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Graduation Jihad By: Roberta Leguizamon
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, June 17, 2004

Graduating students at University of California-Irvine should be celebrating the end of a journey and the beginning of the best and most productive years of their lives. Instead, some of those young hopefuls intend to show their support for terrorism, murder and Islamist tyranny.

The Muslim Student Union (MSU) of University of California-Irvine has asked graduating Muslim students to wear green sashes bearing the word “shahada,” the Arabic word for "martyrdom.” The Muslim world refers to a suicide bomber who kills innocent civilians in Israel as a “shahid.” Pilots and their cohorts who fly airplanes into skyscrapers are also celebrated for their “martyrdom.” Children in Palestinian schools are taught, “blessed with shahada and honour, his soul returns to its Creator to live a different life, content with the rewards and honour bestowed upon it, a life of grace thanks to Allah.”

In fact, the entire culture of the Islamic world appears to be built around the concept of “shahada”/martyrdom. Palestinians who raise their children to sacrifice themselves for Islam are richly rewarded. Indeed, children are seen as the most useful weapons against Israel. On January 12, 2004, John Parazzo wrote in Front Page Magazine, “According to Sheikh Hamed Al-Bitawi, Head of the Council of Sages of Religion of Palestine, ‘We in Palestine have a great love of jihad and Shahada, and that makes many children compete among themselves in carrying out jihad and Shahada-seeking missions.’ Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Razek agrees, ‘The Moslem was created to die for Allah . . . [who] has planted within our youth the love of jihad, the love of Shahada. Our youth have turned into bombs, they blow themselves up among them [Israelis] day and night.’”


Justus Weiner, scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, addressed the problem in a comprehensive study entitled “The Recruiment of Children in Current Palestinian Strategy.” In it he discussed the way children relish the opportunity to become suicide bombers, the pride taken by family members of “shahid’s,” and Allah's “rewards” to them. In October, 2002, Jewish World wrote:


Weiner reports that a another reason Palestinian parents allow and even encourage their children to get involved is the financial incentive offered to families of ‘martyrs.’ Thus, the Palestinian Authority furnishes a cash payment -- $2,000 per child killed and $300 per child wounded. Saudi Arabia announced that it had pledged $250 million as its first contribution to a billion-dollar fund aimed at supporting the families of Palestinian martyrs.


“In addition, the Arab Liberation Front, a Palestinian group loyal to [former] Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, pays generous bounties to the injured and the families of the dead according to the following sliding scale: $500 for a wound; $1,000 for disability; $10,000 to the family of each martyr; and $25,000 to the family of every martyr suicide bomber -- lavish sums, given the chronic unemployment and poverty of the majority of the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”


It is hard to believe that the UC-Irvine would silently endorse this culture of death at its graduation ceremony, yet to date, not a single member of its administration has spoken against the MSU’s promotion of the suicide sashes. The proposed sashes don’t just represent Palestinian “freedom fighters” and their crusade against Israel. They also glorify the actions of those 19 “martyrs” who brought the World Trade Center to the ground on top of American citizens. And this institution of higher learning has chosen to support pro-terrorist advocacy while this country is at war with terrorism (or rather, vice-versa). 


Three thousand innocent Americans died on September 11, 2001, because of Muslims seeking “shahada.” Thousands more Americans, Jews and Muslims around the world have died because of them. And thousands more may and probably will die as these “holy warriors” commit violent acts of terror and murder.


This isn’t the first time anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism have reared their ugly heads at UC-Irvine. Many Christian and Jewish students at UC-Irvine say that they have been threatened and harassed by members of the MSU. UC-Irvine allowed the MSU to bring Amir Abdemalik Ali to its campus to provide a racist, hate-laced presentation called “America Under Siege: The Zionist Hidden Agenda.” He has made the outrageous claim that Jews staged September 11 in order to promote a universal war against Muslims. Not coincidentally, Amir also praises Hamas and Hezbollah, which have both been named terrorist organizations by the United States. Hamas also offers financial rewards to the families of “shahid.”


FPM contributor Arnold Steinberg points out the MSU has worn green armbands before, in support of Hamas. “The MSU also has displayed posters on campus that equate the Star of David with the Swastika,” he explained.


“Leaders of Hillel and other Jewish groups on campus have requested the administration record the speakers MSU and SAS [Society of Arab Students] bring to campus. The administration refused their request, even though the guests of MSU and SAS have reportedly called for an Islamic revolution in America and for supporting Hamas in its war against ‘Zionists’ -- and Western civilization,” he said.


Alkalima, UC Irvine’s Muslim student newspaper, once published a special report called “Zionism: The Forgotten Apartheid.” The report glorified Hamas and Hezbollah as noble warriors against Israeli oppression. FPM’s David Horowitz quoted the author’s intent behind the report:


As the Zionists continue to colonize, torture and ethnically-cleanse in the name of the ‘peace process’ and the Americans continue to fund them, the respective staffs of Al-Talib (UCLA’s muslim magazine) and Alkalima feel it to be their basic duty to expose Zionism, its evils and its effects…Zionist-controlled world media has been purposefully distorting and misconstruing world events too long.”


UC-Irvine itself has contributed to the problem, hosting Imam Muhammad al-Asi in February, 2001, at the invitation of Irvine’s Muslim students. He told his audience, “The Zionist-Israeli lobby, referred to by the Jews themselves as the Jewish lobby in this country, is taking the United States government and the United States people to the abyss. We have a psychosis in the Jewish community that is unable to co-exist equally and brotherly with other human beings. You can take a Jew out of the ghetto, but you cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew.”


On September 9, 2001, Al-Talib co-sponsored a dinner at UC-Irvine to honor Imam Jamil Al-Amin, aka H. Rap Brown, former Minister of Justice for the Black Panthers. Al-Amin was on trial at the time for killing Deputy Ricky Kinchen in Alabama, and was subsequently convicted. A Black Muslim leader named Imam Musa, who has spoken at a number of antiwar rallies across the United States, was a featured guest at the dinner. He called the United States “superior in criminality and Nazism,” and said, “The American criminalizer is the most skillful oppressor that the world has ever known.”


This is the same university campus that once shut down the College Republicans' anti-Affirmative Action bake sale (which charged different rates for sweets based on the buyer’s race and gender), because it violated the university's anti-discrimination code. Irvine’s student newspaper also rejected Horowitz’s anti-reparations advertisement in December, 2001. Yet the university has no qualms about permitting the MSU to endorse homicide bombers in the name of free speech.


If members of Campus Crusade for Christ suggested Christians on campus were to wear sashes calling themselves “Crusaders,” the administration's backlash would be deafening. But the administration looks the other way when Muslim students support the actions of terrorists -- at a time when terrorists are seeking “shahada” against American soldiers.


UC-Irvine's president and administration should condemn the pro-terrorist actions of the MSU. Irvine's silent endorsement of terrorist self-immolation must end.


This is a time when students are supposed to look with wide, hopeful eyes at a bright future, the MSU wants to set “shahada” -- a bloody, violent and premature death -- before them as their ultimate hope. UC-Irvine should be ashamed of itself.


Roberta Leguizamon is a contributing editor at Frontpagemag.com.

Roberta Leguizamon earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Ohio University and is a Contributing Editor to Frontpage Magazine.

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