Monday, October 30, 2006

NewU: Changes to ASUCI Funding Process

This is a relatively slow-news week. Other than Reut R. Cohen's article on a Jewish writer and former Argentinian Secretary of Culture, the issue of ASUCI funding appeared to be the only other issue that I felt I should bring to your - my fellow readers - attention.

The interesting thing that I wasn't aware about was that the Cross Cultural Center - site of much of the anti-Semitic speech-making on campus - had up until recently a lot of access to ASUCI during the funding process.

NewU article on the issue

NewU Editorial Board's take on the issue

NewU: Author Marcos Aguinis Speaks on Jewish Life in South America

Link to Article

Author Marcos Aguinis Speaks on Jewish Life in South America
Religion: The Department of Spanish and Portuguese sponsored the author’s discussion.
By Reut R. Cohen
Staff Writer

Acclaimed Argentinean Jewish writer Marcos Aguinis, born in the region of Córdoba, spoke at UC Irvine on Monday, Oct. 16.

In 1983, when democracy was reestablished in his country, Aguinis was appointed Secretary of Culture. He has written 30 books, including “La Gesta del Marrano,” “Attack on Paradise” and “¿Qué Hacer?”

Aguinis is also a well-known columnist who has written on the Israeli-Arab conflict and anti-Semitism in Argentina.

In his lecture, which was sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and titled “The Presence of Jews in Latin America: Then and Now,” Aguinis emphasized the continued presence of Jews in many Latin American countries, including Argentina.

Aguinis said that whereas Jews in Argentina had “experienced humiliation … and personal attack” before democracy, after democracy was instituted in the 1980s, Jews were treated as first-class citizens.

This peace was broken by a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. Aguinis, who suggested that he has felt anti-Semitism in both subtle and obvious manners, spoke about the incident, in which a bomb was planted inside the headquarters of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, which killed “Jews and non-Jews alike.” This event, according to Aguinis, shocked the world and devastated Buenos Aires.

Still, Jewish culture continued to thrive in Argentina. But Aguinis argues that anti-Semitism is growing even today.

“Lately an unexpected and different phenomenon has broken out,” Aguinis said. “Latin-American Jewish and Muslim communities have always lived in harmony, but now, violence is spreading. Jews and Israel cannot be separated … and Jews are experiencing a new tsunami of anti-Semitism. The Jews have to be committed and democracy has to be prepared against this new wave.”

In Aguinis’ essay “What Being Jewish Means to Me,” he says that “being Jewish means loving culture and its primary symbols: the spoken and written word. The Jews transformed holy words – the Torah – into a portable homeland, thus insuring the historic unity of our people. Whether agnostics or mystics, conservatives or liberals, scientists or artists, we carry in our innermost selves a love for words.”

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"Academic Freedom" Discussion on Thursday

I just caught a glimpse on campus yesterday of a poster announcing a discussion on "Academic freedom and the future of campus discourse". It'll be on Thursday November 2nd from 2 to 4 pm in the Cross Cultural Center.

Given how the MSU continually flouts its annually signed agreement to uphold the UCI Principles of Community - which speak of Tolerance and Civility - someone should put the question to the discussion panel as why the university isn't punishing the MSU for there repeated violations of their oath.

Someone should also ask why Jewish students must be required to put up with continual verbal harassment (example: the MSU's unequivocal support for terrorist groups which deliberately target of Jewish civilians because of their ethnic background) in order to be a part of this campus community.


The Cross Cultural Center is building #103 in quadrant D5 on the UCI Campus Map.


I should point out that the description below as well as the descriptions on the poster I saw and any other online descriptions I've found of this event do not list the panel members. Kinda makes you wonder...are they leftists? Are they rightists? Are they litigators? Are they professors? Are they administrators?

If anybody finds the list of panel members prior to the event, please post it in a comment and I'll bring it to the forefront.

Link to event description

This panel will discuss the current state of academic freedom and explore several recent developments with the potential to redefine long-standing views within U.S. higher education. Issues that pertain to new legislation, enacted within the context of a post-9/11 world, has called into question many traditional notions of free expression and prompted reassessment of the limits to personal privacy and First Amendment guarantees. Several campuses have been forced to make difficult choices when striving to balance competing commitments to free expression and institutional security and safety. The panelists will explore these timely issues, highlight important policy considerations, and provide their insights and experiences.

Religious Diversity Discussion This Wednesday Night

As mentioned in the NewU article on which I commented here, Hillel and the MSU have co-sponsored a religious diversity discussion this Wednesday at 7 PM in HIB (Humanities Instructional Building) room 100.

HIB is building 610 in quadrant D4 of the campus map available at this link.

The two speakers will be Rabbi Richard Steinberg of Congregation Shir HaMa'alot of Irvine, CA and Sheik Sadullah Khan of the Islamic Center of Irvine.

I wish Hillel the best of luck. Someone should ask the Sheik if his position on Zionism has changed from September 2005, when his sermon denounced Zionism.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Vice Chancellor Gomez: "one person’s hate speech is another person’s education."

Hat Tip: LGF and MereRhetoric

Reut R. Cohen published an article on October 24th in Jewish Collegiate News titled "Jewish Students Discuss Vandalism With Chancellor". That article is a summary of an October 18th meeting between some of the Jewish students on campus and Chancellor Drake and Vice Chancellor Gomez regarding some recent vandalism on campus involving a swastika and vulgarities.

“I hate that things like this happen,” Drake responded, acknowledging that there has been speech on campus promoted by the Muslim Student Union (MSU) that is largely hateful. Drake called hate-speech “vile,” “awful,” and “stupid,” and said it is “weak” human beings who engage in such speech. The chancellor also asserted that hateful speech does absolutely nothing to promote understanding and tolerance.
Many Jewish students at the meeting blamed the Muslim Student Union for creating an environment in which hate speech can prosper, which they felt had a direct connection to the vandalism.

Some of the Jewish students at the meeting revealed that they and others had been subject to verbal and physical intimidation at the hands of MSU members, and that they had previously reported these claims to campus security. In light of this, some students asked that Drake place restrictions on where MSU events are held, saying that if their events were held in classrooms as opposed to public spaces, their effect would not be as broad. However, Chancellor Drake told Jewish students at the meeting that he cannot restrict any club, that it would be “violation of law to prohibit certain speech.”

Gomez emphasized that though hate speech may be present, he would not seek to curtail it, as “one person’s hate speech is another person’s education.”

Looks like the Vice Chancellor wants "equal time for Hitler".

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cindy Sheehan coming to UCI

Just got this from a friend:

Join PDA's Orange County Chapter, DFA-OC and Young Democrats of UCI Get out the VOTE Rally for Steve Young

11:45 A.M. Monday 10/30/06
UC Irvine Campus At the Flag Pole / Gateway Plaza

PDA National Advisory Board Member, Peace Advocate and Gold Star Mom

Here's a snippet of Wikipedia's discussion of Cindy Sheehan:

Of greatest controversy is an incident about which Sheehan's detractors claim she has lied. In March, 2005, James Morris sent an e-mail to ABC's Nightline that allegedly included the statements [ed: written by Cindy Sheehan] that Casey "was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel" and that he had "joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." Sheehan denies the allegations, "I've never said that. . . Those aren't even words that I would say. I do believe that the Palestinian issue[27] is a hot issue that needs to be solved, and it needs to be more fair and equitable, but I never said my son died for Israel." She claims that the email was modified by James Morris to support his own personal agenda. However, James Morris denies altering the email before sending it along to Nightline[28] on Sheehan's behalf (per her request for him to do so). Two other individuals, Tony Tersch and Skeeter Gallagher, received a copy of Sheehan's email directly from her; both claim that the e-mail they received is consistent with Morris's story, rather than Sheehan's. Tersch posted the email[29] he received to the "bullyard" Google group. Opponents of Sheehan assert that this essentially proves that she has repeatedly lied about the content of her original e-mail.[30]

The NY Sun also had some choice words about Cindy Sheehan:
But as sad as Ms. Sheehan's loss is - and we don't belittle it - she has put herself in league with some extreme groups and individuals.
It turns out that the Crawford Peace House Web site includes a photo depicting the entire state of Israel as "Palestine," and it carries a link to a report that when Prime Minister Sharon visited Crawford, the "peace house" greeted him with an "800-foot-long banner containing all of the United Nations resolutions that Israel is in violation of." The Crawford Peace House site also features a photo of Eugene Bird, who has suggested that Israeli intelligence was responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Unbelievable. And she's going to be on this campus. Rally the troops.

