Confronting Hate and Anger

UCI’s Beckman Center was packed with an audience eager to hear the esteemed speakers and panelists. Issues at hand were: Can town and gown together begin to chart a course back from paralyzing rage and spite toward the virtues that once made civil dialogue productive and religious discourse mutually respectful?
Vice Chancellor of UCI, Thomas Parham, the host, took to the podium with a thought-provoking speech and then introduced the speakers:
After two speakers shared their views on hate and how to combat it, the panelists were told to express their thoughts on hate and anger.
Anila Ali read a sampling of hate messages received:
“-Anila Ali, you and your people have vile blood running through your veins.”
“-Perhaps you and you people are in strong denial of what they have done to the country! One act of terrorism after another- and you Anila Ali, talk about ‘hate.’ ”
“-Besides arriving onto American soil with your hand out, what have you done for America? I’m a native American and a third generation to serve in the armed forces. This country will never belong to you Muslims,”Ali continued. “Hate has a First Amendment Right. Hate is protected speech, I was told when advocating for a Muslim family whose neighbors knocked on their door at 11 o’clock at night and told them to GO BACK HOME!” said Ali to the audience. Hate can be fought with love, empathy, and compassion. A community that comes together to fight hate, has resilience to hate.
Ali’s assertion was that Muslims can fight Islamophobia and bigotry, if they get out of their comfort zones and get to know non-Muslims.
Rabbi Peter Levi, of the Anti-Defamation League, said, “Love is hard work, but we must keep working on it.”
Chief of LAPD, Horace Frank, said their team takes hate speech very seriously despite it being a protected right. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui, Director, Islamic Society of Orange County, also shared that the Prophet of Islam conducted himself with love; fought hate with love.
The audience participation demonstrated the need to continue such a dialogue and show solidarity to find common grounds.
The Vice Chancellor also commended The Olive Tree Initiative of the UCI.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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