April 30, 2002
Mr. Firas Shehaden
Dear Mr. Shehaden:
Thank you for your thoughtful and sensitive letter conveying the Muslim Student Association's apology for the matter involving the April 8 event flier. I was heartened to learn that your membership had themselves discerned the offensive nature of that section of the flier and attempted to rectify matters. It is clear that you and your organization repudiate such hurtful and offensive language. We can -- and must -- forgive each other's mistakes, now more than ever, and I do so gladly.
I greatly appreciate the distinction you draw between the MSA's strong views about the actions of the Israeli government and "the great monotheistic religion of Judaism" and "totality of the great Jewish people." With that approach, you are taking up the responsibility I described in my earlier letter, to show "that passion, and passionate differences, can coexist with decency and recognition of our common humanity."
Your letter gives me renewed confidence in the determination of the Muslim Student Association to express its views frankly, fully and without hate -- in short, to live by your highest values in this terribly troubled time.
1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (415) 338-1111