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Monthly Archives: June 2007

Exposing the UC Intifada
By Aaron Hanscom and Reut Cohen | June 19, 2007

Amir Abdel Malik Ali, an African-American convert to Islam who is known for his inflammatory rhetoric, is a favorite speaker of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UC Irvine. Ali graduated from San Francisco State University and currently acts as the Imam of the Masjid Al Islam in Oakland, California.

On May 17, Ali informed Muslim students at UC Irvine that a martyr�s death is the most honorable death.  Because supporting terrorists is a favorite activity of the MSU and Ali�s main gig on college campuses is justifying terrorism, it was no surprise that the radical Imam delivered a keynote address to wrap up the MSU�s anti-Israel week which featured twice-daily speeches and rallies called �Israel: Apartheid Resurrected.�


An audience made up of primarily Muslim students wearing green armbands (similar to what suicide bombers typically wear) and T-shirts reading �UC Intifada� and �Freedom Fighter� attended Imam Ali�s lecture which was titled �UC Intifada: How you can help Palestine.�


Members of the MSU did not have to wait long for their honored guest to throw them the red meat they were waiting for: �Victory or martyrdom,� Ali asserted are the only two viable options available to the Palestinians in their battle against Israel. Of course, Ali didn�t use the word Israel since he only refers to the democratic country as the �Zionist Apartheid State.� Indeed, he exhorted his followers to �speak truth to power� by articulating their positions with their own definitions, not those of their enemies.


Ali is a proud supporter of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, perceiving these groups in holy terms. In October 2006 Ali said, “We are celebrating the victory of Hamas over the occupier Zionists and this is only the beginning. What you saw, ladies and gentleman, what you saw this summer is only the beginning…. We got this, we can whoop them.” 


In Ali�s dictionary, Hezbollah would not be a terrorist group since its literal translation is �party of God.� In previous lectures he has characterized Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah�s leader, as a fighter of justice. Hamas, moreover, is a just organization that is fighting the oppressors, according to Ali.


Ali blamed the Western media for calling suicide bombers terrorists rather than people with a high moral character and said that Palestinian bodies are effective weapons against Israeli oppression. When asked if he perceives suicide bombing as a last resort, Ali explained that Palestinians can only transport their bombs on their bodies and that they are fighting for justice.

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Liberal groupthink causes conservatives to self-censor

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The ideal academic environment on a college campus is one that encourages vigorous debate and builds reasoning skills, all while the student is learning in his or her area of study.

Unfortunately, universities too often fall short in the first two categories.

For at least six years now, the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine has made a habit of inviting inflammatory speakers on campus. One speaker declared, “We will bury you in the sand,” while implying death to either a nation (Israel) or a group of people (Jews). While another said, “You can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew,” when explaining why he believes Jews have a social pathology that makes it impossible for them to live in peace with anyone else.

Such comments elicited not a peep from a university faculty presumably too concerned with tolerance to criticize speech that crossed the line from commentary to hate. What might make the professionals at UCI reluctant to speak up against hate speech? Imagine the uproar if former klansman David Duke showed up at UCI and said, “You can take the Jew out of the ghetto, but you can’t take the ghetto out of the Jew” or if Duke referred to African Americans when saying, “We will bury you?”

A study of almost 1,300 academics from more than 700 colleges and universities by Gary A. Tobin, Ph.D., and Aryeh K. Weinberg show an American faculty that is overwhelmingly liberal in the key areas of the humanities and the social sciences — two fields with tremendous influence, as all students, even science and business students, have to take some liberal arts courses to graduate. Further, professors from the humanities and the social sciences are those whose area of expertise is politics and social commentary.

Tobin and Weinberg’s 2006 survey, “Political Beliefs and Behavior of College Faculty,” showed that 58% of humanities faculty believe that U.S. policies in the Middle East have created the problems we face in the region. Similarly, 56% of humanities professors see the U.S. and Israel as the greatest threat to world peace, while only 41% name China, Russia, and Iran combined.

Further, social science faculty voted for John Kerry over President Bush in 2004 by more than a four-to-one ratio while five times as many humanities professors preferred Kerry over Bush. This has led to liberal groupthink, causing the few conservative professors to engage in self-censorship as a survival mechanism.

For these reasons, condemning hate speech by Muslim Student Union speakers may be too much to expect from a faculty who likely sees Middle Eastern Arabs as victims of the West. Rather, a modest step would be to prohibit the student union and any other group from banning the audio or video recording of events so that all campus speech can be heard and commented on freely. Knowing that their words may come back to haunt them may even make a few hate speakers think twice before spewing.

