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UPDATE! Jury verdict in, Share your Reactions : The BIG Picture & Fact-Check

UPDATE! Jury verdict in, Share your Reactions : The BIG Picture & Fact-Check

UPDATE: VERDICT AND SENTENCE

The jury has found the 10 Muslim students tried GUILTY on both counts.  The judge has ruled a sentence which includes:  a 3 year informal probation, 56 hours of community service with a non-profit organization for each defendant, and $200 in fines.  The sentence will most likely be suspended if the students complete their community service before January 31st and their probation will most likely be dropped after 1 year.  The judge made these rulings based on the students' clean records, being productive members of the community, and because he believes that the students' actions were political.

Walk the talk! If you REALLY believe in the Irvine-11 and what they are doing for ALL of us, then donate towards their legal fees here: http://www.mlfa.org/irvine-11 (click on DONATE button top left)

Message of support on twitter: Send a msg to @irvine_11 so these brave heroes know how proud we are of them.

Or Email them: support@irvine11.com

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As we all await the jury verdict in the Irvine 11 case with bated breaths, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the “big picture”, especially since the Israel Lobby minions are in full swing to change the narrative of what has become one of the biggest fiascos in the American justice system history.

While the Defense lawyers did an admirable job arguing the specifics of the case, the fact that some people are confused by the technical legal issues in play is exactly why it is important to redouble our efforts to maintain the big picture and the “real” facts. None of what I am about to say is new, but we cannot say it enough in order to counter the misinformation being spread online:

If these were not Muslims, there would be no case

I think this is so obvious that it needs no explanation, but nevertheless needs to headline any story on Irvine-11. Why? Because we have had documented cases of nearly identical situations that have occurred with other student groups and individuals doing the same sort of protesting at events, but none ever facing prosecution. In fact, is there any case in our entire American legal history, where individuals are being prosecuted for sloganeering in a public speech? None! If such a precedent existed, you would have bet that would have been front and center for the prosecution.

Let's refer to two examples to highlight my stated assertion:  One in which a Muslim speaker was nearly shutdown AT the SAME university (UCI), and secondly where non-Muslims (Jewish students) protested an Israeli speaker, Netanyahu. So, these two events cover the entire spectrum of possible scenarios.

HISTORICAL PROOF of SIMILAR PROTESTS (not prosecuted):

(1) College Republicans interrupted Muslim speaker Amir Abdel Malik at UCI. The protest was so overwhelming that the UCI's College Republicans literally shut the speaker down.

(2) Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) protested Israeli Prime-Minister Netanyahu at NOLA in November 2010

If an Israeli speaker was not on the other side, there would be no case

Mearsheimer and Walt captured the spirit of the Israeli Lobby strength in their book that literally shook the Israeli-firsters in America. Since then, there has been a steady attack on both, each accused of anti-Semitism and every evil in the world. Ironically enough, their speeches have been stopped by the Lobby (one example); so forget about being heckled, they weren't even allowed to make their speech at all.

If the power of the Lobby was in any doubt, then I hope that those doubts were put to rest by the recent clamoring of BOTH Republicans and Democrats, both Congressional and Executive to please the Prime-Minister of Israel, belonging to extremist right-wing Likud party (no different from Hamas on the other side) on the UN Palestine issue. Even the Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama (the Nobel committee must be highly embarrassed by its strange decision that is being proven wrong daily) is scrambling to declare his love for Israel, and could only describe Israeli suffering in his UN speech, not offering even a single word of solace to the ACTUAL people being occupied and brutalized, Palestinians.

It is one thing though for the Israel-first part of the Lobby to influence America's foreign policies, but it is quite another when it starts affecting the fabric and soul of the American nation, trying to take away the liberty and freedom of expression from those who voice anti-Israel positions. The Israel Lobby realizes that the new generation, including Jewish Americans (as we see with Jewish Voices for Peace), will not necessarily swallow all of Israeli hasbara. More and more Jewish voices are rejecting not only the hawkish explanations for why peace cannot be achieved, but they are proactively pushing for the silenced Palestinian voice in American circles. Thus for the Lobby, with the Congress  firmly in control, The Lobby has been actively targeting American campuses (campuswatch website by Daniel Pipes is just one of the many efforts to silence any anti-Israel dissent). Thus when the Irvine-11 were able to challenge the Lobby's campus strategy, the Lobby saw it as a test, and felt the need to try to use the American justice system to help in their political goals.

