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SDSU students demand action against Islamophobia on campus

by Megan Wood, Photo Editor

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Demonstrators gathered at Hepner Hall Monday afternoon demanding action against Islamophobia on campus. Approximately 600 students marched from Hepner Hall to the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, where they met with Hanif Mohebi, director of the San Diego Council on American-Islamic Relations, and others who spoke on the issue.

The rally was coordinated in reaction to a hate crime that occurred on Nov. 19 in a campus parking lot. According to San Diego State Police, a male in his 20s pulled a woman by her headscarf while making hateful comments and threats based on her ethnicity.

“I want to tell you when I met with our sister that was affected, it broke my heart, my heart was bleeding because I have sisters,” Mohebi said. “Not only blood sisters, all the sisters that are here and those that are not. Why do they have to go through such hate?”

Mohebi read a statement on the victim’s behalf explaining the incident.

According to her statement, the attacker approached her from behind and choked her with her hijab. He told her to “get out of this country,” that she was a terrorist and “you people bombed Paris.”

In her statement she said no one came to her aide during the incident, but expressed gratitude for those who showed support for her at the rally.

In his speech, Mohebi demanded the SDSU administration get involved. He urged the school to provide students with educational forums discussing matters of Islam.

“It’s unacceptable for them to take the students’ money and not educate them properly,” Mohebi said. “Silence is betrayal. If this university or any university stands silent, they are betraying the trust that you and I have put in them. Brothers and sisters, we must unite.”

Lena Mohamed, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, said she experiences this type of hate every day.

“Unfortunately, no one stood up for her, I think that’s the most frustrating, sad part about it,” Mohamed said. “We want to create a campus climate where we feel safe, where we have each other’s backs, where we’re looking out for one another. We’re here to demonstrate that we will not accept Islamophobia on our campus. I hope that people can wake up and see that we’re all one people and I hope that message sends today.”

Ending the rally, the Muslim Student Association shared a list of demands for students, administrators and local leaders. Among demands for cultural tolerance and acceptance on campus, they asked that students, faculty and administration go through a mandatory bystander training and offer increased coursework on Islam.

“A lot of people think that this is just one incident that happened and that Islamophobia does not exist in San Diego or Imperial County,” Mohebi said. “That is not true.”

The San Diego Office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has received more than 170 reported incidents of discrimination and more than 45 instances of hate mail since January of this year, Mohebi said.

Faculty and staff have reached out to the Muslim Student Association in hopes of coordinating an event promoting the education of Islam among SDSU students and the community, said Ahmed Buzeriba, president of the Muslim Student Association.

“It’s not the university’s fault that any of this happened,” Buzeriba said. “We just hope that they read our demands and that they take them into consideration and hopefully implement them.”

President Hirshman, who was not in attendance at the rally, was scheduled to speak at the Aztecs Rock Hunger closing ceremony set for 12 p.m. Monday. The event was pushed back in respect for the student demonstrators, said Dominic Bilotti, Associated Students vice president of financial affairs.

SDSU Dean of Students Randy Timm was at the rally and spoke to the students in attendance.

“We are here not only to stand with a member of our community who was assaulted for being herself, but also to support a community that was targeted as a result of this egregious attack,” Timm said.

Senior Staff Writer Jacob Sisneros contributed to this report.

 

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13 Comments

13 Responses to “SDSU students demand action against Islamophobia on campus”

  1. Frank Davis on November 23rd, 2015 10:28 pm

    Can someone point me to where Mohebi has denounced the Islamic atrocities in Paris and around the world? Good grief, political correctness has run amok at SDSU.

  2. Lee on November 25th, 2015 10:27 pm

    Why does Mohebi have to denounce the Paris attacks? If you are a white Christian male, do you stand up and denounce every crime committed by a white Christian male? Goodness grief, no, of course not because that would be absurd!

    A Muslim American student doesn’t have to apologize for crimes committed by a bunch of thugs on the other side of the world.

  3. Yesenia Garcia on December 18th, 2015 1:33 pm

    Mohebi has to denounce the Paris attacks because they were committed in the name of Allah, your GOD. I have a better idea why doesn’t he denounce all the brutal rapes, tortures committed against women. You only get to speak here in the United States because WHITE CHRISTIAN MALES LET YOU SPEAK.
    Sincerely
    LATINA WHO CANT STAND MUSLIM MEN!!!!
    SHARIA CAN GO TO HELL!!!

  4. Charlie Alvarez on November 28th, 2015 1:09 am

    Political correctness is strangling free speech at campuses all across the US. It just happens to take form of whining about “Islamophobia” here at SDSU.

