Muslim Students Association Telling Lies
By Diana Appelbaum, December 25, 2003
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At some point in the last two or three years, someone who hates Israel fabricated a bloodthirsty quotation and attributed it to Ariel Sharon. The false quote has circulated widely on anti-Israel and anti-Semitic WEB sites and list serves, and at least three student columnists have published it as fact in reputable college newspapers, the Georgetown University Hoya, the University of Florida Alligator, and the University of Illinois Daily Ilini. [,,].

This is, or ought to be, a source of shame to the three newspapers in question since, while columnists have the right to express even the most outrageous opinions, they are not allowed to invent facts. Editors are responsible for vetting columns for factual accuracy. And, when errors slip in, for publishing corrections. To date, none of the three college newspapers in question has published a correction.

Here is the false quotation:

"I don't know something called International Principles. I vow that I'll burn every Palestinian child (that) will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child's existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I've killed 750 Palestinians (in Rafah in 1956). I wanted to encourage my soldiers by raping Arabic girls as the Palestinian woman is a slave for Jews, and we do whatever we want to her and nobody tells us what we shall do but we tell others what they shall do," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said in an interview with General Ouze Merham in 1956.

This “quotation,” in its entirety or in part, appears on hundreds of virulently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic WEB pages, but it is an obvious hoax. The clues would be apparent to any careful journalist. None of the WEB pages gives a source for the quote, beyond alleging that it was in “an interview with General Ouze Merham in 1956.” But neither I nor others have been able to find any evidence that a “General Ouze Merham” ever existed. [].

A careful reading of the quote itself makes clear that it is a hoax.

In 1956 Ariel Sharon was a college student. It is not usual for journalists to interview college students. Nor is it usual for generals to turn journalist and publish interviews.

The false quote refers to Arabs as “Palestinians,” a term that was not yet in use in the 1950’s. It talks of Palestinian women as slaves of the Jews, a kind of rhetoric never used even in Israeli hate-literature. Talking of Jewish women as slaves of the Arabs, by contrast, is a commonplace in Arab hate-literature. []

Then there is the sentence about killing 750 Palestinians in Rafah in 1956. Some rabidly anti-Israel WEB sites, the kind with graphics of blood dripping from red letters, list 100 deaths at Rafah on Oct. 10, 1956. [] But there isn't any reputable source of any incident causing multiple deaths having occurred in Rafah in 1956.

For these and other reasons, a writer on Independent Media, an aggressively anti-Israel news outlet, calls the alleged Sharon quote, “a very poor fabrication.” [,]

The false quote was published in a guest column written for the U. of Florida Alligator by Mohammad Bahmaid, President of the U. of Florida Muslim Students Association. It was published in the Georgetown Hoya by Shadi Hamid, chair of the Political Action Task Force for the Muslim Students Association-National. [] It was published in the Daily Illini by Mariam Sobh, a Section Editor of the MSA Link, newsletter of the Muslim Students Association - National. []

Ms. Sobh’s superior at the Daily Illini, the individual responsible for making certain that columnists verify their facts and for printing corrections, is Opinions Editor Roaa Al-Heeti. In her Daily Illini bio, Ms. Al-Heeti lists the web site of the Muslim Students Association,, as her personal favorite. [] Ms. Al-Heeti is a member of the Executive Board of the Association. []

The Muslim Students Association is an Islamist group that makes no secret of its ultimate goal of bringing America under the sway of its extreme and oppressive version of Islam. [] The MSA lays out the first steps in this process in its “GUIDE ON HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL MSA (chapter).” [] The document reminds student activists that “it should be the long-term goal of every MSA (chapter) to Islamicize the politics of their respective university.”

One of the key steps is to infiltrate, and ultimately to take over, the campus newspaper in five easy steps:


  • Requires 4-10 individuals, depending on the size of the MSA
  • Half of the committee should work for the campus newspaper as reporters
  • Aim is to eventually be on the editorial board
  • Ensures that anti-Muslim sentiments are not easily be expressed through this medium
  • Other half scopes the university regional, and national newspaper for anti-Muslim propaganda and then responds to it promptly
  • Negotiate with the editorial board to have a weekly or biweekly MSA column

The MSA advises that truth is a useful tool:

TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THE MEDIA PRODUCTIVELY. TRUTH: Always tell the truth (not the whole truth) to the media. (Because) Journalists will check facts with various sources. Be prepared to back up your information with credible sources. A lie will do you more harm both in the short and the long term.

This is a remarkable insight into the way an Islamist propagandist thinks. These young people are not being instructed that they ought to tell the truth because it is the right thing to do. Or that they should tell the truth because everyone hearing the truth will support the Islamist cause. They are being told that they should tell the truth (but not the whole truth) because getting caught in a lie will damage the cause of Islamism.

Here’s a news flash for the Muslim Students Association: you’ve been caught telling a lie.

Here’s another: most Americans think that lying is wrong, whether or not you get caught and regardless of whether it harms or helps your cause. Americans think that lying is intrinsically immoral. Telling the truth is an American value. Got that?

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