Middle East studies in the News
The MSA at Berkeley [on the Muslim Student Association; incl. Hatem Bazian, Hamid Algar]
Over the next several days, Frontpage will publish profiles of individual chapters of the Muslim Students Association on a variety of campuses around the country, showing how they work to advance the cause of radical Islam and to lead the effort to stigmatize Israel. These profiles are compiled in our new booklet, "The Muslim Students Association and the Jihad Network." To read the introduction, click here, and to read Part One on "the MSA at UCLA," click here. – The Editors
The Muslim Students Association of UC Berkeley says that its mission is to support "those who wish to understand, appreciate, and practice their Islam without compromising their morals and beliefs"; to educate non-Muslims "about the misconceptions regarding Islam and the Islamic way of life"; and to "foster a social community for Muslims.36
But MSA-UCB's interests extend well beyond issues related to education and personal growth. Its constitution explicitly states that one of its chief objectives is to "develop activism of Muslims on campus and in the community."37 It regards two of Berkeley's Muslim faculty members – Hamid Algar, who is a supporter of the Ayatollah Khomeni, and Hatem Bazian, who has called for an "Intifada" in America – as role models, and its website makes special mention of both.38
Algar in particular works closely with the organization, and acknowledges its support for Wahhabism, the doctrine of jihad as holy war. In his 2000 publication, Wahhabism: A Critical Essay, he acknowledges MSA's ties to radical Islam: "Although the MSA progressively diversified its connections with Arab states, official approval of Wahhabism remained strong."39 Algar further notes that in 1980, MSA UCB published a translation of writings by Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th century founder of Wahhabism, which went on to become the dominant state sect in Saudi Arabia. And he calls attention to MSA's role in the creation of the Islamic Society of North America, which Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz describes as "a branch of the Saudi religious militia operating to impose Wahhabi conformity on all of American Islam."40
MSA-UCB has a history of hostility toward campus speakers who attempt to expose the dangers of radical Islam. For example, the Israel Action Committee and Berkeley Hillel jointly invited Islam scholar Daniel Pipes to address the Berkeley student body on February 10, 2004. On the day of Pipes' speech to an audience of approximately 700 Berkeley students, some 50 to 70 members of MSA-UCB teamed up with the Berkeley chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine to silence him by interrupting his speech and repeatedly calling him a "racist" and a "Zionist." University police eventually had to eject the demonstrators from the auditorium.41
In the same month, MSA UCB hosted the sixth annual MSA West Conference. The featured speaker for this event was the notoriously anti-Semitic Abdel Malik-Ali,who angrily denounced "the Zionist Jews" and asserted that "neo-cons are all Zionist Jews."42 After reading aloud a newspaper article about Jewish leaders who feared that the Iraq War might lead to an anti-Semitic backlash, he said: "Let the backlash begin."43
During the week of October 22-26, 2007, the David Horowitz Freedom Center held Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week (IFAW) activities at the Berkeley campus in an effort to educate students about the grave threat that radical Islam posed to the world. MSA- UCB organized a competing week of events titled "Peace Not Prejudice Week" that opened with a screening and discussion of the film Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, which depicted American military personnel as barbarians eager to brutalize defenseless Muslims for sport. By showing this film, MSA-UCB conveyed a clear message: The real threat to humanity was not Islamofascism, but America's egregious disregard for human rights.
One of the featured speakers at Islamo Fascism Awareness Week was Nonie Darwish, the Palestinian-born author of Now they Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror. Darwish, whose father was the head of the fedayeen, the first terrorist group to attack Israel, was raised in a traditional Muslim home in Gaza. She described the degradation of women under Islam, that led her to renounce the faith. MSA-USB members repeatedly interrupted her speech, calling her a "racist" and a "fascist."44 At some points, the disruption was so loud that Darwish could not speak. Campus police had to remove the unruly protesters from the auditorium.45
36 http://msa.berkeley.edu/new/index.php?option= com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=44&Itemid=63
38 http://msa.berkeley.edu/new/index.php?option =com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=42&Itemid=68
42 http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individual Profile.asp?indid=2102
43 http://126.96.36.199/custom?q=cache:fLRy8rkHddoJ:www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printableaspx%3FGUID%3DC92C9ED4-F451-4987-9B2F-285C1A11BCEF+%22muslim+students+association%22+and+berkeley&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=12&gl=usNote: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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