Here's the whole line-up for the event:
Join PDA's Orange County Chapter,
DFA-OC and Young Democrats of UCI
Get out the VOTE Rally for Steve Young

11:45 A.M. Monday 10/30/06
UC Irvine Campus
At the Flag Pole / Gateway Plaza

PDA National Advisory Board Member,
Peace Advocate and Gold Star Mom

PDA National Board Chair, Election
Protection Advocate and Actress

Executive Director of PDA
Help us ORGANIZE and MOBILIZE the VOTE for

PDA Endorsed Congressional Candidate
STEVE YOUNG (48th District)
With Special Guests TBA
Visit PDA on the web

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

AFI bringing Obsession the Movie and Nonie Darwish to UCI

Anteaters for Israel
Thursday, Nov. 2nd
6:30pm in Humanities Hall 178

[ed: HH178 is huge and still won't be big enough]

Award-Winning Film Screening of the Documentary "Obsession" - Islam's Radical War Against the West
with special guest Nonie Darwish (Biography)

Movie Site for "Obsession"


This year's Chancellor's Distinguished Fellows Series

Note the items I've emboldened.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Michael Clark, Vice Provost for Academic Planning
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 7:29 PM
Subject: Chancellor's Distinguished Fellows Series 2006-2007

Chancellor's Distinguished Fellows Series

November 8, 2006
7:30 p.m.
Beckman Center Auditorium
Never Again: Practical Steps Toward Prevention of Genocide
David Hamburg, M.D.
Psychiatrist, President Emeritus, Carnegie Corporation of New York
Chairman, United Nations Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention

November 13, 2006
8 p.m., Irvine Barclay Theatre
Immigration: Challenges on Both Sides of the Border
Carlos Fuentes
Author, Statesman, Scholar
Tickets Required - Free
Contact Irvine Barclay Theatre, 949-854-4646,

February 13, 2007
Waiting: A Butoh Dance Performance
Carlotta Ikeda
Japanese Butoh Choreographer and Dancer
8 p.m., Irvine Barclay Theatre
Tickets Required - $15
Contact Irvine Barclay Theatre, 949-854-4646,

February 14, 2007
Sacred Monsters of the French Stage: The Photographs of Laurencine Lot
Laurencine Lot Principal Theatre Photographer for the Comedie Francaise
Lecture: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14, Calit2 Atrium
Exhibition: Feb. 11-18 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), Calit2 Atrium

February 15, 2007
The American Sojourn
Maxine Hong Kingston
Author, Professor Emerita, University of California, Berkeley
7 p.m., Crystal Cove Auditorium

March 8, 2007
Literature and Religion
E.L. Doctorow
Author, Lewis and Loretta Glucksman Professor in American Letters, New
York University
7 p.m., Crystal Cove Auditorium

April 4, 2007
Innovating Innovation
John Seely Brown
Visiting Scholar, Annenberg Center for Communication, University of
Southern California
7 p.m., Crystal Cove Auditorium

April 19, 2007
4 p.m.
Social Science Lecture Hall Room 100
Human Rights and Ethical Globalization
Mary Robinson
Former President of Ireland,
Professor of Practice in International Affairs, Columbia University

May 2, 2007
Human Rights in the Vernacular: Plural Legalities and Traveling Rights
in India, China and the USA
Sally Engle
Merry Professor of Anthropology and Law and Society, New York University
6:30 p.m., Crystal Cove Auditorium

Monday, October 23, 2006

JPost: Caroline Glick: Prime-time blood libels

Given the usage of images of the Mohammad al-Dura incident at MSU events in the past, I thought I should include this assessment of the situation at hand by Caroline Glick:

Link to article

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Our World: Prime-time blood libels
Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 23, 2006

Last Thursday a French court found Philippe Karsenty guilty of libeling France 2 television network and its Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin. Karsenty, who runs a media watchdog Web site called Media Matters, called for Enderlin and his boss Arlette Chabot to be sacked for their September 30, 2000 televised report alleging that IDF forces had killed 12-year-old Muhammad al-Dura at Netzarim junction in Gaza that day.

Their lawsuit against Karsenty was the first of three lawsuits that Enderlin and France 2 filed against French Jews who accused them in various ways of manufacturing a blood libel against Israel by purposely distorting the events at Netzarim junction that day. The second trial, against Pierre Lur at, is set to begin this week. Lur at organized a mass demonstration against France 2 on October 2, 2002 after the broadcast of a German television documentary film by Esther Schapira called Three Bullets and a Dead Child: Who Shot Muhammad al-Dura? Schapira's film concludes that IDF bullets could not have killed Dura.

September 30, 2000 was the third day of the Palestinian jihad. That day an IDF position at Netzarim junction was attacked by Palestinian Authority security forces. A prolonged exchange of fire ensued. That afternoon, France 2's Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma submitted footage of a man and a boy at the junction cowering behind a barrel. The two were later identified as Jamal al-Dura and his 12-year-old son Muhammad. Enderlin, who had not been present at the scene, took Rahma's 27 minutes of raw footage and narrated a 50-second film in which he accused the IDF of having shot and killed the boy. Enderlin's film itself does not show the boy dying. There are no blood stains where the boy and his father were crouched. No ambulance came to evacuate them. No autopsy was performed on Muhammad's body.

FRANCE 2 distributed its film free of charge to anyone who wanted it - although not the full 27 minutes that Rahma filmed. The film was shown repeatedly worldwide and particularly on Arab television networks. The results of the footage were murderous. On October 12, two IDF reservists, Yosef Avrahami and Vadim Novesche, were lynched by a mob at a PA police station in Ramallah. The mob invoked Dura's death as a justification for its barbarism. The Orr Commission which investigated the violent rioting by Israeli Arabs in October 2000 stated in its final report that "Muhammad al-Dura's picture, which was distributed by the media, was one of the causes that led people in the Arab sector to take to the streets on October 1, 2000."

Countless suicide bombers and other Palestinian terrorists have cited Dura as a justification of their crimes. For the past six years PA television has continuously aired a film showing Dura in heaven beckoning other Palestinian children to "martyr" themselves by becoming terrorists and join him there.

The Palestinians are not the only ones who have used Dura as a terrorist recruitment tool. He is prominently featured in al-Qaida recruitment videos and on Hizbullah banners. Daniel Pearl's murderers interspersed their video of his beheading with the France 2 film. Throughout Europe, and particularly in France, Muslims have used Dura as a rallying cry in their attacks against Jews - attacks which broke out shortly after the Dura film was broadcast.

AT FIRST, Israel accepted responsibility for Dura's death without conducting an investigation. Yet, in the weeks that followed the event, engineers Nahum Shachaf and Yosef Doriel conducted investigations on behalf of the IDF's Southern Command.

