By Arnold Ahlert
The Muslim Student Union (MSU) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is holding its 2013 “Islam Awareness Week 2013” from January 22-25. Although the program is billed as one “dedicated to encouraging dialogue, dispelling misconceptions, and bringing thought-provoking content to the entire campus community on topics related to Islam,” it is little more than another link in the historical chain of Islamist-influenced events that the MSU has sponsored over several years. The disturbing list of speakers on this year’s roster says volumes about the MSU’s pernicious influence on campus and its Muslim Brotherhood origins.
Speaking about freedom of speech will be Hussam Ayloush. Ayloush is the head of the Southern California chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) case where five defendants were convicted of financing terrorism. In October 2000, Ayloush was a guest speaker at an event where the president of the UCLA branch of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) led a crowd of demonstrators in chants of “Death to Israel!” and “Death to the Jews!” in front of the Israeli consulate. Ayloush was soliciting funds for the HLF at the time.
At another Muslim Student Association event in 2006, Ayloush contended that any attempt to shut down Hamas-linked charities that were funding Palestinians was ”an attempt at genocide.” In 2009, angered by FBI attempts to surveil Muslims for possible ties to radicalism, he declared that “our mosques,” “our Koran,” and “our youth who they try to racialize” are “off limits.” On September 12, 2012, when “the blame video” meme was being used to explain the attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans, Ayloush didn’t wait for any confirmation of the facts before tweeting, ”Extremist Jews produce hateful film, extremist Christians promote it. Extremist Muslims riot and kill. The whole world will suffer.” Moreover, the man who will speak about freedom of speech supported the power grab by Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi, and the country’s new constitution that prohibits “insults” to “religious prophets.”
Speaking on the topic of “Jihad: the Struggle For Peace” is Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, the former president of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), another unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, and an organization, like the MSA, with roots in the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2000, Siddiqi claimed that Jerusalem is land “that belongs to Muslims,” further warning Americans that if they “remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.” In June 2001, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story about Siddiqi’s views on homosexuality, during which he revealed that “Islam is totally against homosexuality.” And while he doesn’t condone violence against gays and lesbians, he reportedly supported countries whose laws make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
During a 2006 sermon, Siddiqi added his voice to those Muslims who promote free speech limits concerning Islam. “We do not force others to believe in Prophet Muhammad the way we believe in him; but they should not insult us and humiliate us by abusing his name, his personality and character in public,” he said. As for the so-called jihadist struggle for peace, Siddiqi had a slightly different take on the subject, tape recorded around 17 years ago. He said he could see Jihad’s impact “in the Intifada movement in Palestine,” where “in a few years we will be celebrating with each other the victory of Islam in Palestine…celebrating the coming of the Masjid al-Aqsa under the Islamic rule…and the whole land of Palestine insh’allah and the establishment of the Islamic State throughout that area.”
Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter, will be addressing women’s rights in Islam. She is associated with several MSAs through MSA West “an umbrella organization comprised of Muslim Student Associations (MSAs), representing Muslim students and their organizations from campuses across the West Coast,” according to its website. Her communications on Twitter have referred to “apartheid Israel,” claimed American troops “are engaged in terrorism,” and characterized Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) congressional hearings on Muslim extremism as a “witch hunt.” She also claims to “find inspiration” in Sami Al-Arian, convicted of conspiracy for his involvement in funding the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. Ramadan was barred from entering the United States for six years due to his ties to a charity that supported Hamas.
Billloo is also a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, and a big fan Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government. Two Tweets from June 2012 sum up her feeling towards Israel. “Zionism IS racism,” she posted on June 4. “[Apartheid] Israel commits war crimes as a hobby,” she posted a week later.
None of this is even remotely surprising. UCI’s MSU, founded in 1992, is notorious for its overt promotion of the Islamist agenda and anti-Semitism over the years. Its radically pro-Palestinian efforts came to prominence during the Second Intifada, when MSU members began wearing “Freedom Fighter” t-shirts on campus, a slogan that changed to “UC Intifada” as the group grew more confident of its place at the university. MSU members walk around campus wearing green armbands to signal solidarity with Hamas, and each year at graduation they don green stoles with the Arabic word shahada (“martyr”) on them–as a tribute to Islamist suicide bombers.
In the early 2000s, a series of anti-Semitic speakers were invited to campus. These included radical Imams Muhammad al-Asi, who in 2001 spoke of a ”psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings,” and Abdel Malik-Ali, who proposed a “one state solution” in 2002, delivered a speech entitled “America under Siege: The Zionist Hidden Agenda” in 2004, and called Zionism “a mixture, a fusion of the concept of white supremacy and the chosen people” in 2005.
In 2006, the MSU organized “Holocaust in the Holy Land,” a four-day hate fest where Israel was compared to Nazi Germany, and the keynote speaker, Holocaust-denier Norman Finkelstein, called the Jewish State the world’s worst human-rights violator. In 2007, the MSU featured “Israel: Apartheid Resurrected” week, followed by “Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust” in 2008, and an event in 2009 featuring extreme left-wing UK politician George Galloway, after which an eight month investigation was initiated by the university to determine if the MSU knowingly raised funds for Hamas, a federal felony. University officials eventually relented, despite acknowledging the fund-raising activities, claiming they couldn’t determine whether they were “negligent, reckless or intentional.”
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Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.