A Muslim student organization at the University of California, Irvine is advocating that students wear green sashes displaying the shahada when they attend the universitys commencement ceremony this weekend. The students are telling the university administration that the word shahada is simply a declaration of their Islamic faith, similar to the Star of David worn by Jews. In fact, shahada has another meaning; it is also an Islamic term for martyrdom, or death for the sake of Allah. The students are obviously going to wear the sashes not simply to declare their religious faith, but to promote their support of suicide bombings, which have resulted in the murder and maiming of more than 50 Americans and 1500 Israelis in Israel, and more than a hundred Americans in Iraq.
The university administration has closed its eyes to the hate-filled and violent meaning of shahada, and is permitting students to wear the sashes, on the ground that this is a constitutional exercise of their right to free speech. Hate speech is not protected speech, however, and the wearing of the sashes glorifying murder and terrorism is in violation of the law and the universitys own internal policies against harassment and intimidation.
The ZOA has demanded that the University of California, Irvine reject this effort by the Muslim student group and prohibit the wearing of the shahada sashes. Please read our letter to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the university and then voice your own protest immediately – time is of the essence! If you are a California resident, contact Chancellor Cicerone and Vice Chancellor Gomez of the University of California, Irvine and demand that they prohibit this outrageous and immoral conduct. Also, California residents should contact Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Congressman Chris Cox, whose district includes the University of California, Irvine. Let the university and our government representatives know that the glorification and promotion of violence and murder of innocent civilians is not tolerable in our country, and especially not at our schools and universities.