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University Downplays Student’s Jihad Threat
Montreal police are investigating a student who made threats against a conservative club at McGill University, even though university officials determined the student’s threats about jihad and wanting to “shoot everyone in the room” were harmless.
A spokesman for the Montreal Police Service told the Toronto Star they take the threat allegedly made by Haaris Khan seriously.
Khan attended a viewing of the documentary “Indoctrinate-U,” sponsored by Conservative McGill, a student organization affiliated with Canada’s Conservative Party. During the viewing, Khan is accused of making death treats using his Twitter account.
“I should have brought an M16,” he allegedly wrote. “I’m watching a Zionist/Conservative propaganda film at a secret Zionist convention, in case anyone’s confused.”
“Indoctrinate-U” is a documentary exposing political correctness on university and college campuses. It explores free speech issues on campuses and how schools sometimes punish people for what the filmmaker calls “mild speech.”
“My blood is boiling,” Khan allegedly tweeted. “I want to shoot everyone in this room.”
The following day, he allegedly tweeted, “The jihad begins today.”
Alexandre Meterissian, a member of the conservative organization, filed a complaint with campus security.
“I found it really disturbing that he would write those kinds of things,” Meterissian told Fox News Radio. “Those kinds of things are serious. It’s not funny. You have to be held liable for what you say on the Internet.”
Khan’s only comments on the incident were published in the student newspaper, the McGill Tribune.
“Whatever comes into my mind, I say it on Twitter,” he told the newspaper. “It’s kind of my outlet.
Khan apologized and said his tweets had been taken out of context, noting that he did not own a gun and he was not particularly religious.
Meterissian said he was more upset over the university’s response.
“The university really hasn’t been taking this seriously,” he said. “They didn’t deem it a big enough threat to inform the students or even consider suspending or expelling the student.”
McGill University’s deputy provost released a written statement saying they came to the conclusion that the Twitter messages did not constitute a threat to the university.
“There have been suggestions that the university should have issued a broader alert to the community about the messages,” he wrote in a statement posted on the university’s website. “But we must avoid causing needless panic or delivering ‘false alarms’ that could lead to complacency in the event of real threats in the future.”
“We are aware that some who learned of the messages were very concerned about their safety, and understandably so,” he wrote. “We have tried to reassure them.”
Evan Maloney, the independent filmmaker who directed “Indoctrinate-U,” said he’s not surprised by what happened at McGill University.
“It’s not only nationwide, it seems to be affected a lot of western countries in general,” Maloney told Fox News Radio. “Its ironic that tame, political speech can get you in trouble and yet when you issue death threats against a group of right-of-center students, that’s not something a university is going to punish.”
“It underscores the central premise of the film that students today are being taught that it’s okay to go out of your way to punish political speech and shut up speech you don’t agree with,” Maloney told Fox News Radio. “That’s essentially what this student was doing. He was watching a film he didn’t like and his first inclination was to start issuing death threats and wishing for the elimination of students who shared political views that differed from his own.”