Cairo’s Al-Azhar University is the Muslim world’s preeminent Sunni religious institution. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) provides outstanding higher education in the United States. Both seem quite different. Yet both share something in common besides being well-known universities. It’s cause for concern.
Last Sunday in Mecca, Ahmed al-Tayib, Al-Azhar’s grand imam, addressed leading Sunni clerics from around the world. He called for Muslim educational reforms to halt the spread of religious extremism. “The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers.”
So far, so good—unless you’re uncomfortable with the word “unbelievers.” And maybe the fact that al-Tayib spoke only to problems among Muslims. In the same address, according to Agence France-Presse, al-Tayib “blamed unrest in the region on a conspiracy by what he called ‘new global colonialism allied to world Zionism.’” What’s the cause of the bloodshed in Iraq and Syria; Afghanistan and Pakistan; Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria? It’s the Jews.
Something just as disturbing emerged from UCLA. On February 10, the school’s Undergraduate Students Association Council considered the application of sophomore Rachel Beyda to serve on that body. At least one council member specifically questioned Beyda about whether she, as a Jew, could neutrally judge campus policies. It seems that despite what’s happening in the countries I just mentioned, and the usual issues faced by colleges and universities, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of preeminent importance on the Westwood campus. Might Beyda’s Jewish involvements, she was asked, create a conflict of interest?
This line of questioning seemed odd given that several students on the Judicial Council have names suggesting they might be Muslim. Do they have a conflict of interest? Interestingly, council president Avinoam Baral is Jewish. So maybe this whole incident is overblown. But I doubt it. Last May, UCLA’s Muslim student newsmagazine, Al-Talib, attacked Baral for being part of a Jewish program that helps young Jews visit Israel because it “actively (contributes) to violence against Muslims.” If that’s valid, should we assume that visiting the West Bank or Gaza contributes to violence against Jews? Should Muslim students who do so be banned from university government?
Across America, college campuses are rife with anti-Semitism. Jewish groups and individual students are harassed continually. Muslim and other students—including leftist Jews—see Israel as the fulcrum of the world’s problems. Jews can do no right. Muslims can do no wrong. But is that so?
Last Monday, a Federal District Court jury in New York found the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable for six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004. It awarded the plaintiffs $218.5 million—to be tripled to $655.5 million under U.S. hate-crime provisions. Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, PA deputy minister of information, said the PA would appeal. “We are confident that we will prevail, as we have faith in the U.S. legal system and are certain about our common sense belief and our strong legal standing.”
Unless, of course, the Jews, who control the courts and Washington—along with Wall Street, the banking system, the media and the arts—undermine the appeal. Sounds far-fetched? If you can believe Ahmed al-Tayib and too many college students across the U.S., you can believe that.
Read the first two chapters of FLIGHT OF THE SPUMONIS here at www.davidperlstein.com. You can get a signed copy from me—$20 plus $3 postage if required—or order a soft cover or e-book at Amazon.com.
To respond, click on “comments” above then go to the bottom of the article.