Fact Check

Professor Indrek Wichman E-mail

Did a Michigan professor send an e-mail telling Muslim students to leave the country?

Published Jun 26, 2006


Claim:   A Michigan professor sent an e-mail telling Muslim students to leave the country.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

Hooray for Michigan State University (The Spartans) and Professor Wichman!!!

Well, what do we have here. Looks like a small case of some people being able to dish it out, but not take it. Let's start at the top. The story begins at Michigan State University with a mechanical engineering professor named Indrek Wichman.

Wichman sent an e-mail to the Muslim Student's Association. The e-mail was in response to the students' protest of the Danish cartoons that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. The group had complained the cartoons were "hate speech."

Enter Professor Wichman. In his e-mail, he said the following:

Dear Moslem Association:

As a professor of Mechanical Engineering here at MSU I intend to protest your protest. I am offended not by cartoons, but by more mundane things like beheadings of civilians, cowardly attacks on public buildings,
suicide murders, murders of Catholic priests (the latest in Turkey!), burnings of Christian churches, the continued persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the imposition of Sharia law on non-Muslims, the rapes of Scandinavian girls and women (called "whores" in your culture), the murder of film directors in Holland, and the rioting and looting in Paris France.

This is what offends me, a soft-spoken person and academic, and many, many, many of my colleagues. I counsel you dissatisfied, aggressive, brutal, and uncivilized slave-trading Moslems to be very aware of this as you proceeded with your infantile "protests." If you do not like the values of the West — see the 1st Amendment — you are free to leave.

I hope for God's sake that most of you choose that option.

Please return to your ancestral homelands and build them up yourselves instead of troubling Americans.


I. S. Wichman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Well! As you can imagine, the Muslim group at the university didn't like this too well. They're demanding Wichman be reprimanded and mandatory diversity training for faculty and a seminar on hate and discrimination for freshman. How nice. But now the Michigan chapter of CAIR has jumped into the fray. CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, apparently doesn't believe that the good professor had the right to express his opinion.

For its part, the university is standing its ground. They say the e-mail was private, and they don't intend to publicly condemn his remarks. That will probably change. Wichman says he never intended the e-mail to be made public, and wouldn't have used the same strong language if he'd known it was going to get out.

How's the left going to handle this one? If you're in favor of the freedom of speech, as in the case of Ward Churchill, will the same protections be demanded for Indrek Wichman? I doubt it.

Hey folks, send this to everybody and ask them to do the same and tell them to keep passing it around till the whole country gets it.

We are in a war.


Origins:   On 28 February 2006, Professor Indrek Wichman, a tenured professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), sent the e-mail embedded in the example above to

the Muslim Students' Association of Michigan State University. The message was a response to the Muslim group's having handed out free cocoa during a public awareness event about controversial cartoons that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist. Wichman's letter prompted the Muslim Students' Association

and twelve other student and advocacy groups to call upon the university to officially reprimand the professor.

MSU officials have declined to issue a reprimand, saying Wichman's comments constitute free speech. Terry Denbow, spokesman for MSU, said while Wichman's views in no way represent the university's views, they do not violate the university's antidiscrimination policy. However, Denbow noted, Wichman "was cautioned that any additional commentary ... could constitute the creation of a hostile environment, and that could ... form the basis of a complaint" under the school's antidiscrimination policy.

Wichman told the Detroit News the letter had been intended for a one particular person, not the entirety of the Muslim Students' Association; he had believed the e-mail address he used was that one student's inbox. However, students who lead the association said the e-mail address was part of the group's official Web site.

The professor expressed in interviews that he had regrets about the e-mail: "I used strong language in a private communication that I would certainly not have used if this communication would have gone public. ... For the record, I thought it was a private communication and it was written in haste. I think a very minor thing has been blown completely out of proportion. I wrote it in 60 seconds. It was not like I sat and pondered over this thing for days. It was like you talking one night to your wife or your kids."

Last updated:   11 April 2011


    Eggert, David.   "Michigan State Asked to Punish Professor for Anti-Muslim E-mail."

    Associated Press.   24 April 2006.

    Higgins, Lori and Niraj Wariloo.   "Professor's E-mail Outrages Muslims."

    Detroit Free Press.   24 April 2006.

    Krupa, Gregg.   "MSU Prof Says E-mail Biased."

    Detroit News.   25 April 2006.

    U.S. Newswire.   "Mich. Prof Tells Muslim Students to Leave America."

    24 April 2006.

    UPI.   "Professor Regrets E-mail About Muslims."

    25 April 2006.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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