State Rep. Chuck DeVore (R-almost my neighbor but I live in a better development in Irvine) went on the Glenn Beck show recently and touted his copy of the pocket version of the US Constitution.Â Chuck, a favorite of the Teabagger movement, has called for the banning of the Muslim Student Union from the campus of UC-Irvine. I have to guess Chuck is missing that page of his pocket US Constitution about the First Amendment.Â
From the story in OCLNN.com:Â ”DeVore, R-Irvine, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., also accused the Muslim Student Union of â€œpassing the hatâ€ for Hamas at a fundraiser for the â€œterrorist organizationâ€ last year.
â€œItâ€™s time to ban this organization from campus,â€ DeVore said. â€œItâ€™s not contributing anything of value to the campus.â€
DeVoreâ€™s letter to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake requesting the ban of the Muslim Student Union follows the arrest of 11 students after allegedly disrupting a Feb. 8 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at the campus.
UCI Media Relations Director Cathy Lawhon said the universityâ€™s response to DeVoreâ€™s letter is that UCI officials are considering the allegations against the 11 students and the Muslim Student Union. The students and organization face a range of discipline from a warning to expulsion, but it is not known when officials will decide on punishment, Lawhon said.”
While the students in question may face charges, the charges should be associated with crimes they may have committed not the act of exercising their free speech rights.
UPDATE: We received the following response to DeVore’s comments from Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director Council on American Islamic Relations CAIR-Greater Los Angeles Area.
“This is a typical self-serving and irresponsible move by Chuck DeVore in an attempt to score a few political points at the expense of the Muslim students and community. Mr. DeVore is riding on the wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in order to boost his failing U.S. Senate race and attract a few votes from a few bigots in Orange County.”
As for his demand to ban a Muslim student group from UCI, it is un-American and illegal to do so. All students, including Muslim-American students, have the right to organize and participate in the college experience.”
In his letter to Chancellor Drake, DeVore wrote that “It’s time to ban this organization from campus. It’s not contributing anything to the value of campus.” If that is the basis of the ban, then shall we expect a ban on Mr. DeVore from politics?
Bashing Muslims is nothing new to Chuck.Â There’s this piece from his Facebook page about a blog post I wrote in 2008 after Irvine council member Steven Choi compared Todd Gallinger to an extremist Islamic terrorist because Todd represented the local chapter of CAIR on immigration issues.
Let’s go to this seciton of the piece Chuck wrote:
“Lastly, whatever one thinks of Mr. Chmielewskiâ€™s assertion that Dr. Choi was improperly injecting religion into politics in his critique of Mr. Gallinger and CAIR, it is relevant to note in this discussion that none other than CAIRâ€™s own Chairman Emeritus, Omar Ahmed, said the Muslim holy book, the Koran, should be the â€œhighest authority in America, and the Islam the only accepted religion on earth.â€
One can only imagine Mr. Chmielewskiâ€™s outrage at council candidate Choi if Choi uttered such about the Christian faith.
If you are still not convinced about the connections between CAIR and HAMAS, then donâ€™t take my word for it, believe liberal California Senator Barbara Boxer who, in late 2006, took back an award she gave to CAIR official Basim Elkarra after she learned about Mr. Elkarraâ€™s CAIR involvement.Â Sen. Boxer herself â€œexpressed concernâ€ about CAIRâ€™s actions and past statements while her press secretary said that CAIR â€œgives aid to international terrorist groups.â€
So, could Councilman Choi and Sen. Boxer be right and Mr. Chmielewski be wrong about CAIR and whether Mr. Gallingerâ€™s close connection with them should be a matter of public discourse?Â It looks like it will be up to the voters of Irvine to decide on November 4.”
Let’s imagine if you will, a politician (any politician), called for the banning of a Christian group on campus because they exercised their right of free speech.Â Better still, let’s say UCI took steps to ban a conservative political group on campus because some of their members held up posted of Nancy Pelosi as Stalin or President Obama as Hitler at a local teabagger event?Â Would that be OK?Â I know, let’s ban any organization on campus that advocates that marriage is only between a man and a woman.Â
This call for banning a Muslim organization on campus is red meat for Chuck’s conservative base.Â And while it might help him in a primary battle, it dooms him in the general election.
If Chuck DeVore is truly the patriotric red white and blue American he professes to be, leave the free speech to individuals even if it personally makes his blood boil.Â It’s all about freedom and liberty that Chuck seeks to deny them.Â Or are those terms only associated with paying too much in taxes?