As many of you know, our campus was visited by Abdel Malik Ali last Thursday. If you missed the speaker, you missed quite a show. Even before the speaker began, feathers were rustled when certain individuals handed out unofficial fliers that gave some interesting and startling quotes about the speaker. The entire speech itself was long and full of anti-Zionistic rhetoric, while the question-and-answer period was very heated, to put it mildly.
Luckily, people kept a cool head and the undercover university police department officer, who was sitting next to me, wasn’t needed.
The event was so interesting that I would tell you to go watch a recording, but the Muslim Student Association did not allow others to record or videotape the speaker (to the speaker’s credit though, he said he would’t have minded).
Throughout the speech, Ali had an interesting way of referring to certain things. For instance, he would only refer to Israel as the “apartheid state of Israel” and he would only refer to the media in the United States as the “Zionist-controlled media.”
Of course, Ali’s beliefs are from what we can easily call the fringe of the political spectrum. For instance, he supports known terrorist groups such as Hamas, a group that has claimed responsibility for several suicide bombings – many of which deliberately target civilians (of course, suicide bombers who kill civilians were referred to by Ali as “martyrs”).
When Ali was directly asked about the morality of suicide bombings, he deflected the question by saying that Israel is responsible for more killing, and that suicide bombing is the only way for the poor Palestinians to retaliate since they do not have sophisticated weaponry. Of course, it didn’t occur to Ali that Israeli troops refrain from deliberately killing Palestinian civilians and instead, often go house-to-house in search of terrorists or have selected air strikes of specific targets, which often put Israeli soldiers at great risk.
I’m pretty certain that the Israeli military could carpet bomb at will and create mass civilian casualties if they really wanted to, but they don’t. (On the contrary, Ali seemed thoroughly convinced that Israeli soldiers are on a mission to kill all Palestinian children.)
I’m sure if the positions were reversed, many Arabs would have no moral dilemma, if given the opportunity to carpet bomb Israeli civilians (How many times have other Arab nations tried to kill off the state of Israel?). That’s why many foreign policy experts in the United States and Israel are worried when a certain Islamic theoretically-governed country that holds certain negative attitudes toward Israel (i.e. Iran) pursues nuclear weaponry.
I’m not a foreign policy expert, but I have a reasonable guess at which country Iran would target if they ever got nukes (trust me, Iran doesn’t want nuclear weaponry just for the sake of having nuclear weaponry.)
While Ali’s ideas are certainly out of the mainstream thinking in the United States, it is scary to think that many in the Middle East and even some in our country agree with what Ali has to say.
I find it even more distressing that the Poly Greens and the Progressive Student Alliance groups, that can be easily considered to the left of your average liberal, would support and sponsor this speaker.
I can only hope that they somehow did not do their research. I also sincerely hope that they really do not support the suicide bombing of Israeli civilians, the destruction of Israel to be replaced by an Islamic theocracy or wish to see Iran with possession of nuclear weapons.
Brian Eller is a materials engineering sophomore and a Mustang Daily columnist.