Alex Chazen last week wrote that the Muslim Student Union fails to educate the campus about Islam.
I would like to respond to his argument and show the detrimental effects of faulty journalism and libel.
First, let me make it clear to all my fellow students that the Muslim Student Union has never supported Osama bin Laden, even though Chazen has the audacity to lie and say that we claim that bin Laden is a freedom fighter.
The effects of such irresponsible journalism are very damaging and do not create a peaceful atmosphere on campus where students can freely express themselves without being stigmatized as terrorists.
The Muslim Student Union hosted two weeks of programs on educating our students about Islam during weeks five and six, yet those programs were never mentioned or discussed by Chazen.
In regard to his assumption that the Muslim Student Union does not take time to learn about Judaism, no evidence is provided. I guess the fact that the Muslim Student Union invited a rabbi to speak, as well as the interfaith discussions we had with him don’t count.
Furthermore, the rabbi was invited to speak as a special guest at our local mosque in Irvine, where he discussed the similarities between Islam and Judaism and how Muslims and Jews have lived in peace under Muslim rule throughout history.
When Chazen attempts to depict the Muslim Student Union as an organization that refuses to engage in dialogue or offer different perspectives, he again fails to offer any proof.
His claim that the Muslim Student Union has a ‘no dialogue policy’ is false.
The reality is that the Muslim Student Union has asked the Zionist students on many occasions to have a debate (to be directed by the Dean of Students) and I personally approached Hillel and Anteaters for Israel during week six about having a debate and dialogue about Israel in week seven, but they refused.
However, during week seven, some members of those groups expressed interest in having a debate in the near future.
In addition, the Muslim Student Union regularly supports other groups on campus, enjoys dialogue with them and works with Students for Peace and Justice, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan, the Afrikan Student Union and Tomo No Kai, all of which do a wonderful job of promoting awareness and cultural diversity on campus.
I wonder why AFI and Hillel have not worked with these righteous organizations, and perhaps they can explain to the campus why the Zionist lobby came out against affirmative action a few years back. (You can research it for yourself.)
Another important point that Chazen did not mention was what happened on Thursday of week seven.
During the Muslim Student Union’s program, where Abdel Malik engaged the students and explained how Israel’s policies are damaging to world peace, the Zionist students decided to counterdemonstrate, a perfectly acceptable method of showing their opposition.
Signs were held up saying that women can’t vote in the Middle East. However, I fail to see the purpose of this, as the Muslim Student Union is against the current governments in the Middle East as well, and believes women should be allowed to vote.
However, toward the middle of the program, some of the Zionist students decided to stoop to levels never before seen on campus. They decided to dress up as Palestinians and impersonate members of the Muslim Student Union. They then held up one poster that read ‘al Qaeda Training Camp Sign-Up’ and another about signing up for flying planes into towers.
Let the entire campus know that these were Zionist students who posed as members of the Muslim Student Union with the goal of discrediting the validity of all the Muslim Student Union stands for.
The entire campus should be against such childish and ridiculous antics that do not represent the intellectual atmosphere UCI promotes.
Osman Umarji is a fifth-year electrical engineering major and president of the Muslim Student Union.