The Village Voice is reporting that the Air Force Academy in Colorado is coming under fire for inviting three men (one of whom being Walid Shoebat) claiming to be “reformed Muslim terrorists” to give a conference about terrorism and religion.
The three were paid $13,000 to speak about counter-terrorism strategies at the American Assembly-sponsored event. (American Assembly’s website boasts of an affiliation with Columbia, but doesn’t provide any details about the relationship.) Many Columbia students and alums were in attendance, including Omar Khalifah, CC ’06, who expressed anger that the speakers spoke less about the terrorist mindset and more about their conversion to Christianity and the denouncing of Islam.
One of the most inflammatory parts of their speech came when Walid Shoebat announced that “converting Muslims to Christianity was a good way to defeat terrorism.” The veracity of some of the claims and self-professed terrorist activities of the men also came into question.
You might remember that Shoebat came and spoke at a Columbia College Republicans-sponsored event last year. Shoebat’s appearance at Columbia was infamous for an advertising campaign for the event included that the plastering of flyers in the Muslim Student Association’s office that read: “Event at Columbia Challenges Muslim Groups.”
Admitted the American Assembly after the conference at the Air Force Academy: “They did not come across to me as credible representatives of anything.”