Why the Israel Lobby is willing to bet on an American jury to deliver the unfathomable.

While we pray and hope for fair-minded individuals on the jury to deliver the Irvine-11 from this witch-hunt, the Lobby is also likely optimistic, betting that the negative public opinion on Muslims and Arabs will deliver a decision that would be otherwise unfathomable– a guilty verdict. Think about it. The American jury system is all about being tried by one's peers. Whenever there is an imbalance in the jury composition relative to the defendant, we can and have seen lopsided results. That is why African Americans and other minorities, in general, have found it harder to achieve justice. On the flip-side, when the jury is swung enough in favor of the “peer-type”, you can get the OJ Simpson type result as well.

With Muslims representing only a fraction of the American population, and the prosecution ensuring that no Muslim will serve on any jury that is trying Muslims, Muslim defendants are hardly being tried by peers. Consider all the cases against Muslims thus far where their faith was “part of the equation”, number of jury members Muslims = zero. Furthermore, considering the nearly 50% negative opinion of Muslims, is it too hard to imagine that statistically one can expect 50% of any jury will already be biased against a Muslim or Arab defendant, especially when the case highlights religious or ethnic identity? Jury is composed of humans, and if they have a prejudice, regardless of the specifics of the case, they will tend to be moved by arguments that resonate with their biases and reject those that contradict the biases. Rarely will you find a person who is able to shut off the prejudice part to be entirely objective.

Whatever happens today, the Irvine-11 will be victorious

Even though I have no relation to any of the students, have never met one of them, I still feel as if I too am on trial, standing besides them. And I am only one of millions (composed of people from all faith). Each of the Irvine-11 (or 10 now) likely could have accepted some plea bargain to get off for some sort of deal, yet they stuck to their principles because they realized that the fear-mongering and witch-hunt against them by the Israel-firsters was not about them, but about the larger question of freedom of expression in America. And in this case, specifically the freedom and right to support A CAUSE (Palestine in this case), regardless of whether one believes in the cause or not.

So whatever happens today (we pray Allāh frees them), the Irvine-11 individuals will be victorious. And I hope and pray that the community supports them with everything at their disposal (jobs, security, etc.) if the jury falls to its own prejudices and the American justice fails them. And if indeed the Defense wins the case against the odds, then count the Defense team among the heroes!

In conclusion, as Evelyn Beatrice Hall said (often quoted by right-wing but only in talk, not in action), “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”, and that should be the standard for all fair minded Americans. Prayers for Irvine-11 & for America: Acquittal will be victory for BOTH. Conviction will be one of darkest chapters ONLY for USA.

allah

About Amad

Amad Shaikh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from the Wharton. He was one of the founders of the TDC, and in what seems like a distant memory, he served as the President of U. Houston's MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Amad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

39 comments

  1. Ya Allah lift this trial from these men…Bring them home with a not guilty verdict to their families and deliver victory to the Muslims. Ameen Ya rabul Alameen.

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  2. While it may or may not be true that criminal charges may have not be filed if the students were not Muslim, this article is way over the top.

    The misdemeanor charges* in this case are not “one of the biggest fiascos in the American justice system history.”

    I do not agree with the tactics these students used. Just because other groups have used the same tactics and were not punished does not make the tactics just or right or productive to their cause.

    A Middle East professor at UC Irvine, Mark LaVine wrote this in the LA Times after the event:

    “In short, are there situations when marginalized voices have little recourse accept to push the boundaries of polite debate in order to get their messages heard? And if in doing so they ruffle feathers, upset audience members and perhaps even exercise extremely poor tactical and political judgment in their choice of strategies — as the students in this case have so clearly done, since they both deflected attention away from their cause and played into deeply ingrained stereotypes of irrational and unreasonably angry Muslim men”

    IMO, the university was justified in punishing them and that should have been the end of it. It is not appropriate behavior to try to prevent a speaker from being heard on the campus. It infringes on the rights of audience members.

    While issues regarding the right of free speech can be debatable, I agree with Erwin Chemerinsky’s, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, position:

    “Freedom of speech, on campus and everywhere, is rendered meaningless if speakers can be shouted down by those who disagree. The law is well established that the government can act to prevent a heckler’s veto — to prevent the reaction of the audience from silencing the speaker. There is simply no 1st Amendment right to go into an auditorium and prevent a speaker from being heard, no matter who the speaker is or how strongly one disagrees with his or her message.”

