Coming to a Campus Near You: ‘American Sniper,’ and Hard Conversations

A student offers roses to people showing up for a screening of the controversial film at the U. of Maryland at College Park on Monday evening. The Muslim Students Association had protested how the movie depicts Arab people. Greg Kahn for The Chronicle

Since its release, in January, the film American Sniper has been a vehicle for heated conversations about national pride or, depending on your politics, shame. And this spring, many of those pointed discussions have played out on college campuses, where the film has generated protests, counterprotests, and hard conversations about religion, race, and violence.

At the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor last month, a student group canceled a screening of the film after a petition circulated objecting to its portrayal of Muslims. Counterprotests caused the college to put it back on, but in “a separate forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue and reflection.” A similar petition circulated at George Mason University, but a three-day screening went ahead, and some students organized to demand the film be screened again.

At the University of Maryland’s flagship here, complaints from the Muslim Students Association had prompted a student group to postpone a screening scheduled for earlier this month. But the college was then deluged with angry messages from supporters of the film, and the campus’s College Democrats and College Republicans stepped in to sponsor a screening followed by a panel discussion.

The swirling controversy in College Park presented a visceral picture of how college students take sides in, and can sometimes struggle to make sense of, battles that cut across a range of sensitive subjects at the fault lines of American society…

The students who object to it should simply not go and see it.  The Muslims have to realize that the whole world is not going to rearrange itself owing to their delicate feelings. 

  • Justin St.Denis

    I’m all for launching the “Age of ‘Fuck Feelings'”.

    In the Age of Fuck Feelings, the civilized man can advance to the accomplishment of incredible feats of science and technology, improved and better lifestyle for everyone, and a social contract that regards free speech, the right to bear arms, and law and order as fundamental.

  • El Martyachi
    • disqus_W6sfZCiOd8


  • Zaba

    The Muslims have to realize……

    Ain’t happening.
    We know that know.
    What’s plan B?

    • canminuteman

      Plan B is to wait until there are enough of them around that they can try again to enforce their will.

      • Zaba

        Plan B for the West…….

  • Gary

    This pro-sharia islamists won’t stop , they will keep it up until they are the majority to dominate and then the threat of terrorism kicks in to make it easy for their future demands .
    Muslims in Dearborn played the part of the victim when they were the Minority that just wanted a small prayer space in schools and businesses.
    Now the muslims are the majority and they demanded that local Churches stop ringing their bells as did the Nazi’s when they took over Paris, this tactic will make it hell for non-muslims to live there and they will leave which means that muslims will claim the land for allah as a caliphate and no-go zone run by sharia law.

  • Joy Freiheit

    On a different note, those flowers are carnations, not roses. I cannot open the Chronicle page, to check if anyone has mentioned this already. Different colours of carnations carry different symbolic messages. According to some sites, white carnations suggest pure love and good luck, light red symbolizes admiration and deep red symbolises deep affection, but Wikipedia also associates deep red with socialism and the labour movement.

    • Minicapt

      Carnations for Mother’s Day: red if Mother lives, white if she is deceased.


  • The negative image of Arabs projected in American Sniper is well-earned. If anything it is less negative than it ought to be objectively.

  • Fact: If you try to quit Islam, some other Muslim will try to kill you.

    That makes Islam a cult.

    Yes there may be pleasant cult members.

    So what.

    Islam is still a cult. And there are way too many cult members willing to kill.

  • John

    The gap between reality and the way that reality is reflected in art is astounding. In the40s Hollywood made movies about WWII because that war was central to the era. In the 60s Hollywood made movies about civil rights and race relations because those themes dominated the decade.

    Nowadays Islam and its violence dominate the news, and yet hollywood simply refuses to make movies on the subject. Hollywood has always made art that reflected the issues of the day, but with Islam the movie industry falls silent refusing to even touch the subject.

    Back in 1939 Gary Cooper starred in a very popular film about Americans fighting jihadists in the southern Philippines. The movie clearly outlined the tactics/deceptions employed by jihadists and despite the restrictions of the day it even mentioned how these Muslims would never hesitate to kill the men and then take the women and children as slaves. It was called ‘The Real Glory’. Such a movie would never be made in 2015

  • James Oswald

    Muslims have seen the whole country rearrange itself to accomodate the delicate feelings of African-americans. Microagression, disparate impact, etc. Muslims are only asking for Americans to bend over backwards for them…like they do for African-americans