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November 29, 2015 / 17 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘University of California at Irvine’

Ban on American Flag Vetoed by UC Irvine Student Govt Leadership

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Last week the student government of a public, taxpayer-supported institution which receives boatloads of  research and other money from the U.S. government voted to ban the American and all other flags from hanging in the student government main lobby on campus. It happened at the University of California at Irvine.

The Resolution, “Flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity” was introduced by Matthew Guevara, the “student ecology” representative to the student government, the Associated Students of University of California at Irvine. It was seconded by Khaalida Sidney.

According to the Resolution, which was passed six in favor, four opposed and two cowardly abstentions, “the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” and its display “does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.”

This legislation also points out that “flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards” and that “a common ideological understanding of the United states includes American exceptionalism and superiority.”

All of this, the drafters of the Resolution note, is a barrier to the “safe space” and inclusiveness the ASUCI hoped to create.

And then the Resolution concludes with its “Resolved” clause: “Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible. Let it further be resolved that no flag, of any nation, may be hanged on the walls of the Associated Students main lobby space.” (See the full Resolution, here.)

Yeah, well, not so much.

The ASUCI student government president Reza Zomorrodian issued a statement the same day the legislation passed. Zomorrodian expressed his firm opposition to the resolution, despite “understand[ing] the authors intent and supporters intent.”

On Saturday March 7, just two days after the ban was approved, the ASUCI executive cabinet voted to veto the ban, stating its belief that the ban is “counter to the ideals that allow us to operate as an autonomous student government organization with the freedoms of speech and expression associated with it.”

The veto statement went on: “It is these very symbols that represent our constitutional rights that have allowed for our representative creation and our ability to openly debate all ranges of issues and pay tribute to how those liberties were attained.”

Acknowledging the perversity of using the mechanisms created by the American form of government to ban the symbol of that government, the executive cabinet members wrote:

As students in an academic institution we encourage all students on campus to participate in open debate about a wide array of issues and to actively engage in academic curiosity, which lies at the backbone of a preeminent academic research institution. It is this freedom to be able to navigate and explore topics on a wide range of issues that we see at risk if we begin to engage in a particular form of regulation of free speech and its expression through symbols in any space associated with our organization.

And even the grown ups at this University of California school (the same school, incidentally, at which then-Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren had been repeatedly booed and heckled during a speech) immediately weighed in, condemning the flag ban.

The UCI administration issued a statement on Saturday, March 7, calling the Resolution “misguided” and “not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership, the University of California, or the broader student body.”

The administration noted that the ASUCI executive cabinet would be meeting that day to discuss whether to veto the ban, something the administration “encouraged.” The administration also recommended that the legislation not be pursued any further, and pointed out that the American flag was still “proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so.”

Convictions Upheld of Muslim Students Who Harrassed Oren at Irvine

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

On February 8, 2010, Muslim students interrupted a speech being given at the University of California at Irvine by Michael Oren who was then the Israeli ambassador to the United States. The students didn’t just shout out their message once. They repeatedly derailed the talk Oren was trying to give so that what was supposed to have been a one hour speech ended up being only twelve minutes long.

The students shouted ugly abuse at the Israeli ambassador, accusing him of being an accomplice to genocide and propagating murder.

The situation was so extreme that criminal charges were brought against eleven students, who became known as the “Irvine 11.”

Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas, who was in the courtroom when the verdict was read, said the students’ behavior amounted to censorship and “thuggery.”

“In a civilized society,” he said, “we cannot allow lawful assemblies to be shut down by a small group of people using the heckler’s veto.”

When the verdict was entered by the jury, on September 23, 2011, 10 of the students were sentenced to three years of probation, 56 hours of community service and fines. Each was convicted of one misdemeanor count of conspiring to disrupt Oren’s Feb. 8, 2010, speech and a second count for disrupting it. The charges against the 11th student were dropped, pending his completing a term of community service.

The response from the community was swift and harsh, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Absolutely unbelievable,” Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said of the verdict. “I believe the heart of America has died today.

“This is clearly an indication that Muslims are permanent foreigners, at least in Orange County.”

The students and their supporters claimed the students free speech “rights” were violated. Apparently the irony was lost on them that the charges were brought against them for refusing to allow an invited guest to speak.

In a ruling dated last Wednesday but delivered Monday, March 3 to attorneys, a California appellate court panel ruled Ali Mohammad Sayeed, Mohamed Mohy-Eldeeen Abdelgany, Khalid Akari, Aslam Abbasi Akhtar, Joseph Tamim Haider, Taher Herzallah, Shaheen Nassar, Mohammad Anas Qureashi, Osama Shabaik and Asaad Traina were convicted Sept. 23, 2011, because the intent of the law they broke was clear. (Hakim Nasreddine Kebir accepted a plea deal from the court and had charges against him dismissed in exchange for performing 40 hours of community service.)

The judges said the defendants’ intent was proven by the exchange amongst them of email messages, as each student stood, in turn, to shout out and interfere with Oren’s speech.

An attorney for the students, Jacqueline Goodman, said she planned to appeal this ruling to the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Santa Ana, according to a local blog.

When the convictions were first announced following the trial, a Muslim advocate claimed the decision to bring charges against the students would immortalize them.

“When history books are written and this case comes to its final conclusion … the Irvine 11 will stand alongside other civil rights heroes,” said Ameena Qazi, deputy executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles.

Some content for this article was provided by JTA.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/convictions-upheld-of-muslim-students-who-harrassed-oren-at-irvine/2014/03/05/

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