- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Four students were arrested at Eastern Michigan University on Friday after disrupting a screening of “American Sniper.”

Roughly 35 students walked onto the stage at the Student Center Auditorium to protest the 8 p.m. screening, which was briefly disrupted. Protesters held signs that defined propaganda and asked, “Is this your idea of dialogue?” the university’s student newspaper The Echo reported.

Protest leaders Ahmed Abbas, Layali Alsadah, Jenna Hamed and Sabreen Dari were arrested for disturbing the peace. They were released 40 minutes later, and no charges were filed, The Echo reported.

The Friday 10 p.m. showing was later canceled. University spokesman Geoff Larcom told Campus Reform that the second showing was canceled because of the late time and until there is further discussion about the controversial film.

Student Body President Desmond Miller, however, said the decision to cancel the second showing was a joint-decision he made with EMU President Susan Martin, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Calvin Phillips and Campus Life coordinator of arts, entertainment and marketing Gregg Costanzo, Campus Reform reported.

“The conversation we had wanted to make sure student safety was at the forefront,” Mr. Miller told The Echo. “We wanted to make sure whatever happens, students would be safe. The second part of it, which is actually just as important as the first part, was making sure we have a very serious dialogue about the movie and the propaganda associated with this movie.”

Mr. Abbas said his arrest was an injustice because the university can’t stand to be challenged.

“We are never allowed to challenge [administration]. When we do, we get arrested and we are taken in,” he said. “That is the issue here that we have. Administration that says Campus Life is supposed to be about students [and students] have no right to challenge them in what we want and what we should be watching.”

“They don’t care about student dignity or respect,” Mr. Abbas said. “That is our mission. Moving forward from today, in the weeks ahead, we are going to be in meetings. This is a chance to get what students want.”

Several universities across the country have faced backlash from student protesters for decisions to show the award-winning Chris Kyle biopic. The protesters say the film negatively portrays Muslims and glorifies a killer.

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