[Note: photographs appearing in the link above have been removed. They may be viewed by following the link.]
University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann threw her annual Halloween costume party at her home Tuesday night. Among the guests was Saad Saadi, who came dressed as a suicide bomber, complete with plastic dynamite strapped to his chest and a toy automatic rifle. Worse, Gutmann posed with Saadi!
An obvious question: would Gutmann have posed with a guest--or even allowed him into her house--if he'd dressed as Adolf Hitler or a Nazi SS officer? A KKK member?
But in modern liberal circles, posing as a Palestinian suicide bomber (see his kefiya) is just fine. After all, he mainly tries to kill innocent Jews.
Addendum: Moreover, suicide bombers worldwide kill not only Jews, nor do they strike only in Israel. They maim and kill US and allied servicemen and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iraqi Arabs and Kurds, Afghan civilians, Pakistanis, Arabs in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, Sri Lankans, Indonesians, and countless others.
In the photo below, Saadi pretends to execute a "hostage." Would a guest get away with pretending to lynch someone?
The original caption to the photo below: "Influencing a future Mujahideen."
In the next photo, the original caption read: "Freedom fighter and freedom statue pose for a picture." Saadi must be a fan of Reuters.
Original caption for this photo: "Another take down...more prayer verses were read." Remember: this isn't a frat house or a cabin in the woods. These photos were taken at a party thrown by Penn's president at her home.
Original caption for this one: "Another hostage shot. This is my favorite one."
(Note: As of Friday night, Nov. 3, Saadi had removed all of the Halloween party photos from his web site, along with the apology quoted below.)
Update: Saad Saadi has a web site, at which he has posted many photographs along with the apology posted below.
My friend, Jason, and I express our condolences and sympathy to all affected by our costumes. We wish to make it clear that we do not support terrorism, violence, or anything that is against society. There is no agenda or statement associated with our behavior shown in these pictures. The costumes are meant to portray scary characters much like many other costumes on Halloween. Additionally, we strive for all societies to instill healthy and non-violent values.
Update II: I came about these photos because I'm the director of Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. We monitor Middle East studies in North America, critique them, and do our best to bring attention what's going on in the discipline--all with an eye toward improving the study and teaching of the Middle East. Our site has a huge archive of articles on all manner of Middle East studies, including many that we commissioned. I also maintain a blog at CW, and these photos and commentary are posted there. If this story intests you, so will Campus Watch.