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Submission: Muslim students should take increased safety precautions

By Daily Bruin Staff

December 7, 2015 12:05 am

Peace Be Upon You All,

Within the past month, there has been a sharp rise in attacks toward Muslims or individuals perceived to be Muslim across the nation, some of which have happened on our very own campus. We observe patterns of tragic attacks stemming from ignorance or hatred not only on our UCLA campus, but nation-wide.

On Wednesday at around 11 a.m., two people opened fire, killing 14 and injuring 21 people at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The two shooters were identified as Muslims. Hours later, there were utterly false accusations of UCLA Muslim Student Association alumnus Syed Moizullah being a part of the shooting on Twitter. The only evidence for the accusations is that his name is similar to the shooter’s name and that he liked videos on YouTube of someone reciting the Holy Quran. His family reports to us that they are very frightened that they may be attacked due to the false accusations and we exonerate Syed from this horrific affiliation. The Twitter post that originated the accusations has been taken down.

It is important to understand that this attack in San Bernardino contributes to the increased scapegoating of American Muslims.

Among a very long list of attacks, some notable incidents include: hate posters that were put on display Nov. 12 on the UCLA campus suggesting a link between the MSA and al-Qaida as part of a coordinated nationwide fear-mongering campaign. Secondly, on Nov. 16, the Islamic Center of Pflugerville in Texas had feces splattered in front of it with torn pages of the Holy Quran. Also, on the same day, a Muslim woman in Cincinnati was almost run over by a man who cursed at her and called her a terrorist as he drove towards her.

On Nov. 18, David Horowitz claimed responsibility for the production of the hate posters at UCLA in a letter that the Daily Bruin published, and falsely reported to the Daily Bruin readership that the MSA’s “campus political campaigns adhere chapter and verse to the genocidal propaganda campaigns of Hamas.” Furthermore, on Nov. 19, a Muslim student on the San Diego State University campus was pulled by her hijab, pushed and verbally assaulted. Finally, on Dec. 1, the Al-Farah Islamic Clothing store in Anaheim had an English translation of the Holy Quran with bullet holes in it hanging on its front door. In August, the same store had a window broken in a case of suspected vandalism.

As a result of these series of events, American Muslim students are at an increased risk of physical harm by those who hold Islamophobic ideas. We strongly encourage our membership to take particular safety precautions to ensure the well-being of our community.

We strongly discourage walking home alone at night; instead, please travel to and from campus in groups. The Community Programs Office is providing vans for use 24/7 until Friday of finals week and students may utilize this service by contacting the MSA. Students may also use the Campus Service Officer Evening Vans by calling 310-825-1493 or CSO Escorts by calling 310-794-WALK if necessary. For those who own a car, please consider signing up if you wish to provide rides for those who may need them throughout the school year.

If you witness or experience any harassment, threats, or examples of discrimination, please report them to the UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and call UCPD’s anonymous reporting line at 310-794-5824. Students can also reach UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services 24/7 at 310-825-0768 for access to professional psychiatric services.

We believe these resources will ensure that Muslims will get home safely, feel safe on campus and receive professional support on a 24/7 basis. We also extend the use of these resources to non-Muslims who may share similar concerns.

To our friends and allies, we thank you and ask for your continued support as we seek peaceful ways to protect ourselves against a historically dangerous threat to our bodies and minds.

We urge our community to remain strong during this trying time through patience, friendship and mutual protection. “And put your trust in Allah, for Allah is sufficient as Trustee” (Quran 33:3).

Blessed be you all,

Muslim Student Association at UCLA 2015-2016 Board

The board is comprised of Abdullah Haikal, president; Tahira Kazmi, internal vice president; Ayesha Rasheed, external vice president; Chakib Mouzaoui, secretary; Nasima Khan, treasure; Omar Issa Attar, public relations director; Maryam Karim, sisters’ activities director; Omran Gdara, brothers’ activities director; Rofida Rakha, programming director; Mona Fouladi, outreach coordinator.

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