Skip navigation

By Roberta Seid, PhD and StandWithUsSource: http://www.standwithus.com
UC IRVINE’S MUSLIM STUDENT UNION is making the mistake
of bringing the most hateful, most radical speakers to this community – By Roberta Seid, PhD, and Stand4Facts.com*

The guest speakers that UCI’s Muslim Student Union invited for Palestine Awareness Week (5-15 to 5/19) are disappointing and deeply disturbing. They cannot promote understanding or knowledge. They are extremist, fringe figures who foment prejudice.

Three of the four have been marginalized and denounced by their own communities.

Imam Muhammed Al-Asi was removed as Imam of the Washington DC Islamic Center in 1981 at the request of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern governments.[i] His “fiery sermons,”[ii] pro-Khomeini rhetoric[iii] and support for the Iranian revolution, which he called a “godsend,” earned him the enmity of established Middle Eastern states which he denounced as “client-regimes” of the US.[iv] He has been associated with the radical terrorist group, Hezbollah.[v] He regrets that Moslems were pushed out of Spain, defeated at the gates of Vienna in the 17th century and condemns the “infamous legacy of Ataturk”—the man who brought liberal reforms to Turkey in the early 20th century.[vi] He supported Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for the assassination of author Salman Rushdie because his novel insulted Mohammed.[vii] He wholeheartedly supported the violent Intifada against Israel, saying at a rally in 2000 that “Rhetoric is not going to liberate Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa. Only carrying arms will do this task.”[viii] He is unashamedly against modern Western ideals. “Muslims take pride that they are not secular beings. We don’t want Westernism and Western modernity, which is proving to be a failure…”[ix]

Al-Asi justifies his anti-Semitism. He told an audience in 2001 that “You can take the Jew out of the ghetto but you cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew." He has claimed that Jews deserved the Holocaust, that "What the Jews refer to as 'anti-semitism' does not happen out of the blue! When the masses turn their wrath against the Jews it is not because the Jews are 'minding their own business…. the gentiles finally realize that the Jew thrives on regional and world wars so these gentiles turn their wrath against the Jew."[x] It is not surprising that Al-Asi has been a close associate of Ahmed Huber, the anti-Semitic neo-Nazi Swiss convert to Islam, who praised Khomeini as the “living continuation of Adolf Hitler.”[xi] In 1994, Huber was invited to al-Asi’s mosque where “he spoke about the "evils of the Jews" in the same language used by the Nazis and Hitler, whom Huber has defended as victims of "Zionist propaganda."[xii]

Another speaker, Rabbi David Weiss, belongs to Neturei Karta, a fringe, self-styled ultra-Orthodox Jewish group that was funded in part by Yasser Arafat’s government and was publicly and vehemently condemned by the Jewish Orthodox and Hassidic communities in an unusual statement in 2002: ““We hereby reiterate and declare that [we] absolutely reject the …conduct of that… group…[who] were decades ago barred from our Synagogues and communities. Their refusal to abide by the pronouncements of religious and lay leaders of our communities has made them persona non grata.”[xiii]

Professor Norman Finkelstein has also been rejected by his community—scholars of the Middle East. In a preface to his book, The Holocaust Industry, Finkelstein cited historian Peter Novick as his main inspiration, but Novick called Finkelstein’s book "the hate campaign of a zealot” that distorts facts and “displays a paranoid belief in some sort of global conspiracy of the Jewish elites in the U.S." Brown University historian Omar Bartov wrote that Finkelstein’s book “is brimming with ..indifference to historical facts, inner contradictions, strident politics and dubious contextualizations.” Professor Israel Guttman noted that it " is not research; it isn't even political literature…which takes a serious subject and distorts it for improper purposes….We should consider it nothing more than an anti-Semitic lampoon." Finkelstein’s work on the

Israel-Palestine conflict earned similar denunciation. Historian Benny Morris observed that “he is more of a pro-Palestinian propagandist than a serious scholar."

The last speaker, Imam Abdel Malik Ali, is a firebrand rhetorician who uses street slang to vilify Jews and to rouse his audiences to fight for the victory of Islam in America. “We ain’t gonna lose. We must implement Islam as a totality,” in which “Allah controls every place – the home, the classroom, the science lab, the halls of Congress,” he told a Berkeley MSA conference in 2004. Nor does he insist that this victory for Islam be done peacefully. “In America, you're mostly fighting with your tongue. But you should also learn how to fight with the sword."His goal is to see Sharia law instituted in America, and he acknowledges that "There will be some poop-butts who will not want to live under sharia law and will leave.” He does not try to hide his anti-Semitism. Zionism is a mixture of “chosen people-ness and white supremacy,” he told a UCI audience in 2004. He has also claimed that, “Israelis ought to return "to Germany, to Poland to Russia. The Germans should hook y'all up. You should go back to Germany." When Malik Ali spoke at the Berkeley MSA conference in February 2004, some Muslim students were visibly uncomfortable and even ashamed. “In the aftermath, one member of the student group confessed to a non-Muslim attendee that it left him feeling shocked. ‘As a Muslim,’ he said, and his heart was in his voice, ‘I just want to apologize.’"

It is unclear why the MSU invited such guests or how a public University justifies funding their speeches. But it is clear that these speakers will widen the divide between Americans and radical Islamists and between Muslims and Jews and that they represent the ugliest, fringe element in today’s culture wars. The MSU only marginalizes itself—and, unfortunately, Islam– by putting on such programs.

Produced by StandWithUs – Written by Roberta Seid, PhD, with
research material from Stand4Facts.org, a password protected website for students and researchers connected to StandWithUs
and StandwithusCAMPUS.com.

[i]http://www.middleeast.org/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=395&standalone=&month=9&year=2001&function=text and http://www.islamiccenterdc.com/imamalasi.htm

[ii] http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=3068

[iii] http://www.iran.org/news/AS_9512.html

[iv]http://www.middleeast.org/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=395&standalone=&month=9&year=2001&function=text

[v] http://www.intelligence.org.il/Eng/bu/hizbullah/pb/app14.htm

[vi] Imam Mohammed al-Asi, “Time to Reconsider the Seerah,” at http://www.muslimedia.com/archives/special-edition/seerah/seerah3.htm

[vii] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002 p. 106

[viii] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002, p. 212

[ix] Zaynab T. Ansari, “The RAND Corporation and Its Orientalist Discourse on Fundamentalism:

“Unveiling” the “Unassimilated” Fundamentalist Dwelling in Every Muslim,” 2005 at http://www2.gsu.edu/~phljli/RAND1.htm

[x] Muhammad al-Asi, article 1996, cited in Steven Emerson, Speech February 1997, at http://www.madcowprod.com/emerson97.htm

[xi] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002 p. 106

[xii] Steven Emerson, Speech February 1997, at http://www.madcowprod.com/emerson97.htm

[xiii] “Angry Response to Neturei Karta Prayers for Arafat,” Nov 12, 2004 at http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=71966

[i]http://www.middleeast.org/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=395&standalone=&month=9&year=2001&function=text and http://www.islamiccenterdc.com/imamalasi.htm

[ii] http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=3068

[iii] http://www.iran.org/news/AS_9512.html

[iv]http://www.middleeast.org/read.cgi?category=Magazine&num=395&standalone=&month=9&year=2001&function=text

[v] http://www.intelligence.org.il/Eng/bu/hizbullah/pb/app14.htm

[vi] Imam Mohammed al-Asi, “Time to Reconsider the Seerah,” at http://www.muslimedia.com/archives/special-edition/seerah/seerah3.htm

[vii] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002 p. 106

[viii] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002, p. 212

[ix] Zaynab T. Ansari, “The RAND Corporation and Its Orientalist Discourse on Fundamentalism:

“Unveiling” the “Unassimilated” Fundamentalist Dwelling in Every Muslim,” 2005 at http://www2.gsu.edu/~phljli/RAND1.htm

[x] Muhammad al-Asi, article 1996, cited in Steven Emerson, Speech February 1997, at http://www.madcowprod.com/emerson97.htm

[xi] Steve Emerson, American Jihad, 2002 p. 106

[xii] Steven Emerson, Speech February 1997, at http://www.madcowprod.com/emerson97.htm

[xiii] “Angry Response to Neturei Karta Prayers for Arafat,” Nov 12, 2004 at http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=71966

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: