Inside the Muslim Student Association Conference, Part 2

[To read Part I, click here. To read Part III, click here.]

In the previous installment of this short series on the recent 15th Annual Muslim Student Association (MSA) West Conference, which I attended at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I gave a general overview of the conference. The article summarized its pro-Palestinian political agenda, its preoccupation with hyping the threat of Islamophobia, its appeal to political activism in addition to its emphasis on strengthening one’s Muslim faith and community, and its support from some of the most influential Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. Now let’s look at some of the principal individual speakers involved and their messages.

The conference featured a range of professors, imams, businesspeople, media representatives, linguists, and even engineers. The biggest names were Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Edina Lekovich, Director of Policy and Programming for MPAC, the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Lekovich, a prominent Islamic face in the mainstream media, has claimed in the past that Muslims are everywhere being slaughtered by “Zionists,” and she edited a UCLA Muslim student paper that cast doubt on Holocaust claims and praised Ayatollah Khomeini and bin Laden as freedom fighters. At the UCSB conference her topic was “Beyond the Muslim Bubble,” which emphasized the very innocuous-sounding aim of “integrating ourselves into American society” to “build bridges with non-Muslims”: “We weren’t made to sit on the sidelines and not play an active role in society.”

Siraj Wahhaj, the imam of the Al-Taqwa mosque in Brooklyn, spoke at two main sessions at the conference: “Messengers of the Messenger,” about committing oneself to carrying forth the message of Muhammad today, and “Cultivating Our Own Spring,” about “actualizing our potential” to create a concrete foundation and strategy for the future. Both of his presentations were very vague and rambling. In the program booklet’s biography of Wahhaj, it wasn’t mentioned that he had been named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and had invited the infamous Blind Sheikh to address his congregation several times. It neglects to point out that he advocates replacing the U.S. government with an Islamic caliphate, and has supported violent jihad. “You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do,” Wahhaj said in 1991. “You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” A few years later he stated that “In time, democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing, and the only thing that will remain will be Islam.”

The cagey Wahhaj and Lekovich said nothing so controversial in the course of their MSA West conference sessions, however. After all, in addition to avoiding exposing their radical message to outsiders like myself, they are also keen to seduce into the Brotherhood fold any naïve Muslim students who might be in attendance. But the mere presence of Wahhaj and Lekovich, as well as the involvement of Brotherhood legacy groups, as I mentioned, confirm the radical underpinnings of the MSA West conference.

With many of the speakers at the conference addressing spiritual matters, and the two most prominent ones steering clear of controversy, the more political material was left primarily to two or three other speakers. The first indication of a political agenda came from speaker Maryam Amirebrahimi, a former president of the San Jose State University MSA who referred to the companions of Muhammad as “the Prophet’s homeboys and homegirls.” She closed her rapid-fire, slang-filled talk by urging the Muslim students to strive to work together and to intensify their faith, so that by the time of the next West Coast conference a year from now, “inshallah, Palestine will be free.” Huh? That was quite a jarring leap, from strengthening one’s personal faith to “liberating” the imaginary country of Palestine from the “occupier” Israel – unless you understand that the religious and the political are inseparable for the Brotherhood, and that the Palestinian issue has been pushed as the global focus for the entire ummah, or worldwide Muslim community.

Another speaker, Taher Herzallah, proudly described as one of the notorious Irvine 11, presented a short “campus report” in which he discussed the state of campus pro-Palestinian activism. You may recall that the Irvine 11 were convicted of censorship in their orchestrated disruption of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s talk at UC Irvine three years ago. Their plan was to stand one after the other and shout prepared statements such as “You, sir, are an accomplice to genocide!” and “Propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!” These shouts were greeted with cheering from their supporters in the audience, which further disrupted the event. Supporters of the Irvine 11 have used the conviction to promote the idea that the “Israel lobby” is all-powerful and that “Islamophobia is alive and well in Orange Country,” as one put it.

A year ago the UCSB Multicultural Center’s Students for Justice in Palestine group invited Herzallah to speak jointly with Santa Barbara sociology professor Robert I. Robinson, who accused the Israeli government of practicing ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. Herzallah seconded that charge; his unrepentant message was, “My people are being killed, my people are being oppressed, I’m going to do everything I can do to stop this. I’m not going to follow a form of protest that fits the status quo that allows my people to be oppressed.” He asserted that Ambassador Oren is “a trained propagandist” who “was directly involved in the Gaza Massacre.”

But as with Wahhaj and Lekovich, Herzallah avoided much controversy in his UCSB talk, and simply offered up the usual pleas for students to commit to political activism. All in all, statements of overt radicalism may have been in short supply at the conference, but it was teeming with overt radicals who apparently have learned to tone down their message. In the next installment of this short series, we’ll look at some of the lesser-known speakers there whose presentations were even more political.

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  • AdinaK

    Having already posted the following "who's who" of the MSA's "illustrious" crew –

    internalize that they are jihadists-in-training, but their progenitors know exactly where they want their da'wa MSA leaders to go –

    The MSA was created with one thing in mind – to bring America to its knees – literally – and then to march onward from there to the rest of the west.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel


    The false "prophet" muhammad can continue to Burn in Hell for Eternity.

