August 28, 2008
USC Muslim group removes anti-Semitic passage from Web site
Until earlier this month, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at USC included on its Web site the complete texts of the Quran, Islam's holy book, and the Hadith, which are the oral traditions associated with the life of the prophet Muhammad.
This database included a saying attributed to Muhammad that calls on Muslims to kills Jews:
"The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews," Book 41, No. 6985 stated.The MSA is a university-sanctioned student group and its Web site is hosted on the USC server. When Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Reut Cohen of the Horowitz Freedom Center discovered the passage, they sent a letter to Alan Casden, a USC trustee and co-chair of the Wiesenthal Center's board, urging him to have the university remove that portion of the Hadith.
Casden quickly contacted Provost C.L. Max Nikias, who ordered the passage removed, saying it was "truly despicable" and that it violated the university's Principles of Community.
"This is an important reminder that when free speech becomes a platform to encourage violence, then it has crossed the line," Hier said. "We commend USC for having the moral courage to stand up against those who hijack speech and religious freedoms and the good will of the campus community in order to spread a message of hate and extremist violence."
-- Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer
Talent Manager Joan Hyler Recovering From Major Injuries After Being Struck by Car
Hollywood talent manager Joan Hyler is recovering after being hit by a car on Pacific Coast Highway Aug. 15. A prominent figure in both the entertainment and Jewish communities, Hyler has been fighting for her life in the intensive-care unit at the UCLA Medical Center. After multiple surgeries, doctors are increasingly optimistic that she is responding well to treatment.
Details of the accident are still unclear, but initial reports said Hyler was parking her auto on the highway when the car struck her. Hyler sustained severe injuries, including a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and multiple broken bones. She was immediately airlifted from Pepperdine University's hospital to UCLA.
A former William Morris Agency vice president, Hyler has represented Bob Dylan, Madonna, Oscar-nominee Diane Lane, Eric McCormack of "Will and Grace" and Alfred Molina.
Hyler has exhibited a passionate commitment to the Jewish community and its causes. As president of Women in Film, she created the Morning Star Commission, an organization founded by Hadassah to promote more diverse portrayals of women in media and entertainment. She also co-created the Jewish Image Awards, which celebrate outstanding Jewish heritage content in film and television.
After the initial shock, an outpouring of support for Hyler emanated from both the entertainment and Jewish communities. Endeavor Talent Agency organized a blood drive in Hyler's honor and hundreds of her colleagues have posted personal messages, healing prayers and words of encouragement online at UCLA's Carepages.
Because Hyler's life was saved by the availability of large blood transfusions, her family has asked those able to give blood to donate to the UCLA blood bank. Donations can be made at the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, 1045 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 825-0888 or visit http://gotblood.ucla.edu.
-- Danielle Berrin, Circuit Editor
Four Jews to Receive National Medal of Science
Southern Californians Leonard Kleinrock and Andrew J. Viterbi are among four Jewish scientists and engineers selected for the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor in science and technology.
They are among eight American honorees announced Monday by President Bush, who will confer the awards on Sept. 29 at a White House ceremony.
Kleinrock, of West Los Angeles, is a professor of computer science at UCLA and a pioneer in developing the foundations of the Internet.
Viterbi, whose family came to the United States to escape fascist persecution in Italy, is considered the father of cell technology and founded cellphone giant Qualcomm in San Diego.
A Ph.D. graduate of USC and former UCLA professor, Viterbi has endowed the USC engineering school bearing his name, a program in Mediterranean Jewish studies at UCLA and a number of Jewish institutions in the San Diego area.
The two other Jewish honorees are Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who was born in Berlin into a Russian Jewish family and is a nuclear physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert J. Lefkowitz, a physician and path-breaking biochemist at Duke University.
The other four honorees are Bert W. O'Malley of the Baylor College of Medicine; Charles P. Slichter, University of Illinois; David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Mustafa A. El-Sayed, Georgia Institute of Technology.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor