'Martyrdom' Graduation Sashes Incite Violence?
Muslim members of the University of California, Irvine's graduating class will wear green sashes emblazoned with the word "shahada" in Arabic along with their commencement robes in Saturday's ceremony – a reference some say is an incitement to violence that should not be allowed.
"Shahada" can be translated several ways, including as a declaration of faith in Islam, but it often is used in reference to "martyrdom" – especially martyrdom attained by suicide bombers.
Sally Peterson, dean of students at UCI, defended the university against critics who say the school shouldn't allow such a display.
Peterson admits the word "shahada," besides being a reference to Islam, "has also taken on many other meanings depending on where you sit. For some it is seen as 'kill all Jews' or it is seen as a reference to suicide bombers," she said.
Despite different meanings applied to the Arabic word, the administrator said UCI is not permitted to limit the Muslim Student Union members' freedom to wear the sashes