USC Muslim group removes anti-Semitic passage from Web site

USC Muslim Group Removes anti-Semitic Passage From Its Internet Site

Until earlier this month, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at USC included on its Web site the complete texts of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, and the Hadith, which are the oral traditions associated with the life of the prophet Muhammad.

This database included a saying attributed to Muhammad that calls on Muslims to kills Jews:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews,” Book 41, No. 6985 stated.

The MSA is a university-sanctioned student group and its Web site is hosted on the USC server. When Rabbi Aron Hier, director of campus outreach at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Reut Cohen of the Horowitz Freedom Center discovered the passage, they sent a letter to Alan Casden, a USC trustee and co-chair of the Wiesenthal Center’s board, urging him to have the university remove that portion of the Hadith.

Casden quickly contacted Provost C.L. Max Nikias, who ordered the passage removed, saying it was “truly despicable” and that it violated the university’s Principles of Community.

“This is an important reminder that when free speech becomes a platform to encourage violence, then it has crossed the line,” Hier said. “We commend USC for having the moral courage to stand up against those who hijack speech and religious freedoms and the good will of the campus community in order to spread a message of hate and extremist violence.”

— Brad A. Greenberg, Senior Writer

Talent Manager Joan Hyler Recovering From Major Injuries After Being Struck by Car

Hollywood talent manager Joan Hyler is recovering after being hit by a car on Pacific Coast Highway Aug. 15. A prominent figure in both the entertainment and Jewish communities, Hyler has been fighting for her life in the intensive-care unit at the UCLA Medical Center. After multiple surgeries, doctors are increasingly optimistic that she is responding well to treatment.

Details of the accident are still unclear, but initial reports said Hyler was parking her auto on the highway when the car struck her. Hyler sustained severe injuries, including a collapsed lung, internal bleeding and multiple broken bones. She was immediately airlifted from Pepperdine University’s hospital to UCLA.

A former William Morris Agency vice president, Hyler has represented Bob Dylan, Madonna, Oscar-nominee Diane Lane, Eric McCormack of “Will and Grace” and Alfred Molina.

Hyler has exhibited a passionate commitment to the Jewish community and its causes. As president of Women in Film, she created the Morning Star Commission, an organization founded by Hadassah to promote more diverse portrayals of women in media and entertainment. She also co-created the Jewish Image Awards, which celebrate outstanding Jewish heritage content in film and television.

After the initial shock, an outpouring of support for Hyler emanated from both the entertainment and Jewish communities. Endeavor Talent Agency organized a blood drive in Hyler’s honor and hundreds of her colleagues have posted personal messages, healing prayers and words of encouragement online at UCLA’sCarepages.

Because Hyler’s life was saved by the availability of large blood transfusions, her family has asked those able to give blood to donate to the UCLA blood bank. Donations can be made at the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center, 1045 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 825-0888 or visit

— Danielle Berrin, Circuit Editor

Four Jews to Receive National Medal of Science

Southern Californians Leonard Kleinrock and Andrew J. Viterbi are among four Jewish scientists and engineers selected for the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and technology.

They are among eight American honorees announced Monday by President Bush, who will confer the awards on Sept. 29 at a White House ceremony.

Kleinrock, of West Los Angeles, is a professor of computer science at UCLA and a pioneer in developing the foundations of the Internet.

Viterbi, whose family came to the United States to escape fascist persecution in Italy, is considered the father of cell technology and founded cellphone giant Qualcomm in San Diego.

A Ph.D. graduate of USC and former UCLA professor, Viterbi has endowed the USC engineering school bearing his name, a program in Mediterranean Jewish studies at UCLA and a number of Jewish institutions in the San Diego area.

The two other Jewish honorees are Fay Ajzenberg-Selove, who was born in Berlin into a Russian Jewish family and is a nuclear physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and Robert J. Lefkowitz, a physician and path-breaking biochemist at Duke University.

The other four honorees are Bert W. O’Malley of the Baylor College of Medicine; Charles P. Slichter, University of Illinois; David Wineland, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Mustafa A. El-Sayed, Georgia Institute of Technology.

— Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

A War of Words

Students, faculty and staff members at CSUN were up in arms last week regarding an exhibit sponsored by the university’s Muslim Student Association (MSA). The "Museum of Intolerance" exhibit, part of planned activities for the campus’ Islam Awareness Week (Oct. 21-27), showed photographs of Muslims under attack in several nations including what it called Palestine, with prominent pictures of Israeli soldiers and of Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks.

The exhibit, put together by the Muslim Public Affairs Council, appeared at numerous locations on campus during the weeklong event, which was billed on the MSA’s Web site as intended "to dispel any confusion, misconceptions and anger towards Islam and Muslims."

"We wanted to say clearly what Islam said and where we stand regarding the events of Sept. 11," said MSA President Husnain Mehdi.

Several Jewish students and faculty members, as well as Hillel director Rabbi Jordan Goldson, confronted Muslim students at the display. "Things got very heated," Goldson said.

In addition to conflicts at MSA’s table, Goldson said he also heard from Jewish students that anti-Israel remarks were made during an Oct. 24 lecture in the CSUN Student Union titled "The Truth About Islam."

Marc Reichman, a 21-year-old junior, was very upset by the exhibit.

"It basically ridicules and degrades Simon Wiesenthal’s Museum of Tolerance," he said.

Sandy Struman, a staff employee at CSUN, said she, too, found the exhibit appalling.

"I attended the Islamic exhibit believing mistakenly that it was intended to promote peace and understanding," Struman said. "But what I saw was a photograph mounted on the exhibit with a slogan underneath that stated ‘Zionism is Nazism’ which is the antithesis of peace and understanding."

Struman was told there was nothing to be done when she spoke to campus management.

"It was a horrendous thing to have on campus, but it all falls under freedom of speech," she said. "I respect that, but there’s a fine line between freedom of speech and inciting hatred, and I don’t know where one starts and the other stops."

"The intention wasn’t to make people confrontational, but to raise awareness as to what’s happening [in Israel] and other countries," Mehdi said. "Just because it’s controversial doesn’t mean it should not be brought up."

The MSA exhibit came as no surprise to Sharon Kupferman, a junior studying child development and leader of CSUN’s Student Israel Public Affairs Committee. Kupferman said she was approached about a joint program by MSA student leaders following the Sept. 11 tragedies.

"They seemed interested but then they changed their minds," she said. "I also went to their lecture the week after [Sept. 11] and it was very anti-Israel, anti-American. So when I heard about the intolerance museum I wasn’t surprised."

Kupferman said Jewish student groups are working on a response to the incident, including setting up their own tables on campus to show support for Israel. Arrangements are also being made to provide interested students with training sessions to learn to respond to anti-Israel sentiment on campus according to Aaron Levinson, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Valley office.

Reichman said he plans to get active promoting pro-Israel sentiment on campus.

"We don’t want people just to be exposed to the Arab viewpoint," he said.