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Seeking a reaction, footage

May 26, 2007|By Michael Miller

UCI CAMPUS — The Muslim Student Union, which has garnered attention and criticism for its recent political events on campus, drew the attention of a state assemblyman on Thursday who intended to film the union's event and post it online.

Newport Beach Assemblyman Chuck DeVore attended a speech in the Humanities Hall by Sheikh Sadullah Khan, a political activist from South Africa who fought against the country's apartheid regime. The assemblyman brought a hand-held video camera with him and said before the event that he wanted to see how members of the Muslim Student Union would react to him taping Khan's speech.

DeVore was inspired to attend the event after reading an article on the website OC Blog in which an anonymous poster described trying to videotape a Muslim Student Union event on May 17. The writer said that members of the union tried to block him from filming the speaker, Amir Abdul-Malik Ali, and that an administrator ordered him to leave the premises.

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DeVore, who said he was dismayed by a number of the speakers the union brought on campus, wanted to see if he would receive similar treatment. However, despite the fact that the union posted messages inside and outside the room requesting no videotaping, DeVore's taping met no resistance.

"For those who want to videotape, feel free to do so," Khan said in the opening minutes of his speech, gesturing toward DeVore.

The assemblyman left a few minutes later for a speech in San Clemente.

He said he still planned to broadcast some of his footage online, along with comments about how he felt the Muslim Student Union discouraged other speakers from being broadcast. Some of the union's events, he said, crossed the line into hate speech.

"Not all forms of speech are worthy of praise," DeVore said. "Some forms of speech are worthy of criticism and condemnation. We have had a series of speakers invited on campus by the Muslim Student Union who have expressed hateful and derogatory comments toward people of the Jewish faith and expressed their opinion that Israel should not exist and should be wiped off the face of the earth."

Marya Bangee, the union's spokeswoman, said DeVore's comments were off the mark and that her group is opposed to political Zionism.

"As Muslims, we respect all Jews," she said. "I think that clear distinction has to be made between a political ideology and a religion."

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