NU releases statement after anger over NU-Q professor’s tweet about 9/11

Arya Mainali, Staff Reporter

Northwestern University has criticized an NU-Q professor’s tweet about the 9/11 terrorist attacks anniversary, calling the professor’s remark “disgraceful” and “insensitive.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 11,  NU-Q Associate Professor in Residence Justin Martin posted on Twitter: “Happy 9/11 more than 8,441 civilians died in Yemen this year helped by US arms dealt to Saudi Arabia & UAE. The US is complicit in far more terror than it has ever suffered.”

On behalf of the university, President Morton Schapiro and Provost Jonathan Holloway have written that Martin’s views, “as his Twitter profile states . . . are his own. Northwestern University finds it disgraceful that he makes light of the horrors of 9/11. This is insensitive and deeply disappointing, particularly on the anniversary of the terror attacks.”

When asked by The Daily Q what he thought of reactions to his tweet, Martin wrote:

“If I could write the post anew, I’d replace “Happy” with “It’s”: “It’s 9/11…” While I don’t think most readers felt I was happy about 9/11, the use of that word wasn’t helpful, and it’s not likely that it did much for civilians dying in Yemen, either. I regret that.”

After NU released its statement, Martin tweeted that he didn’t agree that he had “made light of 9/11, but rather criticized disparity in how terror victims are acknowledged in different places.”

Several hours after his email exchange with The Daily Q, Martin also tweeted an apology: “I do regret the poor wording in the original tweet. ‘Happy’ is not how I remember 9/11, and I apologize to 9/11 survivors and others I offended.”

Martin’s original tweet was featured on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle and has since received hundreds of replies, mostly from users expressing disdain and anger.

On Thursday, Martin tweeted that he has received death threats via social media and email and posted screenshots of some of these threatening messages.

The controversy has started a conversation among students at NU-Q; some students agreed with the underlying facts of Martin’s tweet.

Sofian Mesraoua, a second-year student at NU-Q, said in an interview with The Daily Q, “I agreed with the content of the tweet, even though it was meant to be purposefully inflammatory with that first line.”

However, Shereena Qazi, an NU-Q alumna and journalist at Al Jazeera English, tweeted in reply, “I wish solidarity with the victims of war and terrorism was expressed in a less inflammatory way, otherwise it just yields more hatred and division. It’s attention seeking for some, while ground reality for others.”

The Daily Q reached out to NU-Q for comment, and officials replied with the link to NU’s statement.





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