RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Controversy is brewing after the president of Liberty University urged students to arm themselves in light of the mass shootings in California.
Jerry Falwell Jr. made the comments during the school’s weekly convocation. Falwell also said that if more people had concealed carry permits they could “end those Muslims before they walk in and kill.”
When asked to clarify the statements, Falwell said he was not talking about all Muslims, but rather those who perpetuate attacks.
Liberty University has more than 14,000 students on its Lynchburg, Virginia campus.
Bilal Quraishi is a member of the Muslim Student Association at Virginia Commonwealth University. Quraishi told 8News he and his friends were troubled by Falwell’s comments, but grateful to attend a university with a more inclusive approach.
“It’s obviously really concerning, Quraishi said of Falwell’s remarks. “I don’t think anyone in that position should be saying statements like that. I think they should have a more level head.”
VCU’s own president took a different approach when addressing the California shootings.
In a letter to students, Michael Rao said:
“There is real danger in confusing the barbaric acts of radical groups with the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today who are citizens of good standing in their nations and who abhor this treachery along with the rest of the world.
Our Muslim classmates, colleagues, neighbors and friends wish for peace to the same degree as the rest of us. As a community, we at VCU must unite to insist on building and leading a climate of mutual respect and create a safe place for the free exchange of ideas and viewpoints to include religious and cultural differences.”
“Luckily we’ve been blessed with a more progressive and open-mined community here in Richmond,” said Quraishi. “We’ve always had very good support from everyone, especially from the inter-faith community.”
In the next semester, VCU will have a series of campus events to engage in dialogue on the issue.Copyright 2015 WRIC. All rights reserved.