Muslim girl selected to university board in US
SAN FRANCISCO - ReutersThe University of California appointed a Muslim American woman as a student member of its governing board on July 17 in a move opposed by Jewish groups that objected to her pro-Palestinian activism.
Sadia Saifuddin, a 21-year-old social welfare major at 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 Center 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 intolerance toward opposing viewpoints.
In her acceptance speech, Saifuddin said she hoped to make the university system accessible to more students. 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. Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said opponents who disagreed with Saifuddin’s politics wanted to unjustly exclude her from civic participation.