This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1894
Article over radical Islamist rhetoric on FAU campus causes uproar as trustees demand FAU President respond to concerns
May 7, 2006
|Boca Goes Kablawi|
All around America, Muslim student groups are testing the limits of Free Speech by bringing radicals to their respective campuses to give hate-filled talks. One of the institutions that this practice has become prevalent in is Florida Atlantic University (FAU). [See ‘Florida Atlantic Terror University.']
The Muslim Student Organization (MSO) at FAU, for the past seven years, has celebrated its annual hatefest – "Scholar's Night" – with the worst of extremists. In April of 2001, at its 2nd Annual Scholar's Night, one of the featured speakers was Rafil Dhafir, a man who currently sits behind bars, convicted for illegal activity with regard to an Iraqi-based charity called Help the Needy. In April of 2003, at its 4th Annual Scholar's Night, the MSO brought to the campus: Hamas and Hezbollah supporter, Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan; alleged Neo-Nazi, William Baker; and potential co-conspirator of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Siraj Wahhaj.
Recently, the MSO kept with tradition, when it held its 7th Annual Scholar's Night. The event, which took place at FAU's Lifelong Learning Center auditorium on April 22, 2006, featured speakers that denounced non-Muslim religions, verbally attacked Jews, and proclaimed a future worldwide dominance of Islam. It was fittingly and brazenly titled, ‘Believe It or Not: You were born a Muslim.'
The co-sponsors of the event were American Muslims for Emergency and Relief (AMER); the Islamic Society of the University of Miami (ISUM); the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA); and the Islamic Center of Boca Raton (ICBR), a radical mosque where an Al-Qaeda operative, Rafiq Sabir, was recently taken into custody and shipped to New York for trial.
Attending the function were a little over 50 people. Among the attendees were ICBR representative Bassem Alhalabi, a tenured FAU professor and former assistant to Sami Al-Arian that was charged, in March of 2003, with illegally exporting a $13,000 thermal imaging military device to Syria. Also attending was the head of AMER and AMANA, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout, who was previously the Vice President of the Hamas-related Health Resource Center for Palestine, which was shut down in April of 2003. However, Zakkout was not just an attendee. Between lectures, he would walk around the audience, taking pictures of anyone that did not look like they belonged there. And Alhalabi sat directly behind a couple of people for what seemed to be intimidation purposes.
AMANA, apart from being a co-sponsor of the Scholar's Night, supplied numerous informational materials for the event, which neatly lined tables inside the lobby of the auditorium. Event-goers were treated to at least three versions of the Quran; Islamic booklets based on a wide range of subjects; organizational pamphlets; and audio CDs of speeches given by various Islamic scholars.
Some of the booklets had innocuous titles, such as ‘Islamic Activism' or ‘Non-Violence and Islam,' but others were nothing short of appalling. One, entitled ‘The Fire of Hell,' revealed a dark side of Islam, where death is cherished over that of life. It contained such statements as: "Death teaches us how to live; it shows us the way to real success;" "Death is not the end of our lives; it is the beginning of our real life;" "Death is greater than a hurricane. If one were to realize this, one would think and speak about death more than anything;" and "This is the true difference between a believer and a disbeliever; the disbeliever lives for this world, while the believer lives for the next world." The booklet also assailed Jews as being "disgraced and miserable." It stated, "If Muslims do not rise to the task of warning people of the next life, they lose their worth in the sight of G-d; they become disgraced and miserable both in this world and the next. One only has to look at the vicissitudes in the history of the Jewish people to understand this fact."
Another AMANA booklet, entitled ‘A BRIEF ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING ISLAM,' has listed as one of its editors Ali Al-timimi. Al-Timimi was convicted in April of 2005 of soliciting his followers, in the days after the 9/11 attacks, to join the Taliban and wage jihad (holy war) against U.S. troops. Additionally, in AMANA's personal brochure, one finds Ibrahim Dremali, the imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines, Iowa, listed as an AMANA advisor. Dremali's name is also found on the United States federal no-fly list.
The CDs that were given out by AMANA were also very problematic. One of the speeches, entitled ‘Monotheism, the Foundation of Islam,' was made by Rafiq Mehdi, the imam of the mosque where ‘Dirty Bomber' Jose Padilla converted to Islam. In another of the CDs, ‘Islam and Indiscriminate Violence,' the speaker, Jalal Abualrub, tells of an evil foreboding aimed at Jews, whereby Jews will suffer defeat at the hands of Muslims. He states, "In the future, our prophet has told a prophesy that there will be some kind of battle between Muslims and Jews – in the future. And as usual, the Jews will be aggressors, because they have committed so many aggressions against us. As usual, they're the aggressors there. There's gonna be war, and Muslims will defeat the Jews."
Condemnations of other religions and non-Muslim peoples did not end with the AMANA materials being given out in the lobby. The event itself did much to energize these hateful passions.
The first speaker, who the MSO described as a "lecturer on the subject of Islam at the University of Miami and masjids around South Florida," was Shakil Haq. The thrust of Haq's speech was on the meaning of Islam, and he used various quotes from the Quran as proofs. During his talk, Haq took the liberty of pointing out that there were Jews and Christians in the crowd. This, while he proceeded to denounce their religions. He stated, "And do you know that we believe in the three scriptures – that they exist, before Islam. The difference is we believe that those scriptures have been tampered..."
