UC Irvine's 'Islam Awareness Week': A CAIR Convention
The latest example of the Muslim Brotherhood's unsettling influence on U.S. campuses.
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.”
In 2010, UCI officials could no longer ignore the MSU’s thuggishness when Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren visited the campus to give a speech. A pre-planned and coordinated effort to deride the Ambassador and disrupt his speech resulted in a year-long suspension for the MSU and 50 hours of community service for the offenders. Upon appeal, the suspension was reduced to the fall quarter of 2010, but the community service was upped to 100 hours.
In 2011, the students involved were also convicted by an Orange County jury for their actions. DA Tony Rackauckas characterized the student’s behavior as “thuggery." "In a civilized society, we cannot allow lawful assemblies to be shut down by a small group of people using the heckler’s veto,” he contended.
What has happened at UCI is not anomalous. The national Muslim Students Association (MSA) was established in 1963, and now boasts more than 600 chapters in the United States and Canada. Muslim Brotherhood documents discovered through the Holy Land Foundation trial list the MSA as one of the Brotherhood’s “organizations and the organizations of our friends.” Despite their self-professed innocence, terrorism expert Patrick Poole, who has investigated them, explains who they are. “The Muslim Students Association has been a virtual terror factory,” said Poole. “Time after time after time again, we see these terrorists – and not just fringe members: these are MSA leaders, MSA presidents, MSA national presidents – who’ve been implicated, charged and convicted in terrorist plots.” The NYPD has also referred to them as an “incubator” for Islamic radicalism.
FBI Special Agent John Guandolo reiterates the genesis of the problem: the MSA’s roots can be traced to the Muslim Brotherhood. “The MSA serves as a recruitment tool to bring Muslims into the Brotherhood,” he said. “Which was its original purpose: to evaluate Muslims and to bring them into the Brotherhood and to recruit non-Muslims into Islam as a dawa entity, giving them the call to Islam.” He goes further. “Their goal, both from their senior leaders, presidents of MSA’s around the country, national leadership, is to implement Islamic government here in the United States,” he explained. “And they say that.”
The overlooked threat of the MSA is analogous to the threat of Islamist influence in the federal government, which Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been on the forefront of exposing – and vindicated in doing so. That she is not being taken seriously, and being slandered, is unsurprising. The Obama administration’s proposed nominees for high-level positions relating to such matters include Secretary of State John Kerry, who referred to Syrian butcher Bashar Assad as a “reformer,” CIA director John Brennan, a serial apologist for violent jihad, and Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, whose disdain for Israel is matched only by his indifference to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and his desire to conduct negotiations with designated terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Bachmann has also courageously raised the alarm about Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, due to her abundant and well-documented connections to the Brotherhood and its affiliate organizations. Leftist criticism directed at Bachmann has been relentless, but the truth is on her side, just as it is for those drawing attention to the MSA.
Such self-inflicted myopia is underscored by Guandolo, who revealed that one former MSA member was a man once held in high esteem by the U.S. government. So much so, that this former leader of the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque in Virginia, and Muslim Chaplain at George Washington University, was invited to lunch at the Pentagon shortly after 9/11, as part of the government’s Muslim outreach program. That former MSA member was Anwar Al-Awlaki, the terrorist recruiter who was killed by a drone strike in 2011. If America’s college campuses are susceptible to would-be Islamists, how can it be impossible to believe the federal government remains immune to infiltration?
Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.