In the previous installment of this short series on the recent 15th Annual Muslim Student Association (MSA) West Conference, which I attended at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I gave a general overview of the conference. The article summarized its pro-Palestinian political agenda, its preoccupation with hyping the threat of Islamophobia, its appeal to political activism in addition to its emphasis on strengthening one's Muslim faith and community, and its support from some of the most influential Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. Now let's look at some of the principal individual speakers involved and their messages.
The conference featured a range of professors, imams, businesspeople, media representatives, linguists, and even engineers. The biggest names were Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Edina Lekovich, Director of Policy and Programming for MPAC, the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Lekovich, a prominent Islamic face in the mainstream media, has claimed in the past that Muslims are everywhere being slaughtered by "Zionists," and she edited a UCLA Muslim student paper that cast doubt on Holocaust claims and praised Ayatollah Khomeini and bin Laden as freedom fighters. At the UCSB conference her topic was "Beyond the Muslim Bubble," which emphasized the very innocuous-sounding aim of "integrating ourselves into American society" to "build bridges with non-Muslims": "We weren't made to sit on the sidelines and not play an active role in society."