Student group postpones screenings of 'American Sniper' at University of Maryland

Controversy over the Iraq War film "American Sniper" has been spreading at colleges across the country. A student group at the University of Maryland has postponed its screening of the movie.

Some say the movie is offensive and could lead to hostility against Muslim students. However, others say pulling the film goes against First Amendment rights.

There have been protests at other schools across the country and there are strong opinions on both sides at the University of Maryland.

The film, starring Bradley Cooper, is about the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. It was supposed to be screened at the university on May 6 and 7, but has been postponed indefinitely by the Student Entertainment Events group.

The Muslim Student Association gathered signatures on a petition saying the film dehumanizes Muslim individuals and portrays inaccurate stereotypes.

"I don't think that it should be shown if it's making people uncomfortable," said junior student Will Beckman.

But not everyone agrees.

"I believe we live in a free society where people can choose what they want to do and what they want to see, and if you don't want to see ‘American Sniper,' don't go," said Jess Karangu.

The University of Maryland is not alone. Earlier this month, the University of Michigan canceled a screening leading to uproar, including a Twitter post from head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

"Michigan Football will watch ‘American Sniper'! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!" Harbaugh tweeted.

The school later reversed its decision.

In College Park, a spokesperson for Student Entertainment Events said they will likely screen the movie next semester as part of a larger educational event.

For some who signed the petition, that is not enough.

"It's really hard to create a community where everyone is excepted for who they are and I feel like if they show this movie, it's going to be really bad for the minorities and for the Muslim students because it promotes Islamic phobia and that's something we're trying to end and not promote," said Amnna Chandna.

The University of Maryland said it was not involved in the decision to postpone or cancel the showing of "American Sniper." This decision was made by Student Entertainment Events, a student-led organization comprised of undergraduate students who work alongside advisors in the creation, promotion, and operation of campus events.

A petition drive was also launched this week at George Mason University to ban the film from the Virginia campus.

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