Published April 24, 2006
LANSING, Michigan – An Islamic rights group on Monday urged Michigan State University to discipline an engineering professor for disparaging Muslims in an e-mail he sent to the school's Muslim Students' Association.
Indrek Wichman, a mechanical engineering professor, sent an e-mail to the student group Feb. 28 — apparently in response to its protests of controversial Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The students had labeled the cartoons as hate speech, not free speech.
Wichman, 50, wrote that he was protesting their protest and said he was not offended by cartoons but rather Muslims who commit suicide bombings, behead civilians, attack public buildings, burn Christian churches, kill Catholic priests in Turkey, rape Scandinavian girls and riot in France.
Wichman referred to Muslims as "dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems" and the protests as "infantile" in the e-mail. "If you do not like the values of the West . . . you are free to leave. I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option."
Wichman declined to comment when contacted Monday by The Associated Press.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Michigan State officials should publicly denounce Wichman's statements and conduct an investigation. The results of the probe should be made public, and Wichman should at least have a letter of reprimand placed in his file, Walid said.
The group also wants Wichman and other faculty to receive sensitivity training before the fall semester.
University spokesman Terry Denbow said the school would not publicly condemn Wichman's statements because they were private and did not represent the school in any way. But he added that Wichman has been advised to be careful in the future.