When it comes to chutzpah, you've got to hand it to Islamist organizations denouncing the University of California-Irvine (UCI) for its one-year suspension of its Muslim Student Union. A school investigation concluded that the MSU organized disruptions of a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren and lied about it.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California on Tuesday blasted UCI, claiming the school's actions would stifle free speech and worsen the quality of life for Muslim students.
The Islamist groups didn't defend or criticize the behavior of the students during Oren's February 8 speech. His remarks were interrupted at least 10 times by students who attacked Oren as a murderer and a war criminal. Instead, they attempted to change the subject.
MPAC issued a press release quoting the organization's boss, Salam al-Marayati, urging UCI's leadership "to reach a constructive conclusion on this case that preserves the MSU's many positive contributions to campus life."
Hussam Alyoush, executive director of CAIR's Greater Los Angeles area chapter, said that "irrespective of the MSU's role in sponsoring or organizing the protests against Ambassador Oren, the University's heavy-handed recommendation only serves to stifle Muslim students' free speech and prevent legitimate criticism of human rights violations and other injustices."
Barring a student group "based on the actions of a few individuals is unprecedented, and would send the wrong message to university campuses all across the country who seek to create space for free speech and dissent," said Dr. Maher Hathout, chairman of the Islamic Shura Council.
They overlook a critical point. Read the UCI report and note the first violation listed:
"Other forms of dishonesty, including but not limited to fabricating information [and] furnishing false information.."
In other words, they lied. Though MSU officials denied it in advance, and at every point after, internal emails show "The disruptions were planned, orchestrated and coordinated in advance by the Muslim Student Union," the UCI report said.
They lied to their fellow students and to school administrators. MSU officials urged members to join in the lie and stick to the cover story. Disruptors acted individually and that MSU had nothing to do with it, the story went. None of the statements critical of UCI's action acknowledge this.
What lesson will these students, these future leaders, draw from this? Go ahead and lie – we'll have your back? The cause is more important than character.
The UC-Irvine campus has long been plagued by allegations of anti-Semitic behavior. Jewish groups cite numerous incidents in the recent past, including the display of a poster equating the Star of David with a swastika, the defacing of an Israeli flag in a dorm room, the vandalizing of a Holocaust memorial, and a 2006 program sponsored by the Muslim Student Union entitled "Holocaust in the Holy Land" and "Israel: The Fourth Reich."