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    *They are being charged for two misdemeanors.

    Law Concerning Disturbance of a Meeting or Assembly (Penal Code § 403) – Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    Penal Code § 403 does not require that a defendant’s conduct create a clear and present danger of violent conduct on the part of the defendant or of others or that it endangered public safety and order

    Law Concerning Conspiracy (Penal Code § 182) and Proof by Circumstantial Evidence Penal Code § 182 renders it unlawful for “two or more persons [to] conspire to commit any crime.” It further states, “Conspiracy is a specific intent crime requiring an intent to agree or conspire, and a further intent to commit the target crime,” with at least one overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy be committed by one or more of the parties to the conspiracy

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    • I could maybe swallow the punishment by the University as it was on “their” campus… but my problem is the big deal that this has been made into… and that is EXACTLY the point… how many tax dollars spent on this fiasco… I do believe this is a huge test for American justice system.

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    • As for the other “technical legal points”, the UCI dean is one of many legal voices on this, and in the minority. And the whole point of this article was not to have the narrative stolen for technical reasons. This isn’t about the law, it is about fear-mongering and witch-hunt. I think anyone who thinks this is about the law is high on the hasbara… let’s at least keep that straight.

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      • I am on the campus almost daily. I’ll tell you that most people don’t care about this case one way or the other. For the people who are talking about the case, the topic of conversation revolves around the First Admendment and not the message the students were trying to send.
        100 UC Irvine professors singed a petition saying to drop the charges in Feb.

        http://www.uci.edu/uci/features/2011/02/feature_facultyletter_110209.php

        The relevant parts:

        “The students were wrong to prevent a speaker invited to the campus from speaking and being heard. And the Muslim Student Union acted inappropriately in coordinating this and in misrepresenting its involvement to University officials. But the individual students and the Muslim Student Union were disciplined for this conduct by the University, including the MSU being suspended from being a student organization for a quarter. This is sufficient punishment. There is no need for criminal prosecution and criminal sanctions.”

        I thought that was fair. They noted the students were wrong but the issue had been taken care of.

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    • As much as I agree that the students’ judgement was wrong by proceeding in their protest likewise, It’s outrageous not only to bring this to court but more so to ignore to press the same charges when something similar happened at the *same* university. It my be controversial to say that “If these were not Muslims, there would be no case”; but guess what? They weren’t Muslims and there was no case! The fact is that in any situation when a public speaker is interrupted, it’s humiliating. Nobody cares if Muslims are humiliated and their lawful assemblies disturbed and hurtled, but this was Michael Oren, and this is what happens when an American ambassador is humiliated; the laws are infringed.

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  3. I am reminded of the case against Dr. Ali Al-Timimi, who was sentenced to life in prison based only on allegations of speech – an absolutely shocking thing to happen in the USA, almost unfathomable. And an injustice that continues to this day.

    Insha’Allah the outcome will be more just this time around.

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  4. ALL 10 FOUND GUILTY ON BOTH COUNTS. STAY UPDATED: http://twitter.com/#!/irvine_11

    PRESS CONFERENCE HAPPENING SOON.

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  5. Thank you for this very informative article! I had no idea that this was the first case of its kind!

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  6. If you are going to discuss legal issues, and make comparisons between events, you have to be accurate and honest. The UCI case is a prosecution under California Penal Code section 403, which prohibits someone from disturbing or breaking up an assemby. It is the actions and conduct in disturbing or breaking up the assembly, not the content or message of the communication or expression of those protesting at the assembly. It is what is known as a “content neutral” law, which is not intended to curb speech, and is, when applied in the proper case, constitutional. The jury is instructed, pursuant to standard jury instructions, by the Judge as follows:
    “The defendant is charged [in Count _____] with (disturbing/ [or] breaking up) a public meeting [in violation of Penal Code section 403].
    To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:
    1. The defendant intentionally committed acts that violated (implicit customs or usages of/ [or] explicit rules for governing) a public meeting that was not religious or political in nature;
    2. The defendant knew or reasonably should have known that (his/her) acts violated those (customs[,]/ [or] usages[,]/ [or] rules);
    AND
    3. The defendant’s acts substantially [and unlawfully] interfered with the conduct of the meeting.
    You may not find the defendant guilty of this crime unless you find that the defendant’s acts themselves, not the message or expressive content of the acts, substantially interfered with the conduct of the meeting.
    [When deciding whether the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that (his/her) acts violated the (implicit customs or usages of/ [or] explicit rules for governing) the meeting, you may consider whether someone warned or requested the defendant to stop (his/her) activities.]”

