Amir Abdel Malik Ali, an African-American convert to Islam who is known for his inflammatory rhetoric, is a favorite speaker of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UC Irvine. Ali graduated from San Francisco State University and currently acts as the Imam of the Masjid Al Islam in Oakland, California.
On May 17, Ali informed Muslim students at UC Irvine that a martyr’s death is the most honorable death. Because supporting terrorists is a favorite activity of the MSU and Ali’s main gig on college campuses is justifying terrorism, it was no surprise that the radical Imam delivered a keynote address to wrap up the MSU’s anti-Israel week which featured twice-daily speeches and rallies called “Israel: Apartheid Resurrected.”
An audience made up of primarily Muslim students wearing green armbands (similar to what suicide bombers typically wear) and T-shirts reading “UC Intifada” and “Freedom Fighter” attended Imam Ali’s lecture which was titled “UC Intifada: How you can help Palestine.”
Members of the MSU did not have to wait long for their honored guest to throw them the red meat they were waiting for: “Victory or martyrdom,” Ali asserted are the only two viable options available to the Palestinians in their battle against Israel. Of course, Ali didn’t use the word Israel since he only refers to the democratic country as the “Zionist Apartheid State.” Indeed, he exhorted his followers to “speak truth to power” by articulating their positions with their own definitions, not those of their enemies.
Ali is a proud supporter of terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, perceiving these groups in holy terms. In October 2006 Ali said, "We are celebrating the victory of Hamas over the occupier Zionists and this is only the beginning. What you saw, ladies and gentleman, what you saw this summer is only the beginning.... We got this, we can whoop them."
In Ali’s dictionary, Hezbollah would not be a terrorist group since its literal translation is “party of God.” In previous lectures he has characterized Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, as a fighter of justice. Hamas, moreover, is a just organization that is fighting the oppressors, according to Ali.
Ali blamed the Western media for calling suicide bombers terrorists rather than people with a high moral character and said that Palestinian bodies are effective weapons against Israeli oppression. When asked if he perceives suicide bombing as a last resort, Ali explained that Palestinians can only transport their bombs on their bodies and that they are fighting for justice.
A question about Israel’s right to defend itself from enemies seeking its destruction was quickly dismissed by Ali, who believes that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a “pretty good guy.”
In addition to disputing the fact that Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust, Ali claimed that the Mossad was to blame for 9/11 and that “Zionist Jews” are guilty of portraying Muslims in a bad light.
It appears that despite the condoning of terrorism and the hateful attitude of the MSU against “Zionist Jews” and Israel, the campus will continue to bend over backwards for them.
Administrators at UCI have not taken a significant step forward to condemn the hate-speech on campus. The current chancellor at UCI did indeed call hate speech “repugnant” in May 2006 immediately following the MSU’s anti-Israel week. However, because he did not specify which group was responsible for the hate-speech, this condemnation was simply obligatory. In fact, the administration’s refusal to call the MSU events hateful suggests that incitement against Jews and pro-Israel students is acceptable at UC Irvine and will incur no consequences. This year’s MSU events culminated in intimidation and harassment of many students. In some incidents, students were able to capture the harassment on tape.
MSU students can count on the UCI administration to help them bully their enemies on campus. On May 17, the administration told the College Republicans at UCI to move from a spot they had reserved way in advance in order to make room for two anti-Israel panels the Muslim Student Union wanted to put up (in order to partially block the Hillel/Anteaters For Israel booth). Administrators refused to acknowledge the College Republicans' reservation even though they had an official note showing that the spot had been reserved by their group for the quarter.
Earlier in the week an MSU leader took the microphone at one of the events to alert the community about an incident in which a MSU student, Yasser Ahmed, was almost hit by a silver car with tinted windows. The incident apparently involved an FBI agent and the MSU student. Witnesses and other individuals who were in the area confirmed that Ahmed threw a cinderblock at the car at some point after shouting at the driver to roll down the window and show himself. The MSU had surveillance cameras on their mock-apartheid wall and it would be interesting to learn if the confrontation was caught on tape.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the agent came onto campus "in the course of an investigation." Although the FBI denies that it monitors students at UC Irvine, there is sufficient justification for doing so. The increased anti-Israel and anti-American sentiment on the campus and the fact that members of the MSU were caught on video earlier this year calling for the destruction of the Jewish state and supporting terrorist groups that slaughter Israelis warrant suspicion. Such rhetoric and the cries of “Allahu Akbar!” it engenders raise the disturbing question: Could Muslim students in America’s safest city become future terrorists?
Aaron Hanscom is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. Reut Cohen blogs about the happenings at UC Irvine at www.reutrcohen.blogspot.com.