There is a troubling story unfolding in Queens, New York, in which school officials and local Democrats have charged College Republicans with stoking racism and xenophobia.
Siraj Wahhaj, a radical Muslim cleric who authorities in 1995 identified an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was last week invited to Queens College to speak on the subject “How Islam Perfected Thanksgiving.”
Wahhaj testified in 1996 for convicted terror plotter Omar Abdel Rahman, who was charged with attempting to bomb New York’s Lincoln Tunnel and the United Nations. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was recently assailed–justifiably so, considering the imam’s history and inflammatory rhetoric–in the press for inviting Wahhaj to an event with local Muslim religious leaders to discuss the Ft. Hood tragedy.
Despite Wahhaj’s altogether sordid and troubling past, the imam was invited with open arms to campus of Queens College by the Muslim Student Association (MSA), whose members just days before attended a College Republican film screening event of an anti-radical Muslim film and reportedly laughed and muttered “good” as beheading footage of American businessmen and the collapse of the World Trade Centers aired.
At a debate following the film, one MSA member said, “If I had enough money I would be part of the jihad army, I would kill all the Jews,” according to one College Republican present. Another spoke of getting a “bomb.”
Following the events of the debate and the invitation to Wahhaj, the Queens College chapter of College Republicans demanded the school’s administrators defund the MSA on the grounds the group espoused radical, anti-American ideology. School officials defended the organization, telling reporters it was a matter of constitutionally-protected free speech.
The MSA “definitely should not be funded by the taxpayers,” Queens College Republicans Vice President Ryan James Girdusky told the New York Post.
But despite the school’s protestations, the Queens College Muslim Student Association has a history of associating with extremist elements of the Muslim community. One of the group’s most committed members, Adis Medunjanin, was last month arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with Najibullah Zazi in New York City as a prime suspect in a terror investigation called “one of the most serious terrorist threats to our country since Sept. 11, 2001” by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Medunjanin, a respected member of the Queens College MSA, was a common fixture in the group’s prayer room, “where he came to worship two or three times a week,” according to the New York Times.
But the most alarming aspect of this is the College Democrats’ conspicuous silence on the matter. Wahhaj’s record of destructive and divisive rhetoric is such that, in an ideal world, both parties would be compelled–out of simple respect for the victims of September, 11th, if by nothing else–to condemn the imam’s radical brand of Islam and the group who so willingly extended an invitation.
Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world.
College Democrats’ are complicit in Wahhaj’s troubling anti-American rhetoric by failing to condemn his presence and ideology, a particularly tone-deaf position as disconcerted New Yorkers cope with the Obama Administration’s reckless decision to award enemy military combatants civilian trails in their back yard.
While school administrators’ insistence that the MSA is a run-of-the-mill student organization may be the politically expedient thing to do, it’s certainly not the right thing to do.