Both men separately proved mathematically and physically that the IDF forces on the ground could not see the Duras from their position and that it was physically impossible for their bullets to have killed Muhammad. Then OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.Yom Tov Samia held a news conference in late November based on their findings at which he said that the probability that the IDF had killed Dura was low.

Yet Samia was the only senior Israeli official to question the veracity of the film. Then chief of General Staff Shaul Mofaz disavowed Samia's investigation. Prime minister Ehud Barak never questioned the veracity of Enderlin's murderous accusation against the IDF.

In the intervening years, private researchers and media organizations have taken it upon themselves to investigate what happened that day. Their findings have shown that at a minimum, the probability that the IDF killed Dura is minuscule and more likely, the event was either staged or edited to engender the conclusion that Dura had been killed by Israel. The few people who have been allowed to watch Rahma's entire film have stated that it is impossible to conclude that Muhammad was killed because he raises his head and props himself up on his elbow after he was supposedly shot.

Respected media organizations like The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, Atlantic Monthly and Commentary magazine have published detailed investigations that all conclude that the footage was either staged or simply edited to show something that didn't happen.

Yet, even as private individuals were dedicating their time and passion to proving that France 2 had purposely broadcast a blood libel against Israel that caused the death and injury of Israelis and Jews throughout the world and marred the honor of the IDF, official Israel remained silent.

The Foreign Ministry never asked France 2 to show its officials the full 27-minute film. Neither the IDF nor the Foreign or Justice Ministries defended the IDF or called into question the veracity of Enderlin's film. As late as this past June 23, IDF spokeswoman Brig.-Gen. Miri Regev told Haaretz, "I cannot determine whether the IDF is or is not responsible for the killing of al-Dura."

IN THE French judicial system, the people's interest is represented by a special court reporter who recommends verdicts to the judges. It is rare for judges to disregard the reporter's recommendations. During his trial, Karsenty and his witnesses produced piece after piece of evidence that called into question the credibility of the France 2 film.

For its part, France 2 sent no representatives to the trial. Its attorney did not question any of the evidence submitted by Karsenty nor did she cross-examine any of his witnesses. She brought no witnesses of her own. She simply produced a letter of support for France 2 from President Jacques Chirac. The court reporter recommended dismissing the case.

In their judgment last week, the judges argued that Karsenty's allegations against Enderlin and France 2 could not be credible since "no Israeli authority, neither the army which is nonetheless most affected, nor the Justice [Ministry] have ever accorded the slightest credit to these allegations" regarding the mendacity of the Dura film.

Over the years Israeli officials have justified their silence by saying that it was a losing proposition to reopen the Dura case. We'll be accused of blaming the victim, they said.

This statement is both cowardly and irresponsible. As the French verdict shows, without an Israeli protest, the protests of private individuals, however substantial, ring hollow. When Israel refuses to defend itself from blood libels, it gives silent license to attacks against Israel and world Jewry in the name of those libels.

In 2000, Barak was desperately trying to close a peace deal with Yasser Arafat. The last thing he wanted was to admit that Arafat was promulgating blood libels against Israel. So he was silent. This is unforgivable, but understandable.

Israel's continued silence is a sign that Israeli officialdom has still not understood what the war of images demands of it. The Dura film, like the fictional massacre of Lebanese children at Kafr Kana in Lebanon this summer, shows that victory or defeat in wars is today largely determined on television. To win, Israel must go on the offensive and attack untruthful, distorted images that are used to justify the killing of Israelis and Jews throughout the world.

When Karsenty heard the court's verdict last week, he said, "If this judgment is upheld, Jews should ask themselves questions about their future in France. Justice covers the anti-Semitic lies of a public channel. It's a strong signal, it is very severe."

To this it should be added that if the Israeli government continues to be silent as the good name of the IDF, of Israel and of the Jewish people is dragged through the mud by distorted television images broadcast by foreign news outlets; if the Israeli government does nothing to defend those who are persecuted for fighting against these distortions, then Jews will have to ask themselves some questions about how on earth we are supposed to defend ourselves, let alone win this war against those who seek our destruction.

This article can also be read at

[ Back to the Article ]
Copyright 1995-2006 The Jerusalem Post -

Today is the 23rd anniversary of the Beirut barracks bombing

Hat Tip: LGF

241 American servicemen died that day, as did 59 French paratroopers - all at the hands of Iran's henchmen.

Those brave American and French souls will be remembered.

Imam Asi coming to campus THIS THURSDAY

Link to the MSU Week 5 E-Calendar

Briefing Meeting –
We will be having a briefing meeting for Thursday’s events with Imam Asi, inshAllah
2pm (after Dhur) at the CCC

Please come ready with ideas and input in planning the rest of the year! No matter how small or how big an idea is, be sure to share it with everyone…MSU is what you make of it, so let’s all put in the effort and dedication in making this year a successful one inshAllah!
5-7pm; Location – TBD

North Korea – No Oil; No War
Speaker – Imam Asi
12-1pm at the flagpoles

MSU Discussion –
Speaker – Imam Asi
5-6pm in the Conference Room of the CCC

Here's an odd entry from the same E-Calendar - I wonder what they're up to?
Event Discussion –
2pm at the CCC
*For details please contact –

NewU: Marya Bangee: Coverage of Religious Clubs Biased

No time to comment right now other than this:

We do not attack Judaism or Jews

Marya, when one of your most invited speakers comes on campus and states, as he did in May 2006, "Zionists, your days are numbered", that isn't just political dissent. That is a direct threat against Jews and Judaism, and is just one of the many threats made by MSU speakers, in MSU editorials in the NewU, and in MSU publications - all of which target Jews and Judaism.

The concept of the creation of Jewish state - Zionism - is the core belief of every single practicing Jew - we say "Next Year in Jerusalem" every Passover for this very reason. We pray every Sabbath for the creation of the Third Temple in Jerusalem "in our time" (how that will happen is not explained - may it be because the Messiah comes and it is created peacefully). We connect ourselves ethnically back to the land of our forefathers - Canaan - which is now, more or less, Israel.

That's all I have time to write right now - more later as time permits.

Link to article

Letter to the Editor
Coverage of Religious Clubs Biased
By Marya Bangee

The New University ran a piece last week that discussed relations between Jewish and Muslim groups on campus (“Hillel Hopes to End Campus Conflicts,” Oct. 16, 2006). There were several things about the article that were disturbing and very misleading.

The article covered the activities and viewpoints of Hillel, and addressed a perceived conflict on this campus between that club and the Muslim Student Union. It was heavily biased in favor of one organization in this “conflict” (as can be seen by the title alone), and specifically covered, erroneously, a joint event between the two organizations. Is it not standard journalistic procedure to interview all groups involved in order to produce a complete picture of the situation? In this case, the article only served to show that one group on campus was attempting to solve “the problem”—and what was worse, a problem that does not exist.

Muslim students, and the MSU, have no “feud” with Jewish students at UC Irvine. As has been stated before, the MSU does not agree with the racist political ideology of Zionism. This is greatly at odds with how we see Judaism, however; we believe Judaism is a rich, beautiful faith that is rooted in the Abrahamic traditions from which we draw our own religious beliefs. Jews, as well as Christians, are considered our “brothers and sisters of the book” in Islam, and we are taught to treat them with respect. If we were to be anti-Semitic, it would go against the very ideals our religion preaches. The conflict on this campus is over politics, not faith.

