Monday, October 23, 2006

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

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