The Anti-Defamation League last week issued an unusual retraction and apology for suggesting that Islam’s declaration of faith, the Shahada, is an “expression of hate” that is “closely identified” with terrorism.

Other Jewish groups that issued condemnations for Irvine’s Muslim students declined to retract the condemnations, although staffers at these organizations acknowledged privately that the denunciations were based on wrong information and on a misunderstanding of a basic tenet of Islam.

The dispute, which followed a year of strained relations between Jewish and Muslim students on campus, erupted after Jewish students learned that UCI Muslim students were planning on wearing green stoles with the Shahada in the graduation processional. The Jewish students apparently thought that their Muslim colleagues were planning on wearing sashes that glorify suicide bombers. Alarmed, they asked the university’s administration to intervene.

UCI’s administration, after an investigation, was satisfied that the stoles carried no message of hate. A dozen out of some 4,000 graduates wore the stoles to the graduation ceremony.

The controversial stoles – similar to ones worn by hundreds of Muslim students in graduation ceremonies in American universities in recent years – in fact bore no text or symbol that glorifies terrorists. They had, on one side, a decorative, star-shaped Arabic calligraphy saying: “God, increase my knowledge.” On the other side, they had the text of the Muslim Shahada, the “testimony,” which is known as the first tenet of Islam, and says: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is Allah’s prophet.” Every Muslim is obligated to repeat that testimony many times a day in order to express and strengthen his or her belief…

The Jewish groups’ reaction to the stoles incident was denunciated by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. A spokesman for CAIR, Ibrahim Hooper, said that because of “ignorance and haste,” Jewish groups “found themselves with egg on their face.”..


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