In regards to the “interfaith forum” that is being held at UC Irvine on Nov. 1, the MSU spoke with the administration about a program where all faiths could be explored equally, and recommended Shaykh Sadullah Khan from the Islamic Center of Irvine, who originally suggested the format being used for the event. To say that one particular club is attempting to “end campus conflict” is extremely biased; there is a deliberate lie of omission regarding the other organizations involved and their stances.

The MSU is a large, active club on campus that provides social, academic, religious and political outlets for all its members. It is unfair to routinely characterize an organization based solely on its political views, which are often grossly misrepresented. We ask the New University to follow standard journalistic procedure and show integrity by covering all issues fairly and objectively. We invite the New University and all its readers to contact the Muslim Student Union directly with all questions and concerns. (Visit our web site at

Finally, in regards to the letter sent in by the Zionist Organization of America: Stop trying to silence political dissent by labelling it hate speech. The right to free speech is integral to the United States, and is one of our most sacred rights as citizens. We do not attack Judaism or Jews; stop attacking Muslims and Islam because you do not agree with our political views. There are no facts to credit your claims that Jewish students feel anti-Semitism on campus, especially from Muslims or the MSU, as can be evidenced in the article run in the New University two weeks ago (“UCI Responds to Anti-Semitism Claims,” Oct. 9, 2006). Our campus is one of diversity, which includes diversity in perspective; this does not mean we attack others based on their beliefs.

Marya Bangee
External Public Relations
Muslim Student Union

NewU: Armenian Genocide Deserves Recognition

Just wanted to point out the discussion in this article about free speech and Holocaust Denial. Will comment later if I have time.

Link to article

Armenian Genocide Deserves Recognition
By Arin Torabian-Shams

On Oct. 12, the lower house of the French parliament adopted a bill that, once signed into law, will make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide of 1915-1923 carried out by the Ottoman Turks.

The passage of this bill has led to a general Turkish upheaval. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the measure a “great shame and black stain for freedom of expression,” saying, “A historical mistake has been committed.”

However, Erdogan’s statement is misleading. The Armenian genocide committed by the Turks was unjust and cruel. The massacre of 1.5 million Armenians and its subsequent denial is the real shame.

Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, a recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature, publicly acknowledges the Armenian genocide, which has led to his imprisonment in Istanbul on numerous occasions under the “insult to Turkishness” clause.

Many people believe that the bill limits freedom of speech. Even though freedom of speech is a fundamental right for citizens granted by many governments, those governments also have the power to limit that entitlement. The bill is a mirror image of the Turkish laws, except that the French want to make denying the genocide the crime.

The issue has also become intertwined with Turkey’s attempts to join the European Union. French President Jacques Chirac has affirmed that in order for Turkey to join, it must recognize the Armenian genocide, among other requirements. Turkey believes that the European Union is using the Armenian genocide as an excuse to keep it out of the 25-member bloc. However, after World War II, Germany regained international dignity only after it took full responsibility for the Holocaust. Hence, if Turkey wants to be a member of the European Union, it would benefit them to admit to their crimes.

The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and then signed by Chirac in order to become a law. If passed, the denial of the genocide would result in a one-year imprisonment sentence and a fine roughly equivalent to $56,000. Denial of the Jewish Holocaust also bears similar punishment and fines.

News of the legislation has sparked celebration among Armenians. Many Armenians believe that the passage of this bill is an unprecedented step towards the recognition of the genocide, which has yet to be officially recognized by many other countries, including the United States.

Although the bill may cause more inflated tensions between Armenia and Turkey, some people believe that consequences of this law may have even wider repercussions. Relations between France and Turkey will become especially unstable while the European Union pressures Turkey to improve its shoddy human rights record. It is clear that the French know what they are proposing and that they are well aware of the costs, indicating that they care more about humanity than Turkey’s involvement in the European Union.

Many critics believe the minority Socialist Party in France is only passing this legislation in order to gain the support of the Armenian voters in the upcoming elections. However, the Socialists are not the only ones who have supported the bill. Hervé Mariton, a member of the French conservative party, said, “The genocide is a fact. It is an absolute disgrace for the 20th century. It is an absolute disgrace for humanity. It has to be stated as such.”

The issues of humanity and justice are better understood in some parts of the world than others. After all, how would the Turks feel if the Armenians had killed 1.5 million Turks instead and never acknowledged it?

Arin Torabian-Shams is a second-year biological sciences major.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Holocaust Denial in a Middle East Politics course?

I was just tipped off to this by someone that will remain nameless unless he/she requests otherwise.

International Studies 179 / Political Science 159 (Schedule of Classes) (Course Website) taught by Lecturer Lina Kreidie (Contact Info) includes this in its list of "reader articles" in the official syllabus:

12. Finkelstein, Norman. 'Introduction and Chapter One: Capitalizing the Holocaust.' The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of the Jewish Suffering. UK: Verso. 2001. Pp. 1-38."

Ms. Kreidie, could you please explain why a book on Holocaust Denial is being used in a Middle East Studies course? For that matter, can the Deans of International Studies, Political Science, and/or Social Science explain this?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Trailer for StandWithUs's Documentary "Tolerating Intolerance"


Per Dave's request, here is a link to the video:

For all of StandWithUs's videos, see:

Abridged Version of the movie Obsession

Friday, October 20, 2006

KUCI radio getting involved in Difficult Dialogues

Per Anteater Weekly:

Talk about a difficult dialogue and be on KUCI. KUCI in conjunction with the Difficult Dialogues project, is providing a venue to express how we approach a difficult subject with those who may disagree. KUCI will be interviewing students on difficult dialogues, academic freedom, and other important topics beginning November 6, 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (M-F). For information and/or interview appointments contact

Link to KUCI website - look for Internet audio streaming links in the upper right hand corner

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The NoTerror.Info TV spots

Hat Tip: and

These two TV spots have been airing on several Middle Eastern TV stations. They make a powerful statement about suicide bombing and Muslim-vs-Muslim attacks (which, word has it, is far outpacing the number of deaths of Palestinians and Lebanese attributed to Israel).

To the MSU members and leadership: I hope you think about these videos the next time you're about to shout "Allah Akhbar" (G-d is great) in praise of HAMAS, Hezbollah, and other Palestinian terrorists.

Washington Times Article

Producer's Web Site

Monday, October 16, 2006

NewU: Hillel Hopes To End Campus Conflicts

Alex Chazen is for playing nice with the MSU. If the MSU played nice with us, I'd be all for it - but they continue to bring anti-Semites on campus. Did Alex somehow miss Amir Abdel Malik Ali's multiple visits at the beginning of the quarter?

And now there's an event co-sponsored by the MSU and Hillel? (read below) What the heck is Rabbi Steinberg of Shir HaMa'alot doing sitting on the same stage as Sadullah Khan, who considers one of the Three Big Lies to be "Zionism is essential to Judaism"?

Hey Alex: is the MSU planning on holding another annual Anti-Zionism Week this coming May? If the answer to that question is anything but "no", what the are you doing even talking with them?

Somebody please slap Alex upside the head...

Hillel Hopes to End Campus Conflicts
By Nadia Osman

UC Irvine’s Jewish Student Union, Hillel, has often been in the spotlight over the past few years because of intermittent clashes with the Muslim Student Union.

“I think that anyone who knows the delicate balance between the MSU and Hillel on campus knows that there are issues between our groups that need to be resolved,” said Alex Chazen, a third-year political science major and president of Hillel.

Chazen hopes to work this year to address these conflicts.

“Instead of avoiding past conflicts, I would love to confront and resolve these conflicts,” Chazen said. “I feel that it is important for people of all faiths to work together. There is so much common ground between the two religions, yet there is such an unwilling attitude to come together and partner in religious education.”

