On Friday, October 26, British Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairman Nick Griffin attempted to deliver a speech at Michigan State University on the "Islamization of Europe." According to the Michigan Messenger, some 30 people showed up in support and another 75 to protest.
The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance, which was greeted with loud boos from protesters. Kyle Bristow, chairman of the Michigan State University Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF), introduced Griffin. At the end of his introduction, Bristow showed his defiance to the protesters by declaring, "You cannot take our hearts, you cannot take our tongues, and you cannot take our freedom!" These are the words Griffin had spoken following his acquittal of the charge of inciting racial hatred for his description of Islam as a "wicked, vicious faith."
The Griffin event was videotaped and video footage is available on MSU-YAF’s blog, the Spartan Spectator.
Prior to the event, groups such as the Young Democratic Socialist Club, Anti-Racist Action (which was bussed in from Detroit to disrupt the event), Students for Economic Justice, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), Chicanos y Latinos Unidos, La Raza, and various other left-wing extremist organizations held a protest in which they beat an effigy of Nick Griffin. The protesters are pictured below.
The onslaught of verbal abuse made it difficult for Griffin to deliver his planned hour-long speech. As the video footage clearly shows, the "tolerant" liberals tried shout him down. At one point someone even pulled a fire alarm. Refusing to yield, however, Griffin spent his allotted time taking questions from the audience.
Immediately after the event, Bristow reports that approximately six supporters of Griffin were chased by protesters wielding baseball bats, canes, and sticks. Fortunately, no one was harmed. In a press release posted on the Spartan Spectator, Bristow said that he was "amazed at the level of savagery that occurred at a so-called institution of higher learning."
The Griffin event was not the first time that "savagery" was on display at MSU. Last November, MSU-YAF hosted Rep. Tom Tancredo, whose speech on immigration was also greeted with loud shouts from protesters. Bristow says that the protestors destroyed a digital camera, spat on YAF members, kicked YAF members, pulled fire alarms, and, following the event, slashed the tires and keyed the cars of YAF members. Both the O’Reilly Factor and the Hannity & Colmes Show covered the event.
In April, YAF hosted Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. Protesters shouted the speaker down until police intervened. Video footage of the event is available on YouTube. The event was also covered by Fox News. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) placed MSU-YAF on its list of "hate groups" following Tancredo’s speech at MSU. However, YAF remains defiant. Indeed, they recently announced on their blog that they plan on bringing Simcox back to campus on November 13.
MSU-YAF seems to make all the right enemies. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the group is behind 2 of the 23 "extremist" events that have been held in Michigan. After YAF hosts Simcox in November, they will be responsible for 3 of the 24 "extremist" events in Michigan, making them responsible for a full 12.5% of all "extremist" events that have taken place in the state.
MSU-YAF has also hosted speeches by Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian, author of the upcoming The Born Gay Hoax Ryan Sorba, and many others. On election night 2006, when Michigan passed Proposition 209 and banned race preferences, Jennifer Gratz thanked MSU-YAF in her victory speech for helping to defeat affirmative action in the state.
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