Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tension at University of California at Irvine

Oakland-based Imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali speaking at UC Irvine

I work part-time at the University of California at Irvine as a teacher of English as a Second Language. All in all, it is a very pleasant place to work. The academic focus of the university is science, pre-med and engineering. I don't know the numbers, but I would estimate that at least half of the student body is composed of Asian-Americans. At the risk of stereotyping, these kids know why they are in school-to get an education and prepare themselves for a successful career. They seem to enjoy their college experience and cause no problems on our campus. Indeed, UCI has, over the years, avoided much of the craziness that has characterized so many other universities around the nation, where left-wing politics and anti-Americanism abound.

Unfortunately, in recent years, UCI has been experiencing considerable tension between Jewish and Muslim students, principally over the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. While it is understandable that these two groups would have differing opinions on the issue, recent activities by the Muslim Students Union (MSU) have taken on not only an anti-Israel tone, but an anti-American one as well.

No other issue at UCI has caused more political demonstrations and friction than the Israel-Palestinian one. What is troubling is that the UCI Muslim Student Union has consistently invited inflammatory speakers to campus,such as the Imam Amir Abdel Malik Ali, who regularly makes anti-Semitic (Jewish), and anti-American comments in his addresses. On at least one occasion that I can speak of from my own eye-witness account, Malik Ali's appearance was advertised by MSU banners with such headings as: "Racism-The American Creed". On another occasion last year, the MSU disrupted a speech by writer, Daniel Pipes, who was giving an address on campus on Muslim terrorism. As they marched outside the auditorium to continue their demonstration outside, demonstrators were overheard to state that while they were using only words, their brethren in the Middle East were acting in deeds. (I am paraphrasing.)

Another radical speaker who has appeared at UCI is Washington DC-based Imam, Abdul Alim Musa, a former Oakland heroin dealer who converted to Islam in prison. He predicts that Islam will one day take over America. Like Malik Ali, Musa believes that suicide bombers are "heroes".

During the past week, the MSU held an anti-Israel week marked by a series of rallies, in which speakers such as Malik Ali and the loony America-hating Colorado University professor, Ward Churchhill appeared. Not only was Israel bashed, but our own country as well. One of my fellow teachers was walking by the activities on Thursday (May 17th) when she almost bumped into a demonstrator with his face covered by an Arabic scarf holding a poster reading: "Death to Israel- Death to America".

This is what they call free speech on American universities campuses. Proclaiming death to America on our own soil! And what is the reaction of our university administrators? This is free speech. They also maintain that-in spite of Jewish students' complaints of harassment and intimidation- that UCI is safe for Jewish students and everyone elso as well. The leadership of this university needs to wake up before we experience a tragedy on our campus.

In the midst of all this, the Orange County Register reported last week on an on-campus confrontation between a Muslim demonstrator and an apparent FBI surveillance agent leading to questions as to whether the FBI was actively investigating the MSU's activities.

What the MSU does not seem to grasp is that the American public-at least since 9-11- is asking itself about the true nature of Islam and the attitudes of our Muslim Americans-in other words, are they trully pro-American in the face of this Islamic terrorist movement-or are in they in sympathy with the "Jihadists"? While not attempting to stigmatize all Muslim-Americans in this regard, scenes like those that occur at UCI are leading many to drew negative conclusions.

I can understand why Muslim-Americans may not share the historical American sympathy for Israel. I am certainly no expert on Middle East history and politics, and I can well imagine that Israel's hands are not 100% clean vis-a vis the Palestinian issue. I am sure that Palestinians have legitimite grievances. But in the face of 9-11 and the clearly-stated desire of Muslim radicals to destroy our country, our way of life and our people, demonstrations of the sort that are occurring at UCI are sending a very troubling message to the rest of us.

As for me, I don't know if the FBI is investigating the MSU or not- but I sure hope so.


Chuck said...

Not only was Israel bashed, but our own country as well. One of my fellow teachers was walking by the activities on Thursday (May 17th) when she almost bumped into a demonstrator with his face covered by an Arabic scarf holding a poster reading: "Death to Israel- Death to America".

Sorry, Gary, but I have a really hard time believing this. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and this admitted hearsay is a bit much (a photo would help next time). I know I'm not at UCI right now, but I spent 8 years there and never saw anything remotely like what you are describing.

One more comment regarding the Muslimists' supposed aim to "destroy our country." Give me one realistic scenario where this is even remotely possible. For decades we lived under a much more serious threat, that being nuclear annihilation at the hands of the Soviet Union. But for the most part we didn't go batshit crazy, eliminate the protections of the Bill of Rights, withdraw from the Geneva Conventions, etc. etc. In other words, though we lived in the face of real danger, we maintained our identity. That takes courage. The kind of pantywaists in the White House who did everything in their power to stay out of Vietnam (Cheney requesting and receiving no less than FIVE deferments) are the biggest cowards there are, their threats and swagger notwithstanding. We live in a dangerous time, to be sure, but not nearly as dangerous as the Cold War, so when a relatively small number of extremists are portrayed as some kind of existential threat to the US, I can only roll my eyes, sorry.

Ahmed said...

Stick to teaching Gary, it may be your only good quality.

Amir Abdel Malik Ali, if you've ever listened, preaches an anti-zionist attitude, never anti-Semetic or Jewish. Being that you're educated enough to teach English to University level students, I woul assume you knew what the difference in those terms meant. If not, go look it up instead of spreading hearsay or discussing events that you "did not observe."

You are just like any other American or anti-Islamist who see's one person acting in the name of Islam and incorrectly attributes it to the entire religion. Even if such a person held up a sign like that, how do you know they were even Muslim? Arab? Asian? Mexican (they hate Americans too btw, they're being evicted)? You then go on to automatically link him to MSU and unjustifiably agree that the US FBI should invesitage a bunch of 20 year old's on a college campus.

Do me a favor Gary, as a member of the UCI Muslim community, since you are molding the minds of the future - don't generalize, and get your facts straight before you go spill your junk on the campus streets.

Kelly Ramsey said...

I did see the demonstrator, and have some photos - and it was blatantly obvious that the masked fool was demonstrating against the Muslim Student Union, if not against Muslims in general. He was chanting a high-pitched "li li li li li" and pronouncing "Death to Israel" etc. in a blatantly bad impersonation of an Arabic accent. The "Anti-"Israel"" blog to which MSU members contribute denounces the masked man as a "Zionist".

See pics "fool 1" through "fool 4" on Flickr.