Hillel provides both a social and religious outlet for Jewish students at UCI. Hillel’s goals include increasing the comfort level of Jewish students on campus and creating a positive Jewish experience for its members.

“A very high percentage of people in this country believe in a god of some sort, and it doesn’t make sense for faith-based organizations to have feuds like the one that Hillel and MSU appear to have,” Chazen said.

Chazen is even willing to settle the feud by having a face-to-face meeting with MSU officers and members.

“I am most definitely willing to have a face-to-face meeting,” Chazen said. “I’ll do it in person. I’ll do it over the phone. I’ll do it over e-mail. I’ll do it on KUCI. I think it’s important that we sit and talk in a nonconfrontational manner. If this can be done, I believe it will be a giant step forward for our two groups on campus.”

One step forward is about to be taken as MSU and Hillel host “Religious Diversity: An Interfaith Dialogue,” their first cosponsored event on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. in HIB in partnership with the Cross-Cultural Center.

The program will feature two panelists, Sudallah Khan, executive director of religious affairs at the Islamic Center of Irvine, and Rabbi Richard Steinberg of the congregation Shir Ha-Ma’a lot.

Chazen is unsure of what lasting effects the program will have.

“I fear that with the exception of our cosponsored program there will be little dialogue, just as there has been in the past,” Chazen said.

Naz Farahdel, second-year social ecology major and vice president and social chair of Hillel, said, “I don’t know how much talks can solve problems, but I know that if done right, with a chance for both sides to speak, then they are a step towards helping.”

Aside from the group’s intermittent involvement in controversy, Hillel has plenty of other things to offer UCI and the community at large. In the past month, Hillel has celebrated the two holiest Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana.

To honor these holidays, Hillel held widely attended services at the Bren Events Center for the second year in a row. The services included festival meals for both holidays, with a meal before and after the 25-hour fast on Yom Kippur, along with spiritual services.

In addition to celebrating the holy days, Hillel hosts Shabbat dinners at the Interfaith Center on a weekly basis. Other activities planned for the fall quarter include a visit from a Facebook executive on Nov. 2 to discuss the founding and organization of the popular Web site, community service projects with other Hillel chapters to benefit the greater Los Angeles area and hosting the annual Hanukkah party at the end of November. Hillel also built a Sukkah, an outdoor gathering area in honor of the holiday Sukkot, which can be found in front of Langson Library on Ring Road.

Members are cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year.

“I feel it’s frustrating because there’s so much animosity when there shouldn’t be,” Farahdel said. “It’s ironic; we’re both fighting to get peace. I really want to plan an event with [Hillel and MSU] and do something fun, like go bowling! We’re still people, and we still want the same things, we all want peace.”

MSU inviting Imam for the JIS 4 to speak on Thursday

Saw this in this week's MSU Week 4 Calendar:

Discussion –
Speaker: Sheikh Junaid Kharsany
12-1 pm
Location: TBD

Who's Sheikh Junaid Kharsany?

He's the Imam of Jamat-E-Masijidul Islam mosque in Inglewood. Three of the former members of that mosque's congregation were Levar Washington, Gregory Patterson, and Hammad Samana.

A little over a year ago - if anybody remembers - Washington and James were arrested for a series of gas station robberies. In the course of the ensuing investigation, the police and FBI indicted Washington, Patterson, Samana, and state inmate Kevin James on federal terrorism charges after:
Detectives searching Washington's apartment on West 27th Street in Los Angeles found bulletproof vests, "jihadist" materials, and the addresses of such locations as National Guard facilities, two synagogues, the Israeli Consulate and the El Al Israel Airlines ticket counter at LAX, The Times reported.
A law enforcement report obtained by ABC News says the attacks were to take place on Sept. 11, and "the intent was to kill everyone at the target."
The inmates, according to officials, are affiliated with a radical form of Islam practiced by a group called Jamiyyat Ul Islam Is Saheeh, which translates as Assembly of Authentic Islam.

According to every report I've read off of Google, to his credit, Imam Kharsany cooperated fully with investigators.

The latest article on Imam Kharsany I've found was in The Rafu Shimpo (from where the picture above came), where the Imam talked this past 9/11 about continuing problems of discrimination against Muslims. I'm wondering if this will be the Imam's topic of conversation, as the MSU calendar has no details other than a date, time, and speaker.

NewU: Susan Tuchman: Letter to the Editor

Susan Tuchman, Director of the Center for Law and Justice at the Zionist Organization of America, and the person who filed the complaint with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, responds to the NewU's article from last week regarding the US Commission on Civil Rights's findings and recommendations. The author of that NewU article, Ben Ritter, sorta...ahem...forgot to interview her. (?!?!?!)

Link to article

Letter to the Editor
Anti-Semitism Prevalent at UCI
By Susan B. Tuchman

Your article correctly noted that the problem of campus anti-Semitism is of national concern (“UCI Responds to Anti-Semitism Claims,” Oct. 9, 2006). The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights – an independent and bipartisan federal agency that focuses on civil rights and discrimination issues, and reports to the president and Congress – recently issued landmark findings and recommendations to address the problem. The Commission will also be undertaking a public education initiative to fight anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation on college campuses.

Hopefully, UC Irvine will embrace this government initiative since, as your article suggested, the problem of anti-Semitism on this campus is serious enough that UCI is currently being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The investigation was triggered by the Zionist Organization of America’s complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint was filed with the full support of Jewish students who have been feeling harassed and intimidated by the hateful speakers and programs on campus that regularly target Jews, Zionism and the State of Israel.

UCI may try to refute individual incidents (all of which the students stand by), but the impact of the campus environment has been serious: Students have been afraid to identify themselves as Jewish, or to participate in Jewish or pro-Israel activities. Some have avoided certain areas of the campus or stayed away from the campus altogether whenever they could. Some have feared for their physical safety. Two students actually left UCI because they could no longer tolerate the hostility they faced as Jews on campus.

Unfortunately, as your article reflects, UCI continues to engage in denial about the problem of anti-Semitism on the campus—even though many Jewish students and others have repeatedly complained to several senior administrators about the hate and hostility, and the harmful impact it has been having. The few programs and speakers that UCI has initiated, purportedly to promote tolerance, are not enough to overcome hate and bigotry. And not coincidentally, they were initiated only after the ZOA’s complaint triggered the government investigation.

The administration would like you to believe that the complaint is about suppressing or restricting free speech. But that is not and has never been the case. The ZOA, and the students on whose behalf the complaint was filed, recognize and fully support the protection afforded to speech under the First Amendment.

Suppressing speech is not the objective. The objective is to ensure that Jewish students can obtain their education in an environment that is not harassing, intimidating or causing them to fear for their safety, which is their right under the law. One important step that the university could take is to exercise its own First Amendment rights by speaking out and condemning, loud and clear, the hate and bigotry that are regularly expressed on campus against Jews, Zionism and Israel. UCI must live up to its legal obligation to ensure a campus environment that is free from racial and ethnic harassment and discrimination, and that is hopefully what the Office for Civil Rights’ investigation will accomplish.

Susan B. Tuchman, Esq.
Director, Center for Law and Justice
Zionist Organization of America

NewU: Manuel N. Gomez: Reward for Vandalism Info

Hmmm...spray painted vulgarities and a swastika...

The Vice Chancellor doesn't specify the vulgarities - I'm wondering what the exact message was...


My sources tell me the message was "F*** VDC [Swastika] F*** VDC" - VDC being Vista Del Campo, one of the residential areas on campus.

Link to article

Reward for Vandalism Info
Information Wanted About VDC Vandalism
By Manuel N. Gómez

Recently there was an act of vandalism at Vista del Campo. Late in the evening and early morning of Oct. 7 and 8, a community advisor called the UC Irvine Police to the VDC on-campus housing complex.

