The conclusion: How US Army War College finally handled anti-Islamist speech

On February 26, 2020, I spoke at the U.S. Army War College's Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pa.  The title (and topic) of my talk was lifted from my last book: Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.

Since then, I have received a number of questions concerning the event — how it was, how I was, if there were any disruptions, if the event even took place at all — which I hereby try to answer. 

First, as many know, the terrorist-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations ("CAIR") tried again through press releases and petitions to get my talk canceled.  It failed. 

Secondly, everything went smoothly and properly.  The Army Education & Heritage folks were professional and courteous.  The two main heads of the U.S. Army War College, which people — both those who protested letting me speak (CAIR, etc.) and those who supported free speech (ten congressmen, the National Association of Scholars, etc.) — directed their appeals to were also present: M.G. John S. Kem, the commandant of the U.S. Army War College, and its provost, Dr. James G. Breckenridge.

Both greeted and spoke with me briefly and sat in the front and center row for the duration of my talk (an hour, followed by Q&A).  Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, director of the Army Heritage & Education Center, which hosted the event, was also present and agreeable.

I heard various numbers from staff concerning how many people attended — as many as "nearly 300."  The large events room certainly did seem packed.

I saw no protests or disruptions of any sort, including during the Q&A (this was, after all, at a secure military facility).

Right after the event, a colleague emailed me asking how I did.  One of the several people copied on this email — who I subsequently learned had attended the event — gave a comprehensive response.  I liked it very much — not least due to its enthusiastic and "live" feel, as it was written very soon after the event had ended.  As such, I thought it would be nice to share her account publicly, for the benefit of all those many people who had a stake in seeing this talk — that is, in seeing free speech about Islam — go through.  She graciously agreed.  What follows are the exact words of Stacey Swain, a retired Navy lt. cdr., as they appeared in an email from her responding to someone else asking me how I did:

Mr. Ibrahim was MASTERFUL.  The room was packed, and people were riveted.  Frankly, I can't say enough.  I learned so much last night – to include some of the quotes Mr. Ibrahim mentioned that fascinated me – and that I probably should have heard before.  I must say I felt like a bit of a clod that I didn't know some of this information already.  The questions after the presentation were interesting – though some made me want to tear my hair out for the way they clearly were trying to manipulate this presentation and subject matter; others really reinforced my faith that people may finally be "getting it."  For a few of the questions that obviously had motives behind them, Raymond was unshakable, professional, direct and steadfast in his answers; so much so that I quietly laughed at one of them, turned to the friend next to me and mouthed the word, "BOOM" (mic drop) after he gave his answer.  I was the guest of a friend – a retired Army LTC and Congressional chief of staff – who I thanked no less than 10 times for inviting me to this presentation, and who laughed as I was actively searching for Raymond's Facebook page, and then ordered his book while I was sitting and listening.  I don't want to be melodramatic, but he was THAT good.  Mr. Ibrahim doesn't opine, interpret, judge and accuse; he delivers his message through what was clearly painstaking research and historical fact - period.  The presentation was magnificent.  I can't say enough.

Finally, I was informed that the entire lecture was videotaped and will eventually be made available online. 

On February 26, 2020, I spoke at the U.S. Army War College's Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pa.  The title (and topic) of my talk was lifted from my last book: Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West.

Since then, I have received a number of questions concerning the event — how it was, how I was, if there were any disruptions, if the event even took place at all — which I hereby try to answer. 

First, as many know, the terrorist-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations ("CAIR") tried again through press releases and petitions to get my talk canceled.  It failed. 

Secondly, everything went smoothly and properly.  The Army Education & Heritage folks were professional and courteous.  The two main heads of the U.S. Army War College, which people — both those who protested letting me speak (CAIR, etc.) and those who supported free speech (ten congressmen, the National Association of Scholars, etc.) — directed their appeals to were also present: M.G. John S. Kem, the commandant of the U.S. Army War College, and its provost, Dr. James G. Breckenridge.

Both greeted and spoke with me briefly and sat in the front and center row for the duration of my talk (an hour, followed by Q&A).  Geoffrey Mangelsdorf, director of the Army Heritage & Education Center, which hosted the event, was also present and agreeable.

I heard various numbers from staff concerning how many people attended — as many as "nearly 300."  The large events room certainly did seem packed.

I saw no protests or disruptions of any sort, including during the Q&A (this was, after all, at a secure military facility).

Right after the event, a colleague emailed me asking how I did.  One of the several people copied on this email — who I subsequently learned had attended the event — gave a comprehensive response.  I liked it very much — not least due to its enthusiastic and "live" feel, as it was written very soon after the event had ended.  As such, I thought it would be nice to share her account publicly, for the benefit of all those many people who had a stake in seeing this talk — that is, in seeing free speech about Islam — go through.  She graciously agreed.  What follows are the exact words of Stacey Swain, a retired Navy lt. cdr., as they appeared in an email from her responding to someone else asking me how I did:

Mr. Ibrahim was MASTERFUL.  The room was packed, and people were riveted.  Frankly, I can't say enough.  I learned so much last night – to include some of the quotes Mr. Ibrahim mentioned that fascinated me – and that I probably should have heard before.  I must say I felt like a bit of a clod that I didn't know some of this information already.  The questions after the presentation were interesting – though some made me want to tear my hair out for the way they clearly were trying to manipulate this presentation and subject matter; others really reinforced my faith that people may finally be "getting it."  For a few of the questions that obviously had motives behind them, Raymond was unshakable, professional, direct and steadfast in his answers; so much so that I quietly laughed at one of them, turned to the friend next to me and mouthed the word, "BOOM" (mic drop) after he gave his answer.  I was the guest of a friend – a retired Army LTC and Congressional chief of staff – who I thanked no less than 10 times for inviting me to this presentation, and who laughed as I was actively searching for Raymond's Facebook page, and then ordered his book while I was sitting and listening.  I don't want to be melodramatic, but he was THAT good.  Mr. Ibrahim doesn't opine, interpret, judge and accuse; he delivers his message through what was clearly painstaking research and historical fact - period.  The presentation was magnificent.  I can't say enough.

Finally, I was informed that the entire lecture was videotaped and will eventually be made available online.