Egypt parliament approves changes in constitution

… The amendments, which still must be approved in a popular referendum, include an anti-terrorism clause that appears to enshrine sweeping police powers of arrest and surveillance.

They would also allow the president to dissolve parliament unilaterally and weaken judicial oversight of elections that have been marred by complaints of widespread irregularities.

…The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s strongest opposition force, is likely to be hardest hit by the amendments, which prohibit political activity based on religion and appear to quash the group’s longstanding hopes for legal standing as a recognised political party.


US soldier jailed for Iraq deaths

A US staff sergeant has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after a court-martial found him guilty of killing three Iraqi detainees who were freed and told to run before being shot…Hunsaker testified on Wednesday that Girouard ordered him to kill three Iraqi detainees, then cut him with a knife to make it look as if there had been a struggle.

“They’re going to cut the ties, tell them to run, shoot them,” Hunsaker quoted Girouard as saying.


How much longer?  Protesting the war is only a beginning…what’s the next step?

Racist Speaker Welcomed by Hillel

New University article (

By Marya Bangee
Daniel Pipes, a so-called “expert” on Islam, Muslims and the Arab-Israeli conflict, was Orange County Hillel’s invited speaker at UC Irvine last Wednesday, Jan. 31. Pipes spoke to a relatively small, polarized audience about “The Threat to Israel’s Existence.” Although some mainstream media outlets portray Pipes as an objective academic, a quick look at Pipes’ statements and works, including his recent talk at UCI, will make clear that he is merely a propagandist and a blatant xenophobe. It is very disappointing, but not entirely surprising, that O.C. Hillel would invite such a speaker to our campus.

Daniel Pipes’ words speak for themselves: “Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene. … All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most” (National Review, Nov. 19, 1990).

Pipes has exhibited this troubling bigotry toward Muslims throughout his career. As early as 1983, the Washington Post Book Review noted that Pipes displays “a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims … marred by exaggerations, inconsistencies and evidence of hostility to the subject.”

By linking Islam and terrorism, and vilifying Muslims, Pipes seeks to spread a doctrine of fear, hate and prejudice. His words are used by extreme right-wing groups to justify the U.S. administration’s oppressive policies at home and away. Of course, advocating unlimited support for the state of Israel ranks high on Pipes’ list of priorities.

In an attempt to censor academic discussion and debate on college campuses, where it is an integral part of the learning process, Pipes encourages his followers to blacklist academics who do not agree with his stance on Israel. In 2002, he created “Campus Watch,” a Web site whose objective is to limit free speech by stifling any criticism of Israel or its policies. It does so by compiling and publicizing a list of all professors who “do not comply.”

What is worse is that Pipes’ “research” is not even accurate; it is based on lies and distortions. As Kristine McNeil notes, “The Campus Watch site is a showcase for the signature distortions on which Pipes has built his 25-year career. He twists words, quotes people out of context and stretches the truth to suit his purpose. [As an example] John Esposito, director of Georgetown’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and an expert on militant Islam, is depicted as a Hamas apologist and blamed, without evidence, for the State Department’s decision to refuse crucial Sudanese intelligence on Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11” (The Nation, Nov. 11, 2002).

An international furor over this McCarthy-like program broke out soon after the Web site was launched. As a gesture of solidarity with their colleagues, over a hundred academics wrote to Pipes to include them on his black list. Pipes viciously attacked these academics, labeling them as “advocates of suicide attacks and militant Islam,” “self-hating” and “anti-American.”

At his lecture last Wednesday, Pipes repeatedly made hateful statements and erroneous remarks, particularly against Islam and Muslims. “The Palestinians must be crushed,” he said.

It is unfortunate that O.C. Hillel would stoop so low as to bring such a notorious racist to campus. By inviting Daniel Pipes as their guest speaker, the message O.C. Hillel sent was one of hatred and intolerance.

Those of us at UCI who were offended by O.C. Hillel’s message chose to respect Pipes’ freedom of speech, but still practice our cherished freedom to dissent. Over a hundred students stood up and left the program after Pipes made his hateful remarks against the Palestinians. As much as it was disappointing to see O.C. Hillel sponsor a xenophobe on campus, it was inspiring to see students uniting and speaking out against hate and prejudice.

What was even more assuring was the lack of welcome Pipes found at UCI—his supporters filled up little more than one-third of the hall. Pipe down, Pipes. Your hate-mongering will not stop the supporters of peace and justice from fighting for the rights of oppressed people worldwide.

Marya Bangee is a third-year sociology and English double-major.

Daniel Pipes at UCI

“Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

-Daniel Pipes, National Review, November 19, 1990

“I am of course disgusted by these policing operations by failed academics of the caliber of Kramer and Pipes who opted for a propaganda role on behalf of the racist colonial se􀄴lement that they support. However, their marginalization in academia continues despite their valiant efforts to obtain respectability.”

– Professor Joseph Massad, Columbia University

“This noxious [Campus Watch] campaign is intended to silence such perfectly legitimate criticism, by tarring it with the brush of anti-Semitism and anti- Americanism, truly loathsome charges. They reveal the lengths that these people apparently feel impelled to go to in order to silence a true debate on campus.”

– Professor Rashid Khalidi, University of Chicago

…how can you then not protest.