The police report identified the defacing of areas with spray painted vulgarities, “VDC” and a swastika symbol.

We are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification and prosecution of those responsible.

We are addressing this vandalism as a top priority and are pursuing a police investigation. Please contact the UCI Police Department if you have any pertinent information.

The initial review of the police report leads one to believe that on the face of it, a person(s) is/are unhappy with Vista del Campo. The juxtaposition of the vulgar language and swastika symbol leads us to this impression.

Nevertheless, the use of this symbol is disturbing, especially so when it appears where we live.

We are well aware that even though this seems to be directed at the Vista del Campo, it still affects our students and campus community.

I am truly disappointed, as this does not represent our community. This vandalism is wholly unacceptable and appropriate actions will be taken.

If you are in touch with or know of any students who are affected by this incident, please refer them to the Dean of Students so that we may direct them to the appropriate resources on campus.

Manuel N. Gómez
Vice Chancellor Student Affairs

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Award-Winning Israeli Film Screening on October 18th at UCI

Just got word that the film "Lemarit Ain" (English: "Out of Sight") will be screened at UCI on October 18th at 5 pm in Social Sciences Lab (SSL) 228.

Lemarit Ain won awards at the 2005 Israeli Film Academy awards for both Best Cinematography and Best Director. The director, Daniel Syrkin, will be there to discuss his work. From the Internet Movie Database:

Ya'ara, 24 years old, is attractive, independent, confident and intelligent, and she has just begun her PhD in Mathematics at Princeton University. Ya'ara is blind. When she hears of her cousin Talia's suicide, she rushes back to Israel. They were best of friends and twin spirits. Talia saw for both of them, and was always the one who believed and led Ya'ara to believe, that in spite of her blindness, Ya'ara could see everything. Ya'ara joins Talia's family for the traditional 7-day mourning period "The Shiv'a" and there, she discovers the secrets of Talia's life and embarks on an investigation trying to discover the reason that led Talia to commit suicide. Lies, secrets and gaps are revealed in this powerful story

Monday, October 09, 2006

NewU: UCI Responds to Anti-Semitism Claims

They haven't put an online version of the article up yet, but FINALLY the New University newspaper covered the US Commission on Civil Rights's hearings in November 2005 and their findings and recommendations - issued in April 2006 - regarding the pervasive hostile environment to Jews at UCI (on the top of the front page, no less). I discussed the USCCR previously at this link and at this link.

Unless I missed it, though, the NewU staff didn't do all of their homework - the only people they appear to have interviewed for the article were Vice Chancellor Gomez and Diane Filed Geocaris, legal council for UCI. Why didn't they interview Susan Tuchman, the Director of the Zionist Organization of America's Center for Law and Justice - and the person who filed the civil rights complaint in the first place?

Link to article

UCI Responds to Anti-Semitism Claims
Religion: Governmental fact-finding commission heard testimony from Jewish groups alleging campus anti-Semitism.
By Ben Ritter
Staff Writer

In July, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a report on campus anti-Semitism at several universities, including allegations that UC Irvine has been home to various anti-Semitic incidents that were not dealt with appropriately by campus officials.

USCCR is a “fact-finding” group that “lacks enforcement powers,” according to their Web site.

The report was based on the testimony of representatives of three Jewish groups, including Susan B. Tuchman, the director for the Center for Law and Justice at the Zionist Organization of America, whose report to the commission focused almost exclusively on UCI.

“Since at least 2002, if not earlier, Jewish students have faced a pattern of anti-Semitism on the UCI campus that, in 2003 and 2004, escalated into destruction of property, physical threats and violence,” Tuchman said in her statement to the commission.

After unilaterally terminating earlier attempts at mediation with the school, Tuchman is currently representing an unknown number of Jewish UCI students in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “contending that [UCI] had long been aware of a hostile and intimidating environment for Jewish students, but that [it] had not taken adequate steps to address the problems.”

UCI is not able to comment on the OCR investigation, which is ongoing, but Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez responded to the allegations made in the USCCR report.

“[The report] does not correctly characterize UCI or our students,” Gomez said. “We are a close, safe and inclusive campus. The typical UCI student is respectfully tolerant, intellectually curious and personally compassionate.”

Gomez also pointed to “numerous programs, speakers and events that model civil and respectful dialogue” that the school has hosted as well as the development of “three new courses designed to educate students about contemporary issues regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and promoting religious tolerance and peace building.”

Among the incidents of anti-Semitism alleged in Tuchman’s report are the 2002 publication of an article in a UCI student publication that “repeatedly emphasized the Nazi-like notion that Jews are genetically different and separate from non-Jews,” the 2003 destruction of a Holocaust memorial, the carving of a swastika into a table during a Holocaust candlelight vigil and “repeated” invitations for anti-Semitic speakers to speak at UCI.

Diane Fields Geocaris, legal counsel for UCI, responded to Tuchman’s allegations in a letter to the commission, saying that UCI “appropriately treated vandalism.” Geocaris also said that UCI officials were the ones who reported the Holocaust memorial disturbance to the police and that in the swastika-carving incident, “the university investigated ... but was unable to find any witnesses or suspects.”

As for allegations of inviting anti-Semites to speak, Gomez said, “Some individuals want us to place limits on freedom of expression. The university is legally obligated to protect speech on a content neutral basis. Inevitably the university must allow some speech that some may find offensive.

“UCI does not sponsor events encouraging intolerance. Indeed, while student and other groups may use our campus to espouse ideas that at times may be offensive, when they do so they are exercising their right to free speech.”

Tuchman also cited a January 2004 incident in which a Jewish student reported a rock being thrown at him by a member of the Muslim Student Union. According to Geocaris, “the aggrieved student did not report the incident until ... several weeks after it took place” and “could not identify the names of Muslim Student Union members at the table [from which the rock was thrown].”

Another Jewish student, according to Tuchman, overheard two students saying “slaughter the Jews” in Arabic in February 2004, and the following month was “subjected to threatening language and hurtful ethnic slurs, including being called a ‘dirty Jew.’” This student left UCI to study elsewhere, according to Tuchman, because he “felt [UCI] was a hostile environment for Jewish students.”

According to Geocaris, campus police contacted a student who UCI officials believe is the same one refered to by Tuchman, but he “failed to respond to these inquiries and did not show up for an appointment with the campus police.”

Additionally, the university does not have a record of this student requesting for his transcript to be forwarded, according to Geocaris, “suggesting that Ms. Tuchman’s testimony concerning his transfer might be inaccurate.”

Gomez responded to allegations of violent acts on campus in general.

“Physical threats and violence are not tolerated at UCI,” Gomez said. “If and when a threat is brought to our attention, we investigate and respond to it appropriately and as fully as possible.”

The complete USCCR report can be viewed online at

To see what steps UCI is taking to encourage respectful dialogue, visit

MSU is having a "debriefing meeting" with Amir Abdel Malik Ali?


Debriefing Meeting –
An evaluation meeting on last Thursday's events with Amir Abdel Malik
2pm (after Dhuhr) at the CCC [Cross Cultural Center]

Friday, October 06, 2006

Exclusive: Amir Abdel Malik Ali's Ramadan sermon from yesterday (part 1 of 3)

This just in - a recording of Amir Abdel Malik Ali's October 6, 2006 Ramadan speech. It's in 3 parts and it appears to be missing the first few minutes. Overall most of it is harmless, but Malik Ali couldn't help himself to stick it to [sarcasm on] those evil Zionists [sarcasm off] as well as to call for support of the terrorist organization Hezbollah several times.

