Protesters gathered at Moore Hall on Thursday night while a panel of three discussed the influence of Islamic totalitarianism on Western society.
UCLA student group L.O.G.I.C. (Liberty, Objectivity, Greed, Individualism and Capitalism), a campus organization that is dedicated to pursuing the ideas of Ayn Rand, hosted the event, titled "Totalitarian Islam's Threat to the West."
Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute Yaron Brook, who works closely with L.O.G.I.C., was among the panelists.
"Totalitarian ideologies dedicated to the use of force cannot be reasoned with," Brook said. "They need to be crushed."
Students came to the panel ready with signs and shouts to protest the panelists' message.
"We came to give a counter message to the hate speak and call for peaceful protesting," said Samantha Miller, a member of Students for a Democratic Society and protester outside of the panel.
Director of the Middle East Forum Dr. Daniel Pipes was another panelist, and literature distributed at the event by the Muslim Students Association referred to him as an anti-Muslim propagandist.
Syrian American writer Wafa Sultan was also present, and named the Islamic threat to the West as a "battle between modernity and barbarism," event moderator Edwin Locke said.
Panel members called "radical Islam" the enemy and called for the modernization of the religion.
Brook said Islamic ideology is contrary to the values of the present-day Western society, including freedom of speech and association.
Sultan agreed, hailing the modernization of the Islamic religion as the solution.
Protesters in the audience stood up and left at the discussion of modernizing Islam, with one audience member calling the panelists liars, while others shouted "out" in response.
Students from the Muslim Student Association at UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Irvine were also among those seeking to voice their opposition.
President of UCLA MSA Sabiha Ameen called the event's speakers "Islamophobic," or anti-Islam.
"What we hate is the hate speech and the Islamophobic rhetoric," Ameen said.
Students like those in opposition at the event were part of the problem, Pipes said, referring to what he called the hypocritical nature of MSA.
He said the differences between American values and the values of Islamic totalitarianism are "deeply irreconcilable."
The panel called for the current Iraq war to be elevated into complete annihilation of totalitarian Islam.
"We need a real war," Brook said. "We need a war like World War II; a war with unconditional defeat at the end of the day."
His solution is dependent on violence, as he called for violent means as a way of gaining strength.
Protesters disagreed and could be heard outside while the panel spoke.
Before the event began, they were notified that disruption during the discussion would not be tolerated.
But neither protesters nor those in favor of L.O.G.I.C. argued against the importance of free speech.
L.O.G.I.C. Chief Executive Officer Arthur Lechtholz-Zey, who organized the event, said he simply wanted the panel to be able to speak without interruption within the lecture hall.
MSA complied and decided to bring its protest outside.
"We do respect free speech and that is why we got up and left the room," Ameen said.
Lechtholz-Zey organized the panel, specifically endorsing Brook, and said he disagreed with MSA's protests.
"They certainly have the right to free speech," he said. "However, I disagree vehemently with what they are saying."