The student body president of St. Thomas University -- a private Catholic institution located in Minnesota’s Twin Cities -- is facing condemnation for racist rants on Twitter. The president of the institution, Julie Sullivan, issued a statement recently denouncing Mayzer Muhammad’s racist and anti-Semitic tweets. In a statement, Sullivan declared, “Hate speech – whether shared out of ignorance, emotion or to advance an agenda – is unacceptable. It is deeply disappointing that the president of our student government or any other member of the St. Thomas community would be accused of anti-Semitic discourse.”
Sullivan said in a press release, “The University of St. Thomas strongly denounces the 2014 statements that have circulated on social media – and all hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim posts.”
A petition is underway at Change.org to have Muhammad, a Muslim, removed from his position as student body president, which he has held since May 2016. “If you support Israel in anyway, shape or form, please unfollow me right now cause those people are the scum of the earth,” Muhammad wrote on Twitter account August 1, 2014. He was answering a response to a July 2 tweet, writing “the yahood (Arabic for Jews) will get what coming for them Insha’Allah” (Arabic for “If Allah Wills”). HIs account is now suspended.
In April 2016, Muhammad reposted a video from AJ+ — an online media channel run by Al Jazeera Media Network — in which a voice alleged to be of an “Israeli border officer” is heard shouting in Arabic, “We are the occupation army” and threatening to kill “the children, the youth, the old people.” Muhammad said the video depicted “[t]he reality of what goes on in Palestine.”
“People and their families getting threatened by getting gassed to death to leave their homes,” he added. “The US needs to stop supporting a country that allows this to happen with no real repercussions to the offenders.” He has also written that Israel is an "apartheid" and "racist state."
Neither Muhammad nor representatives at St. Thomas immediately responded to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.
Muhammad is apparently unrepentant. In a statement to the student body of St. Thomas, he wrote that his posts three years old and that he is victim of an Islamophobic smear campaign by organizations looking to discredit him. Moreover, he has asserted that he is being attacked for being a Muslim student leader at a private Catholic institution.
“The tweets that resurfaced were from 3+ years ago and do not reflect what I meant at the time. My words were poorly chosen and shared during a period of time where I was very emotional about Israel’s politics and the loss of life in Gaza. I regret my choice of words and apologize for any impact this may have had on people reading my tweets,” Muhammad wrote.
In his statement, Muhammad called for peace among Jews and Muslims. “Now more than ever, it is critical for Muslims and Jews to unite, as we already have to combat the hate and attacks that come our way. I am in full support of the Jewish community, and am commanded by my faith to care for all people and to stand up for others who may come under attack.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that he met with Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein and pledged to work on better relations with the Jewish community.
Muhammad told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “What these organizations are portraying me to be is an anti-Semite, and that is something that I am not.”
Muhammad’s other tweets include one dated November 10, 2014: “Us Muslims need to realize that the Israeli Settlers are trying to destroy Masjid Al-Aqsa, the 3rd holiest site in Islam. #WakeUpPeople.” Another tweet from July 17, 2014 said: “What a lot of us Americans don’t understand is that the state of Israel is being funded by OUR tax money. This needs to stop #FreePalestine”.
Muhammad will graduate this year with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology of Global Health. He was a student at St. Thomas University when he wrote the tweets.
The petition at Change.org to revoke his Muhammad’s status as student body leader at St. Thomas University alleges he incited violence against Jews and that he violated the university’s Code Of Ethics. The petition reads, “By signing this petition, you agree Mayzer should be removed from his position as president of the undergraduate student body and/or face expulsion from the University of St. Thomas for his anti-Semitic behavior.” As of this time, the petition has only 36 signatures.
In her statement, St. Thomas University President Sullivan wrote that next steps are being considered:
“In the coming days, our student body and our student government – which have focused on enhancing diversity, understanding and inclusivity on campus – will need to deliberate about their future leadership. The student government is taking this situation very seriously and is seeking input from the student body,” Sullivan said, “Their governance policies have a clearly defined process when the actions of a leader are called into question. The university will respect this process.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.