Readers Respond

UM student group pulls 'American Sniper' from spring film line-up after complaints from Muslim student group

A University of Maryland, College Park student group pulled "American Sniper" from its spring movie lineup after a Muslim student group complained that the film promoted Islamophobia.

The group, Student Entertainment Events, announced on its website Wednesday that it had canceled the May showings of the film.


SEE said it was contemplating a future event "where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film."

"SEE supports freedom of expression and hopes to create space for the airing of opposing viewpoints and differing perceptions," the group wrote. "While not easy, we want to start having these hard conversations."


More than 300 people signed a petition started by the Muslim Student Association that describes the film as "war propaganda guised as art [that] reveals a not-so-discreet Islamaphobic, violent, and racist nationalist ideology."

"This movie dehumanizes Muslim individuals, promotes the idea of senseless mass murder, and portrays negative and inaccurate stereotypes," the creators of the petition wrote. "This movie serves to do nothing but make a mockery out of such immense pain."

The decision to postpone the showing of the film touched off a storm on social media. Commenters on SEE's Facebook page called the members of the group "cowards" and "treasonous."

State Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican, urged supporters in an email to contact the university and ask it to reinstate the film.

A university spokeswoman said that SEE is an independent, student-run organization. University officials do not decide which films the group shows on campus, she said.

The film, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on sniper Chris Kyle's memoir about serving in the Iraq War. It was nominated for six Academy Awards and was the highest-grossing film of 2014.