At the University of California, Irvine the Muslim Student Union (MSU), a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American student group, holds several programs which unabashedly support terrorist groups and unjustly denounce Israel, America, and the Western world. MSU events have featured speakers like Norman Finkelstein, Ward Churchill, Muhammad al-Asi and Amir Abdel Malik Ali, and have had titles such as "Hamas: the People's Choice" and "Israel: The 4th Reich."
On May 12, 2008 the Muslim Student Union invited Muhammad al-Asi to speak on the main part of the campus in front of the flag poles. Al-Asi has spoken at UC Irvine before, and his speeches are usually riddled with stereotypical tirades on Jews and unrepentant affirmations of terrorist acts on American and Israel.
Out of all the MSU’s speakers, al-Asi has the most lurid personal history. A former Air Force Officer, al-Asi became radicalized by the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and is an avid admirer of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1983, he was removed from his position at the Islamic Center in Washington D.C. for being too radical, and since then, he preaches his hateful message in front of the very same mosque to passers-by. Al-Asi also makes regular trips to Iran to meet hard-line officials, and as reported by the Washington Post, is under constant surveillance from the United State’s government.
Al-Asi’s hateful message was on full display during this year’s hate week. With a speech peppered with pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic overtones, he didn’t disappoint his keffiyah wearing devotees of the Muslim Student Union.
In referring to the fate of the Israeli state, al-Asi boasted about the increasing endangerment of the concentrated Jewish population in the Middle East, and the pent up aggression of their Arab neighbors:
"As the years go by you are going to feel more cornered in the nation state ghetto you constructed."
The invocation of “ghetto” is a common theme in al-Asi’s speeches. To the defrocked Imam, the state of Israel isn’t a prosperous and civilized nation founded by legal land purchases and predicated on international law, but rather a bastion for alien savages that ran rough shod over an otherwise pristine Middle East. According to al-Asi, modern Jewish culture is deviant and depraved, born from thousands of years of exile and the violent “ghetto life” they failed to learn from in Europe:
"Just like you didn't learn from exile, you didn't learn from ghetto life.
You left the ghettos of Europe, there were no ghettos to speak about in Muslim Countries. You left those ghettos and came in the fashion that you did, with all the bloodshed that went with it and still continues.
You came to the holy land, which you desecrated and blasphemed with every decision that you made and still are making and then you realize that you are in a territory of hostilities around you. These hostilities didn't come from nowhere, these hostilities are a reaction to all the misery and all the hostility that you brought with you."
Amir Abdel Malik Ali echoed similar overtones in his speech on Thursday, May 15. Invoking repetitive and hazy distinctions between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, he did however characterize Jews that are politically active in Republican politics as traitors “masquerading as right wingers.” Ali was unequivocally adamant about the destruction of Israel, but was more reserved in his attacks on America, calling for what he narrowly defined as the fall of “empire.”
“In order for people to live like human beings America must fall as an empire and America is coming down. When you put the Israeli flag up next to the American flag, what it means for many of us, you will fall just like that empire is going to fall.”
Ali, however, offered no condemnation for aggressive Islamic actors like Iran and Hezbollah, who seek to undemocratically spread their influence to sovereign nations. To Ali, they are just freedom fighters, and fears about a militant Islamic revival are instigated by western propaganda:
“Our non-Muslim friends they got you all thinking that this Islamic revival is something that you should fear. That's propaganda!”
To supplement the general theme of their speakers, the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine erects a mock apartheid wall plastered with standard Jewish blood libel and hagiographic tributes to terror groups. This year, despite their murderous acts against Jews and their chartered mission to eliminate Israel, a whole section of the wall was devoted to praising the terror group Hamas for “leading the resistance against occupation” and humanitarian work in funding and implementing “relief programs, schools, orphanages, clinics, soup kitchens, and children’s programs.”
The MSU also plastered the wall with more overt and racist depictions of Jews. In a political cartoon they posted that looked as if it was ripped out of the Nazi-era publication Der Sturmer, Ariel Sharon was depicted with a stereotypical hooked-nose and over sized lips. The poster’s intention was to be a movie parody on Ridley’s Scott’s Hannibal, but it provided the dual purpose of characteristic blood libel by invoking the portmanteau Cannibal accompanied by a Star of David in the backdrop.
An independent task force investigation recently issued findings that clearly suggest anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and pro-terror speech is well documented at UC Irvine. The full report can be read here.