FEBRUARY 27, 2015
On a busy Syrian street, members of al Qaeda held a Muslim woman captive. As part of their “street justice,” one man loudly proclaimed that she had gone against Allah by committing adultery. After five, long torturous minutes, he pulled a pistol and shot her dead. The entire group immediately began chanting “Allahu Akbar!”
In an Eastern Nigerian village, a group of Islamic terrorists gunned down more than 50 Christian children as they screamed “Allahu Akbar!”
In Paris, terrorists stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and murdered 12 people while yelling “Allahu Akbar!”
Throughout Israel, almost every Muslim suicide bombing that took thousands of Jewish lives was preceded by the chant “Allahu Akbar!”
In Dijon, France, when a driver drove into a crowded public square, he screamed “Allahu Akbar!”
As Federal prosecutors showed videos and still photographs of charred bodies from the destruction of 9/11, terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, who admitted that he conspired with al Qaeda, could be seen at the defense table nodding his head and mouthing “Allahu Akbar!”
“Allahu Akbar!” It is the chant of ISIS beheadings of non-Muslims on the Internet. It was the chant of a Canadian Muslim before he fired inside and outside the nation’s parliament in Ottawa killing a soldier. It is the chant of public executions of homosexuals in Saudi Arabia. “Allahu Akbar!” was the chant of an Arab terrorist as he butchered five elderly Jewish men with a meat cleaver while they were praying in Jerusalem.
Even in the United States, at Fort Hood, when U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim, went on his shooting spree that killed 13 and wounded many more, he also screamed “Allah Akbar!”
“Allahu akbar!” was most likely the last thing two men heard in Copenhagen as a Danish Muslim yelled it when he shot them dead and wounded many more.
The list of examples of shouting “Allahu Akbar!” before and after violence is in the thousands. Which brings up the question of freedom of speech versus hate speech, freedom of religion versus threats of violence.
It is legal to yell “fire,” but for obvious reasons it is illegal to shout fire in a crowded movie theater when there is no fire. So, should students at an anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) vote be allowed to yell “Allahu Akbar!” while shouting down mostly Jewish and pro-Israel students?
It is never questioned if college students are allowed to shout anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Chinese, anti-female, anti-any minority slurs. They are not. Students who do so could be expelled and charged for their hate speech and threats. So when a riotous, angry mob yells “‹”Allahu Akbar!” at Jewish students, are these words a threat?
Literally, “Allah Akbar” means “G-d is great.” However, in certain contexts, and usually outside of prayer, its use is both anti-Jewish and anti-Israel and, as can be seen in endless examples, it is often homicidal.
Recently, as a vote to divest from Israel took place at U.C. Davis, a mob of students shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as a small group of mostly Jewish pro-Israel students carrying American and Israeli flags made their way out. According to the University of California Policy Code, people are not allowed “to communicate a serious expression of intent to terrorize…’Terrorize’ means to cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm or death…”
In today’s climate, it seems most reasonable that a small group of Jewish and pro-Israel students would feel threatened, and yes, terrorized, while walking between a gauntlet of students yelling “Allahu Akbar!”
The University of California system would not tolerate these actions by any group toward gays, Asians, women, or blacks, so the time has come to put an end to this pretense. The time for yelling “Allahu Akbar!” at demonstrations, school votes, pro-Israel rallies, or anywhere that is publicly funded has come and gone, just as yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater has.
Jack Saltzberg is the founder and executive director of The Israel Group, the first nonprofit established to fight the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement in North America. Saltzberg has been a nonprofit professional leader for nearly 20 years and he served in combat in the Israel Defense Forces.