In the final days of the 2008 Presidential election season – with just 6 days now remaining until voters cast their ballots – both campaigns are carefully maneuvering to gain an edge, while still others are singularly focused on just "getting out the vote." Regardless of the outcome desired by these activists, there seems to be one unified message across the American political spectrum these days: Participate in our democratic system.
However, one college's Muslim student organization has sought to air a completely different message regarding the election: that of the Islamists.
A student named Farhad Akbari posted an essay on the internal Yahoo! Group of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at San Diego Mesa College on October 14. In his post, "The Issue of Voting," Akbari delves into the election, warning his fellow group members of the fate in store for those who cast a ballot for "a person who fights Islam, governs contrary to Islam, and is himself a kafir [infidel or unbeliever]…" Akbari does not reserve this treatment for any specific candidate. Rather, he holds both major party candidates in equal regard.
Continuing in his reproach of American democracy, Akbari writes:
"Whether you vote for the white kafir or the half-black kafir, they will kill our brothers and sisters. They will subjugate our brothers and sisters. And they will certainly support Israel in killing our brothers and sisters. There is no "lesser of two evils" here. They are both greater evils. The lesser evil is avoiding the situation, as both are equally poisonous to the cause of Islam…Brothers and sisters, I have one thing to say: DON"T [sic] VOTE."
In most cases, publicly proclaiming one's decision not to vote – even encouraging others to follow suit – would not be noteworthy. For better or worse, the right to vote in the U.S. democratic system includes the choice not to exercise that right. For many, this decision is one of protest – speaking out on a variety of concerns from the lack of third party viability, to the perceived unimportance of a single vote. "The Issue of Voting," however, is in a league of its own, considering what Akbari, the MSA chapter Treasurer, proposes to be the real answer to Muslim grievances by invoking the words of Islamic scholars:
"Those who do not govern according to to [sic.] the (law) which Allah has revealed [Shari'ah law], verily, they are the kaafiroon…
Democracy, like all other systems fabricated by the minds of men are untenable in Islam. It is an un-Islamic system…[and] there is absolutely no basis anywhere in the Qur'aan for western democracy and its parliamentary system. A government of democracy is a government appointed by Juhhaal (ignoramuses). Ignoramuses, fussaaq and fujjaar have no share in appointing a government in Islam. The Islamic system is Khilaafat…"
The moral of the story: don't support the "infidel" system; defeat democracy in the U.S. and replace it with Islamic law. So much for a mere protest.
While postings similar to Akbari's do not appear to be common among the group, it is telling that not one person responded to challenge his argument (nor does it appear that anyone followed up in support either). Additionally, the fact that the MSA members voted in as Treasurer an individual whose MySpace page includes a photo of him wrapped in a kefiya (reminiscent of Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamist militants) with a caption reading "not shown: AK-47/Suicide bomb jacket strap/anthrax/airplane/boxcutter" leads to questions about the activities of the MSA chapter on the whole. Akbari's newly created Facebook profile shows that he lists his "Political Views" as "Khilafa" – or a political system based on the Islamic caliphate and Shari'ah law.
As far as the chapter itself, it's not clear whether the San Diego Mesa College MSA is directly affiliated with the Muslim Students' Association - National (MSA) organization. The college's chapter is not among those listed on the MSA - West Zone USA directory of chapters. However, as noted in the IPT's dossier on the national, Muslim Brotherhood-linked organization, the MSA has nearly 600 chapters, of which roughly 150 are directly affiliated.
MSA is a member organization of a national "taskforce" that recently sent out an "election advisory," encouraging Muslims to "full[y] participat[e]" in elections on Tuesday.
However, it must be noted that the radical rhetoric being spewed in San Diego is not an anomaly among MSA chapters on campuses nationwide. At chapters across the U.S. and Canada, directly affiliated to the parent organization and not, Islamism and its hate-filled ideology is on full display. Take, for instance, the March 2003 account of Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily.com, who, after secretly attending a private MSA (aka "Muslim only") event at Queensborough Community College in Queens, NY, reported what he saw. According to Klein, one of the speakers at the event, Mohammad Faheed, blasted America and its democracy, and encouraged the audience to help bring about its demise:
"We are not Americans!" [Faheed] shouted. "We are Muslims! [The U.S.] is going to deport and attack us! It is us vs. them! Truth against falsehood! The colonizers and masters against the oppressed, and we will burn down the master's house…we reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don't lobby Congress or protest because we don't recognize Congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it!"
Faheed continued, paralleling Akbari's more recent calls for Shari'ah:
"The so-called terrorists are the only people who truly fear Allah. We must join these organizations. They are the only worthy causes, and the mighty superpower only fears them…[the U.S.] is not strong. Vietnam, they lost. Somalia, they ran away from. America hasn't won anything since World War II. We can defeat America…Eventually there will be a Muslim in the White House dictating the laws of the Shariah."
Such radical sentiment against the United States rises to the highest levels of MSA leadership. At the April 2007 MSA-West Zone Conference, West Zone President Amir Mertaban told students their paramount loyalty is to Muslims first, no matter what they may do:
These comments beg the question: is it possible that the small, community college MSA chapters are as radical as some of their larger campus counterparts? San Diego Mesa College and Queensborough Community College – from two opposing coasts, both not directly affiliated with the national MSA, yet still espousing the same hate-filled and violent rhetoric seen at larger and more directly-affiliated chapters. It is clear that the Islamist infiltration goes far beyond what may first meet the eye.
"Osama bin Laden – I don't know this guy. I don't know what he did. I don't know what he said. I don't know what happened. But we defend Muslim brothers and we defend our Muslim sisters to the end. Is that clear? I am not saying support terrorist acts. I am not saying any of that. I am saying generally speaking. If a man comes and robs a store – if you're going to rob the store, go ahead and rob the store, are we going to condemn him? No, you support your Muslim brothers whether it is right or wrong. When they do wrong you grab them and you slap some sense into them, you're doing wrong. You see what I am saying.
So you never compromise on your faith. You be confident in every aspect of life. In every aspect of Islam you are confident. Four wives? Yes men are allowed to have four wives within this context. Jihad? Yes Jihad! Jihad is the tightest thing in Islam. Don't compromise on these little things. Be proud of it. Why? Because Islam is a perfect religion. If you sit here and you start saying, 'Jihad is only an internal this and that,' you are compromising on your faith."