversal by the University of Michigan which initially planned to show the movie about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle tonight as well, but decided to show "Paddington" instead after a similar complaint by its Muslim Students' Association and a Palestinian solidarity group, according to Fox News.

"The movie 'American Sniper' not only tolerates but promotes 'anti-Muslim and anti-MENA rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer. Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians."
- MENA students at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan changed its mind late Thursday night, however, Fox reported, and the show will go on.

"It was a mistake to cancel the showing of the movie ''American Sniper' on campus as part of a social event for students," said E. Royster Harper, the university's vice president for student life.

At Rensselaer Polytechnic, a Facebook post says, RPI has long upheld the values of respect and coexistence, thus it is only our highest concern that this screening would not create any tensions or hatred among students at RPI."

The story notes a student created a petition with over 250 signatures, demanding the scheduled showing go on.

Several "anonymous" students responded to the Campus Reform article, noting the school's cinema has shown violent movies in the past, such as The Wolf of Wall Street and Selma.

RPI has said it has postponed American Sniper to be shown later in conjunction with an "educational forum."

At the University of Michigan, where over 43,000 students are reportedly enrolled, the film was canceled Tuesday after 300 students complained and circulated an online letter, according to an article in the college newspaper. 

In the Michigan controversy, Fox News reported MENA, the group of Muslim, Middle Eastern and North African students protesting the movie, had stated, in part:

"The movie 'American Sniper' not only tolerates but promotes 'anti-Muslim and anti-MENA rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer. Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians."

Todd Starnes, Fox News commentator, in his column exposing the controversy, wrote, in part:

While we're on the subject of perpetrating negative stereotypes -- what about the Islamists who attacked the Boston Marathon or the Islamist who committed jihad at Fort Hood or the Islamist who tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his underpants?

...

By the way -- you know what makes me feel unsafe? Islamic jihadists beheading people and blowing up churches and flying jetliners into buildings and slaughtering Christian college students -- that's what makes me feel unsafe.

On the other hand, Americans like Chris Kyle make me feel safe. He was a man who was willing to put his life on the line to protect our nation – our freedom. He was a hero - a patriot - a fellow countryman.

The Muslim Student Association at the University of Michigan and their supporters smeared this man's good name. Mr. Kyle's family is owed an apology.