Howard University officials knew they were inviting controversy when they allowed Nation of Islam (NOI) firebrand Khallid Abdul Muhammad to speak on campus in April 1994. But they probably didn’t expect quite this much trouble. On April 12, 1995, Rabbi Avi Weiss filed a lawsuit against the university, accusing Howard of illegally stifling his protest against Muhammad. On the night of the NOI official’s speech, the New York-based rabbi and several other Jewish demonstrators picketed on the Howard campus, carrying signs that read “Stop the Hate” and “The Nation of Islam is Racist and Anti-Semitic.” According to the complaint filed by Weiss in the U.S. District Court for D.C., a university security guard ripped signs out of Weiss and his comrades’ hands, refused to protect the protesters from a crowd yelling anti-Semitic slurs, and ordered them off campus. This rough treatment, says Weiss’ lawyer Steven Lieberman, violated the First Amendment and D.C.’s Human Rights Act. The rabbi is demanding “more than $50,000” in damages, Lieberman adds. The university would not comment on the suit.

More from WCP