UPDATED 11/28/2007 to add LiveLeak links

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Three Videos of Yesterday's Amir Abdel Malik Ali Flagpoles Speech

Anteaters for Israel, the UC Irvine pro-Israel student organization, posted these three clips of yesterday's Amir Abdel Malik Ali speech at the Anteater Plaza Flagpoles.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Changing over to Blogger Beta

I've decided to try out the new Blogger Beta for one key reason: tags. As I find time, I will update the older blog posts with tags to make searching easier. So please pardon the dust...

NewU: Ramadan: Truly Grounded in Prayer

Link to article

Ramadan: Truly Grounded in Prayer
By Brian Walker

Muslims believe that the angel Gabriel spoke to the prophet Muhammad, telling him that he was chosen to receive the word of Allah. During the month of Ramadan, Muhammad began speaking the verses which would later be transcribed into the Quran.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. This year, Ramadan began on Sept. 23 in some parts of the world, and Sept. 24 in others.

During the holy month, Muslims pray, fast and give charity. At mosques around the world, Muslims read and recite the Quran daily, often finishing the entire book by Eid al-Fitr, the celebration which marks the end of Ramadan.

Many students of the Muslim faith at UC Irvine devote their lives spiritually, mentally and physically during this month.

Mariam Moustafa, a second-year biological sciences major, began her yearly fasting at the age of five and plans to continue for the rest of her life.

Moustafa admitted that during the first days of the fasting, it can be tough to concentrate in class because of thirst and hunger. However, she believes that the difficulties involved are minuscule compared to the benefits of attaining peace and a closer relationship to Allah.

“Ramadan is not just about fasting,” Moustafa said. “Fasting is only a part of Ramadan, which is truly grounded in prayer.”

Many Muslims gather in the quieter parts of campus during Ramadan and pray with fellow students.

“I often exchange a smile with fellow students who are sharing in the holy month,” Moustafa said. “It brings people closer to Allah, and closer to each other.”

Moustafa believes that this month chastens her, since she often finds herself taking things for granted. During this month, she gains a greater understanding of her blessings.

Muslims also strive to purify their actions during the month of Ramadan. Moustafa explained that the month is very important to her because she feels a heightened sense of self-awareness.

“You often don’t realize your actions,” Moustafa said. “During Ramadan, you pay more attention.”

Muslims refrain from cursing during this holy month, and also from any form of overindulgence.

Muslims donate the money that is saved on food during Ramadan to charity. More importantly, participants devote their time to charity work. In past years, Moustafa has devoted her time to the hungry on the infamous Skid Row in Los Angeles.

With excitement similar to that of Moustafa’s, other Ramadan students’ expressions, when I interviewed them, suggested that they genuinely enjoy devoting themselves during the holy month.

Many Muslim students carry their prayer rugs with them throughout the month and enjoy praying in Aldrich Park.

MSU offers a daily meal in the evenings at the Phoenix Grill where students gather, pray and break their daily fast.

During this meal, which is called Iftar, a date is usually the first food consumed in breaking the daily fast.

“Ramadan is not a penitentiary month, but a month to bring yourself closer to Allah,” Moustafa said. “It is not a punishment, but a privilege.”

NewU: MSU Fast-a-thon

The NewU did this puff piece on the annual MSU charity event "Fast-a-thon" and - as can be expected - not a word on their history of anti-Semitism.

Link to article

MSU Fast-a-thon
By Madelyne Oliver

Hungry students drifted into the Bren Events Center. During the ensuing banquet, hijabs were common and casual conversation between Muslim students flowed throughout the room.

These students were breaking fast at sunset for the Ramadan, the holiest and most significant month in the Muslim calendar.

The Fast-a-thon, a month of fasting supported by monetary pledges, began officially on the morning of Sept. 23. The period of fasting will last until sunset on Oct. 25.

It is a time when all Muslims sacrifice food as a reminder to observe their faith in God and to think of those who are starving daily.

Muslims believe that for every day they fast, food is being given to another person to eat. The notion is that homeless and needy people live without food, and those who have the luxury of food take it for granted.

Rhonda Ragab, a second-year psychology and social behavior major, explained that the Fast-a-thon is also intended to promote tolerance and understanding among those who are not aware of Muslim beliefs and customs.

For Muslims, this is a time to better their relationship with God. They display their faith by giving back to the community and different charities, thus avoiding self-indulgence.

This successful event erupted as a national campaign 60 years ago, reaching universities and eventually UC Irvine, which has held the event for the last five years.

Marya Bangee, a third-year sociology and English double major and Active External Publication Relations board member of MSU, reported that an estimated 200 Muslims and 100 non-Muslims attended and participated in the Fast-a-thon banquet last year.

The Fast-a-thon will give to charity by donating the proceeds collected from pledges and donations at the banquet.

Last year, MSU made $1,500 and donated it to relief organizations aiding the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Pakistan. This year the proceeds will go to Dignity Coalition for the Homeless, which provides medical aid for homeless people in Los Angeles.

As dark purples and bright pinks sauntered across the sky at sunset, members of MSU ate a date to end the fast and then washed their hands and face, showing their thanks for food and God.

After prayer, the feast delicious foods began. Eating is permitted until the shreds of daylight return.

Sunrise breaks with the first prayer (Fajr). The next prayers are at mid-afternoon (Dhuhr), afternoon (Asr), sunset (Maghrib) and night (Isha). Prayer plays an important role in the Muslim religion.

Some who are unaware of the traditions of Ramadan might think that sunset is a time to “pig out.” This, however, is not the idea.

While most of us enjoy three meals a day, there are people in the world who starve. Muslims believe that it is the command of God to fast, and they observe this by eating only when their religion allows them to.

“Being Muslim intermixed with others—lots of stereotypes are working against you, and here at UCI we stick together,” Bangee said. “I see it as an opportunity to reach out, because we are all human.”

Even though colorful hijabs are commonplace and prayer is expected, non-Muslims need not be intimidated when participating in this tradition with MSU.

A friendly greeting of “As-Salamu Alaykum” (peace of God be upon you) may softly sound in your ear as you pop a date in your mouth. Join the conversation and remember that we are all humans who are eating for those who can’t.

For more information about the Ramadan, Fast-a-thon and the Muslim Student Union, please visit http;//

NewU: History Lesson on Churchill

Link to Article

History Lesson on Churchill
By Emilie Doolittle
Staff Writer

Historian and biographer Sir Martin Gilbert defines Churchill's role in history during his speech last week.

If the leaders of the United States could have heard Sir Martin Gilbert’s talk about Britain’s lessons regarding Winston Churchill’s forewarnings of danger, perhaps they would have been more inclined to take all threats to U.S. safety seriously.

Hypotheticals aside, what were Britain’s mistakes before World War II and how has the United States made similar mistakes in recent years?

On Sept. 28, historian and biographer Gilbert, who has written 75 books, including 12 biographies on Churchill, spoke on the years of Churchill’s life when he was unable to convince the leaders of Britain about the dangers of the Nazi regime.

Including firsthand accounts of Churchill’s life, Gilbert gave a much more detailed narrative than most historical text books. However, his speech did not stretch to connect the historical events to patterns of current affairs. His talk was simply a history lecture.

Nevertheless Gilbert mentioned difficult questions that Britain had to face during the late 1930s which are pertinent to many governments today. “How does one identify evil intentions in a government?” said Gilbert. “Does one seek an accommodation with an evil regime?”

Overall, Gilbert said that Churchill was a political outsider when Britain was in denial though they needed him as an insider. Despite Churchill’s informative speeches about the dangers lurking ahead, many political leaders at the time did not want to listen.