  5. Glenn Y on November 23rd, 2015 11:06 pm

    Glad to see a peaceful demonstration against the ugly actions of a few. Hopefully the Islamic community sees that their non-Islamic peers will not tolerate unfounded hate. The person who accosted this Muslim woman does not represent the majority.

    One lesson that our Muslim friends could take away is that they also need to condemn the ugly actions of those who are are acting horribly in the name of Islam. They must not be silent in the face of the atrocities committed by ISIS. To be silent is to seemingly give approval.

    Just as the American Catholics called out the evil that was Nazi Germany in WWII, so must Islamic Americans call out the fringe in their religion today, and do so publicly.

  6. Charlie Alvarez on November 28th, 2015 1:07 am

    Agreed, but dont hold your breath!!

  7. Asma on November 24th, 2015 4:39 am

    i am appalled that a woman is attacked in the parking lot of the school and not enough protection is given to her and the women on campus.
    Muslim women in particular are easy to pick out due to their hijab. Harassing a woman with hijab should be indicted under the following crimes: sexual harassment, gender violence, and hate crimes. The perpetrators should be indicted under these laws to protect the students at the University.
    This is important not only for muslim women but for all women. If the women in the United States are afraid to go to University, they will make ignorant mothers and ignorant professionals which will affect all the generations to come.
    I pray that every person all over the country wakes up and sees this not just as islamophobia but as CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR deserving punishment!

  8. Get real on November 24th, 2015 9:45 pm

    demands for cultural tolerance and acceptance on campus, they asked that students, faculty and administration go through a mandatory bystander training and offer increased coursework on islam.

    Are you kidding me? It’s terrible that she was attacked but there is no way students or anyone should be forced to take Islamic training. As the two above posters said maybe they should renounce their other Islamic brethren and the way they act in the rest of the world. I’ll take their training if they take my Christian training.

    Signed,
    Get real.

  9. Charlie Alvarez on November 28th, 2015 1:05 am

    Thanks for making sense. This Islamic “sensitivity training” nonsense is no more that PC fascism.

  10. Yesenia Garcia on December 18th, 2015 1:26 pm

    I agree with you GET REAL. When you come to a country founded on Christian principles then it is the job of the immigrant to learn the customs of the country they have arrived to. The United States of America is a beautiful country where people of all faiths may express themselves. While a woman was harassed that does not compare to a head being cut off. Christians are being slaughtered by the thousands. They just burned a Catholic Priest alive. Where is the outcry for Christians by Muslims? They also wait to be big in numbers so that they may institute Sharia Law which violates the freedom of women. In their statement of faith the “SHAHADA” it clearly states that their is no GOD BUT ALLAH, and Muhammed is the only way. What religion of tolerance OPPOSES the GOD of another. BULLLSHIT!! I CANT WAIT FOR THE CATHOLICS TO WAKE UP AND SLAUGHTER THEM LIKE THEY DID IN THE BATTLE OF LEPANTO 1571!! LOOK IT UP!!! LOOK UP ALL THE BE HEADINGS OF CHRISTIANS WAKE UP AZTECS THIS IS YOUR SCHOOL…

  11. Serena on November 25th, 2015 12:43 am

    How dare you say that this victim of a hate crime has the obligation to speak out against these terrorist extremists. How dare you say that this CRIME is a ‘lesson’ that they should take away from this. It is not her duty to apologize for the actions of violent extremists. Whether she has or hasn’t, shouldn’t matter when it comes to walking around campus safely, but for the record, Muslim leaders HAVE spoken out against the recent acts of terrorism. What these terrorist did was atrocious. It was saddening and disgusting but understand that these extremest are few. They don’t represent the entire Muslim community. Just a fun fact for you: An article in the Washington Post estimated there are roughly 20,000 members of ISIS. A simple Google search showed that there are 1.57 billion Muslims around the world. Are you saying she needs to apologize for 0.00127% before she is allowed to feel safe on campus?

  12. Yesenia Garcia on December 18th, 2015 1:29 pm

    Serena,

    The only reason you get to attend a University in the United States of America as a women is because Christians died to preserve your right. Women in other Muslims countries are forbidden from DRIVING, TANNING and expressing their MINDS as equals. If the FEW APPLES IN MY FRUIT BOWL ARE ROTTEN I THROW THE WHOLE THING OUT….. ITS A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE REST GET INFECTED… VIVA CRISTO REY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Yesenia Garcia on December 18th, 2015 1:35 pm

    “VIVIA CRISTO REY” VIVA!!!!

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