The keynote speaker of the Scholar's Night was a dark-eyed individual by the name of Fadi Kablawi (not to be mistaken for the Palestine Solidarity Movement leader with a near identical name). A dentist by profession, Kablawi is a student of Open Islamic Academy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was previously the leader of a mosque outside the University of Pennsylvania, where he attended dental school.
Like Shakil Haq, Fadi Kablawi teaches Islamic topics at different mosques around South Florida. Also like Haq, Kablawi, in the course of his speech, recited select passages from the Quran. One of the passages in particular has insidious overtones towards Jews and Christians. Kablawi stated, "Allah said, ‘You are the best nation created for humanity, then you join good, you forbid evil, and you believe in Allah.'" What Kablawi mysteriously left out was the second half of this verse (Surah 3:110), which says, "If only the People of the Book had faith, [sic] it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them [Jews and Christians] are perverted transgressors." [This quote was taken from one of the free AMANA Qurans offered in the lobby.]
Kablawi followed up his half-missing verse by stating, "So once a Muslim violates these rules, he is not preferred in the sight of G-d. And once any nation, that at one point they were preferred by G-d or chosen by G-d, once they violated the commands of G-d, they don't have that preference any more." It is obvious, given the previous verse and other verses as well, that, when Kablawi used the term "chosen," he was referring to Jews, who in his estimate, were once chosen but now go against the commands of G-d.
If one were not convinced that Fadi Kablawi's statement was a subtle attack on Jews, Kablawi soon helped him/her to understand the truth, when he went on a loud rant against Jews whom he said complain about the Holocaust, while acting like Nazis themselves. He exclaimed, "What they complain of that happened to them by Hitler, they are the first people to come to Palestine and do it to the Palestinians!"
Just as Haq attempted before him, Kablawi, in his speech, tried to mask his sentiments towards others by bringing up such terms as "the three Abrahamic faiths." But in the end, he couldn't hide the obvious, which were his disdain for the West and his idea of a future dominance of Islam over the world. He stated, "And from here I say, the solution for all people and the whole world is the religion of Islam. Because the disasters and the genocide and the killing and the murdering and the bombing and the wars happening in this world right now is by no means for personal gain, whether it's individual, whether it's organization, government, whatever. When the western man – without faith and without the conscious of G-d – took charge of the world, this is what happened, and it's time for Islam to take a turn and prove that the religion of Allah will dominate."
Before the speeches began, quotes from the Quran were shown to the audience. One of the quotes was from Surah 3:56, which states, "As to those who reject faith [Islam], I will punish them with severe agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help." It appears that Kablawi's doomsday statement was the perfect way to end the MSO hatefest and come full circle with the beginning of the night.
From the death-loving booklets in the lobby to the concerted campaign of intimidation by the attendees to the anti-Jewish and anti-Christian rhetoric from the speakers, MSO's 7th Annual Scholar's Night was less of a "night" and more or a "nightmare" for FAU. While the university should respect and honor the Freedom of Speech of its students and faculty, it should also be wary of its campus being used as a staging ground for the propagation of hatred and violence.
Posted on Thu, May. 11, 2006
FAU chief reassures trustees after criticism of Muslim student conference
By KIMBERLY MILLER
BOCA RATON - Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan assured his board of trustees Wednesday that no danger was posed by recent Muslim Student Organization speakers who are criticized in an Internet-based article featuring the school.
Brogan also said no views expressed by speakers at the April 22 event, titled Believe It or Not You Were Born a Muslim, should be attributed to FAU, which was acting as a host.
The article, which school officials found Monday, is titled "An Annual Hatefest" and is the lead feature on a Web site sponsored by conservative activist and university critic David Horowitz. Brogan spoke to FAU's trustees about the Web site at the end of the board's regular meeting Wednesday and after it was brought up by a faculty member on the board.
The story is by Joe Kaufman of Tamarac, a critic of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton. He said event speakers "denounced non-Muslim religions, verbally attacked Jews, and proclaimed a future worldwide dominance of Islam."
Brogan said the substance of the evening's discussion is "open to interpretation."
"Universities are host to incredibly divergent schools of thought, not only among faculty and students, but among people invited to come to the universities," Brogan said. "It is unfortunate that there are from time to time people who suggest that because we host these types of things that we take on an extremist point of view."
Brogan said that because of Boca Raton's large Jewish population and growing Muslim population, the area and university are under watch by national and statewide security groups that would alert him if there was a scheduled speaker at the school that posed a threat.
Bill Gralnick, Southeast regional director for the American Jewish Committee, said he's had concerns with past speakers brought in by FAU's Muslim Student Organization, but said he was unfamiliar with last month's event.
Rubayet Khan, president of the student group, said none of the speakers expressed radical ideas, but he is worried about how the Internet article portrays FAU and his organization.
It's a concern shared by Brogan, who said he's not sure whether the university will respond to the story or to anything expressed by the speakers.
"People do have the right to speak," Brogan said. "As the host site for speakers on a myriad of provocative issues, in no way, shape or form does that mean we support those views."
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1894