    There. I've insulted your "prophet". Now "F" OFF.

  • Frank Livingston

    If you would like to view a PowerPoint that shows the expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood since it was first formed in the U.S in 1963, type in your search bar: Homegrown Jihad in the USA: Muslim Brotherhood’s Deliberate, Premeditated Plan Now Reaching Maturity© or like to it here:

  • Ar'nun

    "You may recall that the Irvine 11 were convicted of censorship in their orchestrated disruption of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s talk at UC Irvine three years ago."

    And where were the proud Jewish Students that were willing to fight these scum bags at this event? I hope part 4 is about the counter protest.We can't just all sit back and expect their lies will be obvious to everyone, we need to fight back.

  • bluffcreek1967

    The West is standing by while Islam uses our laws and customs to destroy us from within.

    "Ways to resist the Muslim Plague in Western nations,"

  • mekus milkdud

    the Muslims have taken over a lot of our congress and have a Muslim president that does everythign to help them and hurt christens

  • JacksonPearson

    The Moral and Intellectual Foundation For The Extermination of Christians and Jews Muslim Prayers What Muslims Pray Inside Mosques (and Outside) What do Muslims pray five times a day? Bigotry and hatred of the Christians and Jews …

    REALITY TIME There is no peace and brotherhood in Islam. It’s all just hatred of Christians and Jews. For all you Christians and Jews attending interfaith meetings with Muslims, for all schools, teachers and parents who take innocent children on field trips to Mosques and incredibility instruct them to recite the shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith which states:

    “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” all politicians who have Imams open meetings or legislative secessions following is the evil reality of Muslim prayers. Just as Hitler laid the moral and intellectual foundation for the extermination of Jews in Mein Kampf, so to these daily Muslim prayers and teachings of the Quran lay the moral and intellectual foundation for the extermination of Christians and Jews/kafirs. Kafirs of the world need to educate themselves about Muslim prayers. Since the prayers are recited in Arabic, few non-Muslims realize how anti-Semitic and anti-Christian the Muslim prayers actually are.

    A prayer is defined as a reverent petition to God. It could be a prayer of praise, of thanks, or of supplication. Nothing warms the heart more than having someone say, “I/We prayed for you.” For most religions, prayers are, for the most part, spontaneous expressions of the individual’s inner yearning for making a connection with the supreme power. It is mainly a personal thing between God and devotee. Muslim prayers, on the other hand, follow a very elaborate, seventeen-part formula.

    The full cycle of a prayer is called a rak’a, and it includes bowing, kneeling, and reciting certain phrases and statements in a specified sequence. These prayers are repeated five times a day, and each prayer includes multiple rak’as. While there is room for a spontaneous supplication in the dawn prayer, the rest of the prayers stick to a strict formula. The guidelines for prayer cover 118 pages in Reliance of the Traveler, 166 pages in The Guidance (Al-Hidayah), and 273 pages in Fiqh us- Sunnah. It is estimated that fulfilling the basic prayer requirements, including the necessary ablution, consumes two-and-a-half hours daily. So, what do Muslims actually pray for? The only supplication in the rak’a is the recitation of Al-Fatihah (Surah 1 of the Quran). This is what they pray for: Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored, Not of those who have incurred your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.

    The phrase ‘those who have incurred your wrath” comes from Surah 2:61 which says, Shame and misery were stamped upon [the Israelites] and they incurred the wrath of Allah; because they disbelieved Allah’s signs and slew His prophets unjustly; because they were rebels and transgressors. The phrase “those who have gone astray” comes from Surah 4:44 which says, Consider those to whom a portion of the Scriptures was given [i.e., Christians]. They purchase error for themselves and wish to see you go astray. So the only supplication in the standard Muslim prayer is asking Allah to keep the Muslim from the path of the Jews and Christians. This prayer is recited seventeen times a day by devout Muslims.

    The Friday prayer is even more offensive to Jews and Christians, as it requires not only two recitations of Al-Fatihah, but also Surah 62 – The Friday Congregation – and Surah 63 – The Hypocrites. Surah 62 specifically condemns Gentiles as being "in gross error," and Jews are compared with "a donkey laden with books." Surah 63 condemns "hypocrites," those who have renounced their Muslim faith. “They are the enemy. Guard yourself against them.” There is nothing arbitrary about the daily or the Friday prayers. The requirements were established in Reliance of the Traveler, paragraphs F8.17 and F18.12, over 600 years ago. The Quran urges Muslims to “keep up prayer” fortyfour times. (Examples: Surahs 2:43, 6:72, 11:114, and 31:17). Since these prayers are not Moral Perfection but are immoral, Muslims in their daily prayers are an affront to and committing very great sins against God. They are making a farce out of God. How can you pray hatred and bigotry to God?

    How can you pray to God comparing Jews to donkeys? Shame on Muslims. Shame on all those who support Islam.