June 1, 2023

CUNY’s Vile Valedictory

In a commencement address to her fellow law school graduates, Fatima Mousa Mohammed spewed Jew-hatred and other leftist rhetoric.

“I have to say,” said professor Jeffrey Lax, “it was the most disturbing commencement speech I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and I’ve been doing this a long time.”

Lax, the cofounder of the group SAFE CUNY (Students and Faculty for Equality at City University of New York), was referring to the words of Fatima Mousa Mohammed, the Yemen-born, Queens-raised commencement speaker who managed to shoehorn a lot of hate into a single 12-minute graduation speech. “To my ears listening to this,” said Lax of the May 12 CUNY Law School address, “it was a blatant call for American insurrection.”

When professor Lax says he’s heard a lot of commencement speeches, he’s not kidding. He’s taught at CUNY for 20 years. But this one, he says, was different. He continued: “Fatima Mohammad doesn’t stop at firing the typical anti-Semitic tropes against Israel and Zionist people. She actually asks for rage to be the fuel for the fight against capitalism … against Zionism. When you do that, you’re coming very close [to] inciting violence.” See for yourself in the full-length video below, which was initially taken down by the university but then reposted due to public outcry (Mohammed’s remarks begin at the 1:16:24 mark):

“Like many of you,” Mohammed said as she moved past the perfunctory pleasantries of her speech, “I chose CUNY School of Law for its articulated mission, ‘Law in the Service of Human Needs,’ one of very few legal institutions created to recognize that the law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world.”

The future litigator continued, attacking her own school for continuing “to train and cooperate with the fascist NYPD, the military” and for continuing “to train [Israeli] soldiers to carry out that violence globally,” and exhorting her fellow graduates to become “the fuel for the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism around the world.”

Mohammed referred to “the revolution that lives so loudly despite not being televised. … No longer are we going to capitulate to oppressors. No longer are we going to put our hope in their depraved consciousness.”

She also showed either her ignorance or her disdain for the American judicial system, and for its fundamental presumption of innocence, when she called for “liberation” in light of the “murder of black men like Jordan Neely by a white man on the MTA.” She was, of course, referring to the incident of a few weeks ago, in which a Marine Corps veteran, Daniel Penny, took courageous and accidentally lethal action to restrain a deranged homeless man who was threatening his fellow passengers on the subway. Mohammed then said such killings were “dignified” by politicians such as New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Senator Chuck Schumer, both Democrats. It seems that the Left is being eaten by its own.

Interestingly, Mayor Adams was there at the commencement exercise that day, and he took to the lectern to give his own brief remarks. For which he was thanked with a smattering of boos and jeers. Yesterday, Adams denounced Mohammed’s “hate-filled” commencement speech and declared he’d have done so on stage if he’d heard her remarks at the time.

Fair enough. And better late than never, given that his denunciation came nearly three weeks after Mohammed’s speech.

CUNY, too, distanced itself from the speech earlier this week, but only in the face of intense backlash. “Free speech is precious, but often messy,” said the statement from CUNY’s Board of Trustees, “and is vital to the foundation of higher education. Hate speech, however, should not be confused with free speech and has no place on our campuses or in our city, our state or our nation.”

Again, better late than never.

“The most horrifying part” of all, though, says professor Lax, is the environment that gave safe harbor to such a screed — one that he says was likely reviewed and approved beforehand. Mohammed was selected to speak by her fellow law school graduates, after all, and she was therefore addressing our next generation of lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and defenders.

It was hardly a call, as the university would have us believe in the brief and harmless highlight video it posted of the graduation exercise, “to serve, protect, foster, and promote the fair and impartial administration of justice,” as the oath administered by one of its faculty members expressed.

No, it was hardly that at all.

Postscript: Anyone who thinks we’re making too much of Ms. Mohammed’s hateful rhetoric might consider a tweet of hers from May 2021, when she wished that “every Zionist burn in the hottest pit of hell.” Perhaps for an encore, she tweeted the following day, “my mom would have a heart attack if she knew i pray upon the death of the USA on a public platform but yolo [you only live once] i guess.”

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