Nominee for Calif. Student Regent Draws Rare Ire from Some Jews

Sadia-SaifuddinUC Berkeley senior Sadia Saifuddin would become the first practicing Muslim to hold the post if she is confirmed.

By Lisa Fernandez and Lisa Leff, AP and NBC Bay Area

The University of California's governing board is poised to vote Wednesday on a new student member who would be the first practicing Muslim to hold the post and whose nomination is being vigorously opposed by some Jewish groups.

UC Berkeley senior Sadia Saifuddin, 21, was picked from a field of 30 applicants to serve on the UC Board of Regents during the 2014-15 academic year. The board will vote after its meeting begins at 9 a.m. at UC San Francisco's Mission Bay campus. She is up against two other students.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, conservative commentator David Horowitz and others have called on the board to reject Saifuddin's appointment. They say they oppose her not because she is Muslim but because they say some her student political activities as a student senator and member of the Muslim Students Association at Berkeley disqualify her from representing the UC system's more than 222,000 students.

Others say she is a bridge-builder, however, and say that unsubstantiated criticism is coming from far-flung fringe groups.

However, Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco-Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Santa Clara, Calif., attended the Regents meeting in San Francisco in support of Saifuddin.

Billoo told NBC Bay Area that critics have attacked the young student activist for being "divisive," but in all the vetting of her, most have found her to be a "bridge-builder." (Read the full article)

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