San Diego Muslim Leader’s Wife Quits USD Job Amid Outcry Over ‘Horrific’ Image on Facebook

Lallia  Allali (inset) was a lecturer at USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences.
Lallia Allali (inset) was a lecturer at USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Times of San Diego photo illustration

The wife of a San Diego Muslim leader has quit her teaching job at the University of San Diego amid outrage over a “horrific” image she purportedly posted to her Facebook account.

Lallia Allali, whose husband is Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego, also has lost her contributor roles with The San Diego Union-Tribune. But she retains a chairmanship of a San Diego Unified panel.

The offending image, spotted last weekend, shows a Jewish Star of David beheading five babies, with the caption: “The devil is killing.” The cartoonlike drawing has been circulating online since at least October 18 in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Several watchdog groups, including the prestigious Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, flagged the image. Two days after the center called on the U-T to remove Allali from her volunteer position, she was gone.

“As of 10/30, Lallia Allali is no longer a member of the Union-Tribune’s Community Voices Project or its Community Advisory Board (of which she was an emeritus member),” U-T editor Lora Cicalo told Times of San Diego. Cicalo didn’t respond to questions on why Allali was removed.

Allali’s Facebook account has been deleted, but it isn’t known who removed it or why.

Meanwhile, Catholic-affiliated USD — where Allali earned a master’s degree in 2016 — said it was aware of a social media post made by Allali to her private account.

“While individuals have the right to express their views on their personal accounts, they do not reflect the views of USD’s leadership nor any official position of the university,” the school said. “In the interest of safety, Allali has decided to step away from teaching the course. The safety of our community is the university’s top priority.”

Allali was a lecturer in USD’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

The school later said: “In the interest of safety, we can’t get into the specifics [of her case]. A new instructor was assigned to the course and we are providing students with the support and resources they need to successfully complete the semester.”

Neither Allali nor Hassane responded to numerous requests for comment.

The San Diego Unified School District also lists Allali as chair of its District English Learner Advisory Committee, or DELAC, whose next meeting is set for Nov. 30.

In a statement Thursday, the district said it condemns violence of any kind, “whether in our region or around the world.”

It added:

We understand many in our community have been impacted by the horrific events and the loss of innocent civilians in Israel and the loss of innocent civilians in Gaza. The district is committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for all students, staff and families.

Members of the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) are elected by their school English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) to serve a one-year term, with officers elected to serve two-year terms. A state-required advisory panel, DELAC has bylaws that include protocols for serving on the committee and for removal of officers. There have been no changes to the DELAC leadership since its last meeting on Oct. 26.

Allali wrote at least 15 columns for the U-T, starting in June 2020. She often focuses on the fight against hatred of Muslims. One of her essays was titled: “Opening your mind and heart to other cultures is good for the soul.”

Her master’s thesis was titled “Islamophilia: Challenging Prejudice and Promoting Mutual Understanding.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, known for its Museum of Tolerance.

In a statement Thursday, Cooper said the center was shocked by Allali’s “demonization of the people of Israel in the wake of the single greatest massacre of Jews since the defeat of Adolf Hitler.”

He accused her of being so filled with hatred against the people of Israel that she would “post such a blood libel against Jews.”

Cooper continued:

Her action is so despicable and deplorable especially because Hamas terrorists mass murdered 40 Israeli infants in one community alone and preformed unspeakable atrocities on babies, children, parents and grandparents. In effect, by posting this horrific image, she was involved in two blood libels. One, a baseless but powerful lie that Jews murder little children for religious purposes – a libel that spurs hatred and violence from the Middle Ages. Secondly, she remains silent about the horrific massacre by infants and children by Hamas terrorists.

Imam Hassane, who oversees San Diego’s largest mosque in Clairemont, has a long history of being an ally of Jews and other minorities.

At an October 2018 vigil at San Diego’s Congregation Beth Israel mourning those slain at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, he said: “The most evil thing in this world is taking a life” and killing people in houses of worship is “evil, the worst crime ever committed against humanity.”

Donald H. Harrison, then editor of San Diego Jewish World, reported:

After reading in Arabic from the Koran, [Hassane] explained that the passage speaks of the two sons of Adam (Cain and Abel) adding that Allah said that “because of this, we have commanded the children of Israel that killing one soul is as killing the entire humanity and saving one soul is as saving the entire humanity,” which means that Almighty God wanted this teaching to be universal, to be embraced and implemented by all the people of the world, all the nations who came after the nation of the Children of Israel, including the nation of the Prophet Muhammed, Peace be Upon Him.

According to her U-T biography, Allali is a leadership coach and a “staunch advocate for educational excellence and parental involvement in the SDUSD system since her children entered the school system.”

The bio added:

She is deeply committed to the education of the whole child in a safe and nurturing environment. She has been a strong voice for countering bullying, improving school climates and bringing to light bigotry focused on the Muslim student population. Her most recent accomplishment has been the creation and publishing of “Born Here,” a beautiful pictorial essay of the Muslim American life that challenges readers’ preconceptions. The book was released at the 2019 DEEP Summer Reading series and garnered praise from many readers.