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Letters to the Editor >> Opinion
The relationship between the Jewish and Muslim communities is often portrayed as one of enmity and opposition. In reality, this is just not true. Both Jews and Muslims are adherents of monotheist, Abrahamic religions that have a great deal in common. Perhaps more importantly, American Jews and Muslims share the experience of living as minority communities within the larger fabric of American society. For many of our ancestors, the freedom of religion and expression afforded by the U.S. Constitution played a pivotal role in informing their decision to emigrate to our great country.
David Horowitz has claimed that opposition to A.S. funding for his upcoming speech is rooted in a desire to silence him and curtail his right to free speech. The truth is that we merely oppose the use of student funds to subsidize bigotry and prejudice. Students must be exposed to a wide variety of intellectual perspectives on all issues, but Horowitz goes far beyond providing an alternative perspective. We and many other students on this campus are deeply offended by his claim that “there is a movement for a second Holocaust of the Jews that is being supported [at UCSB] by the Muslim Student Association.” The UCSB MSA is an incredibly valuable member of our campus, has been involved in numerous interfaith dialogues and provides a cultural and religious home to a large segment of the UCSB Muslim community. The accusation that the UCSB MSA has ties to terrorism is not only baseless and inaccurate, but it also propagates stereotypes and misconceptions that far too often have led to deadly consequences. We stand unified with our Muslim friends in repudiating these grossly inaccurate stereotypes and call upon the UCSB community at large to stand by their fellow students.
Though we are deeply offended by Horowitz’s accusations against the UCSB MSA, we are not protesting the “Infantile Disorders” event. We are not interfering with the event and we are not associated with anyone who attempts to interfere. Rather, we are encouraging the UCSB community to join the UCSB Respect Coalition at “The Alternative: Empowering Our Voices” (Today at 8 p.m., Embarcadero Hall). The event will provide a safe space for students to speak openly about discrimination, hate speech and how to foster a more inclusive campus community. Our hope is that the event gives UCSB students a real chance to express how they are a part of the beautiful, multiethnic, interfaith American mosaic. We strongly encourage any student who is interested in constructive dialogue to attend.
Santa Barbara Hillel
UCSB American Students for Israel
UCSB Students for Justice in Palestine
UCSB Muslim Student Association
Subtext: Santa Barbara Hillel is a Jewish community center at UC Santa Barbara. American Students for Israel is a bipartisan student group dedicated to political advocacy. Students for Justice in Palestine is a human rights and social justice organization unaffiliated with any one race, ethnicity or religion. Muslim Student Association is an apolitical, autonomous faith-based UCSB campus organization that is open to the public.