Interesting dust-up on KPFK yesterday between two names from my past. Brian Levin, as director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, is someone I used to call whenever writing about religious hatred in the Inland Empire; Munira Syeda, now the SoCal spokeswoman for CAIR, was a fellow reporter at The Sun. I’ll let Gustavo fill you in from here:
The two were on to ostensibly talk about the partnership between CAIR and Jewish groups to protest some neo-Nazi Inland Empire morons who are targeting Mexicans and Jews.
That’s not what happened. Instead, Levin mentioned he found it incredulous that CAIR would, on one hand help fight anti-Semites, yet on the other hand maintain a relationship with anti-Semites and refuse to condemn them. Specifically, he mentioned frequent UC Irvine yapper (at the invite of the campus’ Muslim Student Union) Amir Abdel Malik Ali and William Baker. Both are certifiable Jew-haters: Malik Ali claims the recent Shepard hate crimes bill is a Jewish conspiracy to target Muslims, while Baker—who fronts as a Christian man who tries to build bridges of cultural tolerance with others regarding the Muslim faith—was exposed by the Weekly in 2002 as a raving fool.
Syeda brushed off Levin’s claims, insisted CAIR condemns anti-Semites, and said she didn’t “appreciate” the professor “smearing CAIR’s name the way he did.” But the fact is, Levin was speaking the truth.
No doubt there have been plenty of anti-Semitic incidents at UC Irvine. In covering those, and others closer to home, I’ve often found myself writing about Malik Ali (that’s him at the podium). And Gustavo’s correct: he’s a rabid anti-Semite, er, “anti-Zionist.” That’s what Malik Ali would say, though there’s little dressing up the things he says.
Jewish students and community groups have been trying for years to get the UCI administration to specifically condemn the rhetoric of individual speakers, as opposed to just anti-Semitism in general. It would be impressive to see CAIR step up first.