Today’s editorial: UCI falls short on a test of leadership

Defending free speech is responsible, but so is denouncing hateful speech.

An Orange County Register editorial

We’re used to seeing disturbing pictures of angry political conflict from the Middle East, but not used to seeing such anger here in Orange County. Specifically, we’ve been a bit shocked by ongoing events at UC Irvine where Muslim and Jewish students have been in a state of simmering conflict, stemming in part from a series of Muslim speakers and protests highly critical of Israel.

Unfortunately, the school administration seems to be punting in its response – firm in its defense of free speech, to its credit, yet reluctant to criticize clearly objectionable behavior and actions. Both are in order.

Jewish groups say they feel intimidation on campus. The Register’s Opinion pages have carried letters and columns debating whether UCI has a safe atmosphere for Jewish students, after incendiary words were uttered by some invited Islamist speakers, a Holocaust memorial was defaced and some other incidents. Muslim students were the ones complaining this week, regarding a Bren Events Center program sponsored by UCI Republicans that featured three self-proclaimed former terrorists who denounced Islamic fundamentalism. Reports indicate that security was intense.

Several hundred Jewish students and leaders met Wednesday night with UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake. “We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” he said, according to a Register report. “We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”

We applaud the chancellor’s unwillingness to abridge free speech. We believe that debate – even angry, tense debate – can be a good thing. Once you get into the business of outlawing “hate speech,” then that stifles freedom and allows officials to depict any words they don’t like as “hate.” Still, the administration needs to do more as the situation continues to affect campus life on a wider scale. Think about it – parents of students and potential students are beginning to develop a generalized fear about UCI. People on campus regularly tell us the tension is growing, and is not just periodic.

It’s the role of the school administration to draw distinctions between speech and actions, and to set some standards of behavior at meetings, in the classroom, in the dorms.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, has been actively monitoring the situation at UCI. He attended a recent speech by one invitee of the Muslim Students Union, where he tried to openly videotape the event despite a UCI policy allowing the student group to forbid such taping. In a letter sent to the chancellor this week, Mr. DeVore wrote, “Hate speech is, of course, protected under the First Amendment. That said, it is incumbent on community leaders, including leaders of the academic community, to criticize or condemn hate speech as it happens because such speech can easily lead to acts of violence.”

If the chancellor is unwilling to do that, Mr. DeVore argues, then he should at least eliminate the campus policy – specific to UCI but not other UC campuses – that allows student groups to ban the recording of public events. Perhaps if these speakers knew that their speeches could be viewed on, he reasons, they might be more inclined to engage in civil debate rather than angry diatribes.

Not a bad idea, and one of a number that should be considered as a fuller, deeper response to what is happening on campus. Speech should be open on college campuses, but such speech should also be freely disseminated, discussed and criticized – without fear.


UCI chief meets with Jewish groups

Chancellor encourages community involvement against incidents of perceived hate speech on campus.



IRVINE – UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake told several hundred concerned Jewish community members Wednesday night to join in on discussions and work together against what he calls isolated incidents of anti-Jewish speech by outsiders on campus.

Drake answered questions during a 90-minute town hall meeting at Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine addressing concerns about what the Jewish community calls ongoing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on UCI’s campus.

“We promote dialogue, understanding, growth and tolerance at UCI,” Drake said. “I’d like to enlist all of you in working with me to make Jewish life on campus as strong as possible.”

The meeting comes after a February decision by the Hillel Foundation of Orange County, a Jewish group, to form a task force to investigate what it called “a growing number of anti-Semitic incidents” at UC Irvine.

Drake, who maintained throughout the night that presentations on campus sponsored by Muslim student groups constituted free speech, was invited by several Orange County Jewish groups.

Here are a few questions, with responses by Drake:

Why is it that you personally don’t exercise your right to free speech and speak directly to statements made on campus?

“We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”

Right now, my kids don’t want to go to your school. With the activity on campus, why should my kids go to your school?

“It’s an outstanding educational institutional. If you talk to our students, they will tell you how much they love their experience here. (These incidents) are not every other day. It’s a couple of times a year. And they’re from people coming from off campus. It just got more media attention.”

Is there a place on campus that does not tolerate anti-group speech on campus?

“There are 26,000 students on campus. I want every student on campus to know that this is their home. I want them to feel secure, and feel that is their home.”

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