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-Tensions Rise between Jewish and Muslim Students at UCI

by Dr. D ~ June 19th, 2010

Jack Langson Library at UC Irvine is one of th...
(UCI via Wikipedia)

The proposed suspension of the Muslim Student Union group on campus at UCI (University of California,Irvine) has brought even greater tension between Jewish and Muslim students. Though the majority say they are just going about their business of getting an education.

Now it is the Muslim students who seem to be on the defensive. Muslim students are now claiming that outside Jewish organizations like the Jewish Federation Orange County are the real culprits behind the trouble that they are facing at the school.

In the past Jewish students have complained of anti-Semitism, harassment, and intimidation on campus to the school administration with little or no results. In fact members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee in 2008 wrote to the Education Department expressing concerns about the treatment of Jewish students and the atmosphere of intimidation against Jewish students on the campus. Earlier in 2005 the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that Muslim students at UCI had engaged in offensive behavior, but that it was directed at the nation of Israel rather than to Jewish students themselves.

So this issue has been around a while and I have personally read many accounts on the continuing problems between Muslim and Jewish students over the years. Most of the complaints have come from the Jewish students with the administration in a continuing non-responsive mode. Usually administrators or school spokespersons have dismissed the concerns with an explanation that they are trying to foster and allow for diverse opinions on the campus.

Then last month over 60 faculty members at UC Irvine signed an open letter condemning the continuing anti-Semitic atmosphere at the school:

“We…are deeply disturbed about activities on campus that foment hatred against Jews and Israelis.”  citing incidents over the past few years that included “the painting of swastikas in university buildings and the Star of David depicted as akin to a swastika.”

“Some community members, students, and faculty indeed feel intimidated, and at times even unsafe.”

Shortly after the faculty letter became public the administration finally took action and recommended the the Muslim Student Union group be suspended for one school year.

Now it is the Muslim students who are complaining about ‘outside’ interference, politics, and discrimination.

This action was long overdue. From my perspective there is no excuse for some of the intimidation and anti-Semitic slogans, posters, and graffiti that has showed up on the UCI campus over the years in the midst of anti-Israel meetings, demonstrations, rallies, and conferences sponsored usually by the MSU. The line between anti-Israel and anti-Semitism was crossed far too many times to be allowed to continue on campus. An example had to be made and now it is the Muslim student who are deservedly on the defensive for the first time.

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1 Response to -Tensions Rise between Jewish and Muslim Students at UCI

  1. -UC Irvine: Biased Student Government Calls for Boycott of Israel? | ANSWERS For The Faith

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