Monday, March 31, 2008

Jewish Students Safe at UCI

IRVINE - Jewish student leaders at UCI took the unusual step this week of issuing a press release saying Jewish student life is thriving there, and no one is in danger from anti-Semitism on campus.

The move comes in the wake of assertions from outside groups that UC Irvine is so rife with anti-Semitism that it's become an unsafe place for Jewish students.

Tensions between fervent Jewish and Muslim students on campus, primarily over the Israeli government's relationship with the Palestinians, have spilled over into the international blogosphere and even been investigated by the federal government.

"There's been a lot of misinformation put out about what's going on at our school," said UCI student Isaac Yerushalmi, 21, president of Anteaters for Israel. "Unfortunately, there are organizations out there that are very passionate and concerned, but they don't really know what's going on."

The press release was issued by the presidents of four Jewish student organizations on campus, including Anteaters for Israel; Hillel: The Jewish Student Union; Alpha Epsilon Pi and Epsilon Pi fraternities.

"Jewish students are physically safe and secure on our campus … (and) Jewish life is thriving more than ever," the release states.

Continue here

If you're unfamiliar with the background, check out Muslamics' earlier post on this.

I would love to have seen the face of the ZOA people when the read the press release! I have to respect the UCI Jewish student organizations for stepping out of ZOA's cloak and speaking for themselves. If only they would seperate between Judaism and Zionism - but that's a whole other discussion.


Affad Shaikh said...

Finally some on recognizing UCSD. I swear they did events that were more in your face then any other campuses and no one, no one complained and whined to their mommies about stepping on peoples toes, it was always about bringing the facts and presenting it.

Vindication for UCI and recognition for UCSD! YES.

Anonymous said...

One more reason why the ability of adult third parties, who throw around their cash and ideologies, to interfere in internal campus affairs should be strictly limited. The same would apply if it were a Muslim third party organization as there are rumors of similar things happening on that front.

Anonymous said...

interesting. I wonder what third party is being referred too here.

Affad Shaikh said...

maybe anonymous is talking about the rumored MAS campus youth chapters sprouting up across California, basically sapping the MSA's, further splitting the Muslim students into factional groups and sending a clear message that if your one type of Muslim you might not be good enough.

Anonymous said...

lol affad i like ur comment.

Affad Shaikh said...

thanks anonymous, but it irks me to the core.

The MSA's should not have to compete with this sort of undermining. I may be an idealist, but from my MSA experience I wish we were able to be accommodating to perspectives and views. Things get mischaracterized, personalized and "radicalized" where people take extreme views to draw the line clearer.

The MSA needs to be a place where ideas and differences can be respected and worked with. Having said that it must be done within an Islamic context- none of this women leading Friday prayer garbage.

By creating these other groups on campus, how is it different then what we see at USC- the Muslim group that "progressive/liberal" and then the "Muslim" group?

This will only further ingrain the idea that being part of Al-Maghrib your immediately Salafi, or being part of MAS you are politically/spiritually active.

People might say that I am with CAIR so i have an agenda, the sad thing is CAIR's agenda is the Muslim community agenda, so if there is an overarching Muslim agenda then its CAIR's agenda.

CAIR doesnt care about the political shannanigans in the Masjids, the political manuevaring between ICNA or MAS or those two against the Sufi versus the Salafi's.

I work for CAIR because I can remain independent of ideology and remain Muslim. I can go to the MAS conference, attend the RAWDAH, go to Al-Maghrib class with Yassir Birgas, then go over to a Hikma event on how Islam can cope with Modernity and still know that at the end of the day, as an employee of CAIR, I represent CAIR in a way that encompass the Muslim community, with out taking away from it, imposing on it or melting it into one big mush.

As CAIR i get to be a resource to the community- whether is Humanitarian day, or Hikma, or IR coming to find out how our internship program works, or the MSA's. I serve as a resource.

I think we need more resources in the community and less tribalism. I like that Muslamics serves as a place where these different idea's can mingle and learn and experience the cultivation of an American Muslim identity.

So yes, it disturbs me that third parties are doing this, an unfortunately its MAS, an organization that helped me become a true activist while in SD, but really they have a bad idea and a limited scope of understanding whats going on. From what i hear they are doing this as a reaction and i think its one that is based on limited information and not the "bigger picture".

Anonymous said...

Yes Affad, I agree with you wholeheartedly and because of this, I think so many people are beginning to become weary of MAS' intentions behind such an action. On a national level, they may intend well and want to provide an additional service to the MSAs, but on a local level, that is definitely not the case. People at the local level in many different chapters are not on the same page. They are okay with competing for the same resources, reinventing the wheel, creating division amongst communities, and being confrontational about it too. There are several cases where MSAs have been approached by MAS, and specifically one in mind, where they were offered two board positions on the MSA (more than what they deserve) in hopes of creating some type of positive relationship, but what does MAS do? Refused those positions, turned around, and started their own organization on campus. What's the need for their own organization on campus to begin with?

In addition, freshmen & even people on campus are now confused as to who they should join. Are they separate? Are they together? Why are there two organizations? MSAs pride themselves in comparison to other organizations on campuses in being the only Muslim organization. We don't have 10 organizations on campus for African Americans, we don't need 15 organizations for Latino/Latinas, etc. The vast majority of our campuses only have one MSA, which represents unity, but unfortunately, MAS came and destroyed this legacy and this effort.

They didn't even offer to work with MSAs initially and try to work things out, but instead, a back side attack was the method that they chose.

The reality of why they're doing this is because no one is joining MAS, they want to brainwash MSA students when they are freshmen in college, have them graduate and become MAS Yes-men post-college, they say yes to everything that MAS says to do.

Is this is smart move on their behalf for their own organization? Maybe, I'm not sure, it could very well fire back in their own face.

Is it tactful? Not the least.

Will they damage their reputation even more? Yes, in fact, people are really starting to get irked by the name MAS itself, including myself.

Do they care what MSAs think? Probably not, they dared start this effort without consulting any MSA members.

If anyone from MAS is reading this, beware. If you think about approaching our schools in our areas, you will get rejected, so save yourself some energy, save yourself some breath, and go do something else that is not going to create division.

Piedmont Ashiqie said...

3rd party orgs should remain at most advisory bodies, they shouldn't start founding "rival" chapters in order to upsurt existing clubs. this is nonsense. students are confused as it is between indian culture clubs, PSA, MSAs, etc, and now you want a new three letter muslim club? what's next, icna charter clubs? this is starting to smell almost corporate in a way. i think the variation that exists amongst MSA's across this country gives them their own unique personality which is good and appealing to students; there are better ways to to address their concerns regarding niyyah and adaab if that is what MAS is concerned about. also, there are ahadith and ayaat regarding creating fitna within the community, i hope that people pay some attention to that.