City of Troy shuts down The Sanctuary for Independent Media

Mar 15, 2008 4:30 am

free103point9's friends at The Sanctuary for Independent Media are in trouble up in Troy, New York, for standing up to censorship at RPI. The school closed Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi" show there because, apparently, a subtle piece about an Al Queda remix of an anti-Al Queda video game didn't win rave reviews from a few students. From RPI free culture wikipedia:
The banned "Virtual Jihadi" exhibit was moved from RPI to The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 Sixth Avenue in Troy. A press conference was held Monday, March 10, at 4:30 p.m. about the controversial “Virtual Jihadi” exhibition, featuring short statements by representatives of the RPI Arts Department, The Sanctuary, and Wafaa Bilal. A reception was held at 6 p.m. and Mr. Bilal spoke about his work at 7 p.m. Area Republicans, led by Robert Mirch, held a protest outside The Sanctuary beginning at 5:30 p.m. On the other side were local citizens showing their support for Bilal and protesting how RPI handled this situation.

The very next morning, Public Works Commissioner Bob Mirch (leader of the protest) ordered The Sanctuary to close down operations because of code violations. "They put us out of business," Steve Pierce of the Media Alliance said in an article in the Times Union. "They said we had doors that were not up to code." (Listen to the city's phone call here.) According to the Sanctuary website this action occurred less than 24 hours after an inspection by code enforcement and fire officials cleared the building for use.