The American Jewish Congress today expressed grave concern over the report that the Muslim Student Union at The University of Califonia, Irvine (UCI) were calling on students to come to graduation displaying green Hamas sashes embroidered with the word “shahida” or suicide bomber at the graduation this Saturday.
Gary Ratner, AJCongress Pacific Southwest Regional Director, said, “This outrageous demonstration in favor of terrorists and murderers is evidence of the moral bankruptcy of those who do so. It is a blatant attempt to stir anger on campus, and poses potential danger for students in attendance.”
On June 16th representatives of the AJCongress met with the UCI administration to protest the MSU proposed actions and to explore possible options to avoid a confrontation on campus. UCI officials asserted that they too were concerned about order on campus but that Constitutional guarantees of speech and UCI’s own regulations prohibit hate speech against individuals but not against groups.
“The American Jewish Congress has always supported free speech, but the UCI Administration also has a responsibility to prevent violence on campus. One step that is constitutionally acceptable and that may be needed to prevent future confrontations on campus is the imposition of a strict dress code and ban on all political displays at graduation ceremonies. Imposing such a code may sound like a severe imposition on graduating college students, but that is the consequence of dangerously provocative behavior by an irresponsible few,” Ratner said.
The American Jewish Congress, founded in 1918 and headquartered in New York City, has counted among its founders and leaders former Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter. It has offices in the U.S., Europe and Israel.