Would some leaders rather live in denial than have to protect themselves from every forewarned threat?

During the mid-1930s many leaders in Britain were slow to realize the threat of Hitler’s regime to their nation.

While Hitler’s power increased, so did Churchill’s disagreement with the British parliament. After the appeasement of Germany with Czechoslovakia, Churchill became upset and derided parliament leaders when he said, “Apparently you always have a disaster before anything sensible can be done to prevent it.”

British Parliament was on holiday when Hitler’s regime was growing in power.

Only 10 members of parliament supported Churchill in his view that Britain should not go on vacation and instead prepare for war with Germany.

Gilbert said that at this period Churchill turned to the front bench of Parliament and mocked them, saying, “Can I really believe that these honorable gentlemen, so full of experience, so wise and knowledgeable are saying, ‘Be gone. Run off and play. Take your gas masks with you. Don’t worry about public affairs. Leave them to us. We are gifted and experienced ministers and ... after all, we are the ones who landed us where we were left last September and at this point in time had not created any alliances against aggression’?”

According to Gilbert, “Churchill was preparing all his life for every eventuality.”

Gilbert said little about current events in his speech. However, during the question-and-answer session, he mentioned how the British Parliament debate over whether Britain should join the United States in Iraq had “a very Churchillean atmosphere.” The House of Commons was overflowing and tensions were high. Just like Churchill, many of the speakers at the debate had to speak about the hard truths they were facing.

Gilbert was introduced to the audience by history professor Douglas Haynes. Commenting on Gilbert’s speech Haynes said, “He provided a lucid chronology and provided insight into some of the political costs of a specific leader who’s out of power and yet recognizes the dangers looming.”

Humanities alumni Barry and Janet Shreiar sponsored the lecture. Referring to Gilbert’s speech, Barry said, “It makes one realize that leadership makes the hard decisions.”

Gilbert reminded the audience about what to expect from a national leader. He said that during World War II, Churchill was belittled for not knowing what he was talking about in regard to being an expert on the army. In response to his critics, Churchill said, “Of course I don’t pose as an expert on these matters, but one that judges the opinions of experts.”

NewU: Reut R. Cohen: Israeli Speaker Invites Discussion

No time now for comments. Link to Op-Ed.

Israeli Speaker Invites Discussion
By Reut R. Cohen

On Sept. 25, Ehud Danoch, Consul General of Israel, spoke at UC Irvine regarding current issues affecting Israel. The Anteaters for Israel-sponsored event attracted 350 individuals, including students, faculty and community.

Danoch described the many facets of Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.

“Soldiers gave eviction notices to families who have lived there for 35 years ... 35 years gone in one day,” Danoch said in regards to the August 2005 Gaza disengagement.

Danoch went on to explain that for the sake of peace, Israel will be willing to participate in peace talks when the situation improves.

“Israel is willing to negotiate,” Danoch said. “We are willing to do a lot. But now we don’t see any negotiation, unfortunately.”

The majority of Israelis are willing to sacrifice land if it means the end of suicide and homicide bombing, and if it produces a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Israeli cabinet, in fact, acted in the interest of granting Palestinians their own state when it disengaged from Gaza.

Considering that Gaza today is a base for fundamentalists to launch Qassam missile attacks into cities recognized as part of Israel, I cannot fault the Israelis for refusing to negotiate with Hamas leaders. The fact of the matter is, as with Iran, Israel cannot negotiate with people who call for their annihilation.

The killing and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Palestinian radicals was also a hot topic.

“On June 25 of this year, a terror organization infiltrated Israel, killed two soldiers and kidnapped Gilad Shalit,” Danoch said.

Hamas and other radical groups have been hindering peace talks, and many Palestinians who would rather live in peace and work to support their families are placed in a precarious situation.

While Hamas might occasionally support Palestinians by building a school or clinic, they also represent a corrupt group of individuals who are responsible for dozens of attacks against Jewish, Christian and Muslim Israelis. The current Palestinian government, which receives millions in aid from Israel every month, is certainly not known for seeking peace.

Perhaps the most controversial topic discussed, however, was Israel’s recent war against Hezbollah. Danoch pointed out that the war was not against Lebanese civilians but against Hezbollah and its supporters.

“The Hezbollah infiltrated Israel and killed eight soldiers and kidnapped two,” Danoch said. “The population of Israel is seven million. ... Approximately one million Israelis were displaced, about one-seventh of the population.”

Israel and Lebanon should not have been in any conflict because the borders between the two countries are clearly recognized. Because of Hezbollah’s unwarranted attack on Israel, Israeli and Lebanese citizens suffered tremendous loss of life. The events this summer in Lebanon and Israel were tragic in the extreme.

In respect to Lebanon, I do, however, place much of the blame on Hezbollah, whose supporters surrounded themselves with innocent civilians and refused to let them leave Beirut.

Although I do not agree with the manner in which the war was fought and find that I cannot wholeheartedly support the current Israeli administration, I can observe, with pride, that the Israeli army is in fact very moral. The Israeli Defense Forces minimize damage to infrastructure and warn civilians of impending attacks, minimizing civilian casualties in wars.

In light of the many anti-Israel activities that occur on campuses around the country, Danoch urged the UCI campus to talk about tolerance.

“Freedom of speech is important,” Danoch said. “But when incitement begins, that’s a problem.”

Emily Shaaya, president of AFI, said that the group is working to promote tolerance on campus.

“It is a part of AFI’s mission to educate our campus,” Shaaya said. “It is important to bring someone to campus who is a scholar to come speak to students, faculty and community. ... I think this was a great presentation and opportunity to have the community come out to show its support for UCI students, not only Jewish students but students from all political affiliations and backgrounds. AFI is working to build coalitions with different groups on campus this year, to welcome them and to educate them.”

AFI has been a great way for many pro-Israel students like me to explore political avenues and gain some semblance of acceptance at a university which has become extremely anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and even anti-American.

Reut Cohen is a third-year English major. She can be reached at

An Open Letter to the World

I was tipped off to this by a friend. Here's one where we need to listen to the message, not the messenger. The messenger himself, Rabbi Meir Kahane, was a racist (Wikipedia article in case anybody's interested). The message, though, is priceless.

Click here for the text of the above open letter to the world.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Amir Abdel Malik Ali this Thursday


Israeli Invasion of Lebanon –

Speaker: Amir Abdel Malik
12-1pm at the Flagpoles ( Anteater Plaza )

Ramadan Discussion –
The First 10 Days of Ramadan – Seek MERCY; The next 10 days – Seek FORGIVENESS

Speaker: Amir Abdel Malik
5-6pm in the Cross Cultural Center Conference Room

Quran Recitation –
6pm-Maghrib at the Cross Cultural Center

Sadullah Khan this Tuesday (tomorrow)


MSU Fall Week 2
Themes of the Quran –
Speaker: Sheikh Sadullah Khan
5-6pm at the Cross Cultural Center Conference Room

FrontPage Magazine covered Sheikh Khan on June 27, 2006:

On June 5th, the Los Angeles chapter of CAIR sponsored a community town hall meeting at the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI), a mosque that propagates venomously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric. In a Khutbah (sermon) given at the ICOI last month, entitled ‘The Abuse of a Religion to sustain a Racist State,’ the ICOI’s Director of Religious Affairs, Sadullah Khan, stated, “Jews who came [to Israel] brought with them a Western arrogance…” In the sermon, which is found on the ICOI website, Khan liberally quoted alleged neo-Nazi William Baker and described Zionism as “racist,” “diabolical” and “sinister.”