Monday, February 27, 2006

UCI, the College Republicans, the Muslim Student Union and the 1st Amendment

This Tuesday evening at the UC Irvine (UCI) there either will or there won't be a student-led discussion about the violence in parts of the Islamic world that flared up over the Danish political cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Along with the riot-inciting Danish political cartoons the College Republican club sponsoring the event will also show anti-Western and anti-Semitic (really anti-Jewish as Arabs are Semites as well) cartoons that routinely appear in Muslim nations.

This event needs to go forward -- if it doesn't, you can kiss the First Amendment goodbye on our campuses.

If UCI prevents this event from occurring on campus, what will happen next? Allow me to give you some easy examples of events that might draw the ire of an emboldened Muslim Student Union:

- A Sudanese refugee and former slave of Muslims speaking on modern-day slavery practiced by many Muslims in Africa
- A Muslim woman who suffered genital mutilation speaking on that barbaric practice, common in parts of the Islamic world
- A Muslim woman lawyer speaking on Sharia (Islamic) law and how under Sharia, a woman is worth half a witness in a court of law (one reason why rape is hard to prove under Sharia law)
- A religious scholar speaking about Islam in any way deemed unacceptable to the Muslim Student Union

I don’t claim to be an expert in Islam – but I did study Arabic for a couple of years in college, I did live in Egypt for half a year, and I did get shot at in Lebanon (doesn’t everyone?). I’d say that compared to most American policymakers, I’m fairly well read on this topic. With that said, the bottom line is clear and simple: if UCI caves this time UCI will never be able to make a stand in the future for academic freedom and the First Amendment if the Muslim Student Union objects.

For my full post on this topic, see:

All the best,

Chuck DeVore, State Assemblyman, 70th District