Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Jewish groups oppose Muslims' appointment

18 July 2013, 11:29

San Francisco - The University of California appointed a Muslim American woman as a student member of its governing board on Wednesday in a move opposed by Jewish groups that objected to her pro-Palestinian activism.

Sadia Saifuddin, a 21-year-old social welfare major at the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, will become the first Muslim student member of the 26-person board of regents for a year-long term starting in 2014.

Jewish groups including the prominent Simon Wiesenthal Centre strongly objected to her nomination, citing her involvement in a campaign to divest university funds from companies with business connections to the Israeli military.

They also objected to her sponsoring a student senate resolution that condemned a lecturer at the system's Santa Cruz campus for what the resolution said was Islamophobic rhetoric. The groups said it was Saifuddin who showed an intolerance toward opposing viewpoints.

"In a year where campus climate issues have been the dominant theme of the UC system, a vote to appoint somebody who has served to polarise thousands and thousands of people in the campus community and beyond is shocking," said Rabbi Aron Hier of the Wiesenthal Centre, which petitioned the regents to deny Saifuddin a seat on the board.

"An appropriate Muslim candidate could have ably served in this position. We don't believe Sadia is that appropriate candidate," he added.

Exemplary student

Despite the opposition, 25 university regents voted on Wednesday to confirm her appointment with one member, Richard Blum, abstaining from the vote. He cited concerns about Saifuddin's divestment efforts.

"I'm beyond blessed, and I'm very excited for this position," Saifuddin said after the vote, wearing a floral Muslim headscarf and beaming as she walked through a largely supportive crowd to accept her seat.

In her acceptance speech, Saifuddin said she hoped to make the university system accessible to more students. She could not later be reached for comment on controversies surrounding her nomination.

Saifuddin's supporters said she was an exemplary student who cared about students of all faiths and has worked to benefit the system as a senator in the Association of Students of the University of California and a member of the Muslim Student Association.

"Sadia is a remarkable young woman. She is committed to supporting all of UC students, and to this university and this country which she loves," said Regent Bonnie Reiss, who chaired the student regent selection committee.

Reiss, who is Jewish, said the committee would not have selected Saifuddin to be a student regent if they thought she was anti-Semitic, responding to complaints that the divestment campaign included elements of anti-Semitism.

Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper said opponents who disagreed with Saifuddin's politics wanted to unjustly exclude her from civic participation.

"Anytime an American Muslim rises to a prominent position, or starts to rise to prominence, that tiny minority of 'Islamophobes' in our society goes into action and seeks to marginalise and disenfranchise that individual," Hooper said.

- Reuters

Tags us religion

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...