    You gave two examples of similar instances, where prosecution did not follow the event. One of our examples as in New Orleans. As pointed out above, the Irvine case is under California law. Louisiana may or may not have a similar law. So that example does not support your point. The other one shows a speaker outside. I don’t know if this was a speaker invited by UCI for a scheduled presentation, an impromptu rally, or what, so there is a big difference there. Ambassador Oren was invited to speak by UCI for a presentation to the student body.

    The law under section 403 requires a case-by-case consideration of the facts and circumstances to determine if there has been a violation. That prevents the law from being applied too broadly and automatically to various types of situations. The statute has been on the books since 1872. There is California case law discussing the statute, which requires the elements and the jury instruction set forth above.

    I did not attend the UCI trial. From the reports, it appears that the defendants (1) planned the protest; (2) planned to continually interrupt Amb. Oren; (3) were aware they could be arrested or disciplined; (4) based the protest on one done in Chicago which successfully shut down a speaker; (5) wanted to protest long enuf to shut him down; and (6) warnings and instructions were given before and during the speech, which the protestors ignored.

    I am sure there are other factors on both sides. The jury will decide. Freedom of speech, while one of the fundamental rights we possess, is not absolute. There are particular elements and requirements to find a person guilty under section 403, not involving the message or content of the protestors, but their actions and conduct in breaking up this particular assemby.

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    • If you are going to discuss legal issues, and make comparisons between events, you have to be accurate and honest.

      Did it appear like I was discussing legal issues? Did you actually read what I wrote?

      the fact that some people are confused by the technical legal issues in play is exactly why it is important to redouble our efforts to maintain the big picture and the “real” facts.

      It’s not about the technical issues at play. It’s about the fact that only Muslims would be charged for something like this, and ONLY when Israel is on the other side. Do you know how many laws against homosexuality are on the books in how many states? How many gays are actually prosecuted? Just because there are laws on the books, and just because there may be a technical reason to argue using them, doesn’t mean they ought to be used.

      In fact, the prosecution’s favorite legal guy, the UCI dean, himself thought this trial was way over-kill despite his belief that the case had legal weight.

      Finally, you state “The statute has been on the books since 1872. There is California case law discussing the statute, which requires the elements and the jury instruction set forth above.”

      Please find me one other precedence for this type of prosecution in the 139 years since the statute’s institution

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      • By resorting to the “big picture,” you conveniently ignore the context and blur the discussion by comparing incidents with varying facts. By generally discussing the matter in subjective terms, you ignore the factual and legal basis of this particular case in an attempt to make a “big picture” statement, which does not stand up, when you look at the facts, circumstances, and law of this case or any particular case. Generalizing, comparing and contrasting unlike events, and making “big picture” subjective points is just plain weak. You don’t advance or support your point or any particular point of view.

        Since it is a criminal prosecution based on a particular statute, you have to consider the facts and the law involved. A prosecution takes place when prohibited conduct defined in a statute occurs. Of course, you are free to attempt to enlarge this into a worldwide persecution of Muslims at the hands of, what did you call it, “the Israel Lobby minions.” You are free to do that, but you are not in the least bit persuasive to people who take the time to understand the actual legal and factual context of this case.

        Yes, there have been prosecutions under California Penal Code section 403. From those cases, the court ruled that the conviction must be based on the conduct, not the content of the message. And yes, there have been prosecutions of homosexuals, using sodomy laws, as recently as 2003, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court. You probably should research and know some of these things before you spray paint your “big pictures.”

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        • Let me ask you bluntly because you obviously don’t understand the context of my post. And based on your answer, I’ll know what your objective here:

          Would you expect this to have happened if there were Jewish kids belong to a pro-Israel group protesting at a speech by President Abbas, and doing everything these kids did?

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          • First of all, there is no context to your post. You just want to make generalized, unsubstantiated, subjective claims, which advance no point of view.

            The answer to your question is if the circumstances were the same with Jewish students planning to and actually shouting down a speaker invited by UCI, including President Abbas, then, yes, the city attorney should apply the same standards to them and prosecute them under Penal Code section 403.

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          • Those who are suffering the pain and understand the anti-Muslim bigotry in the country know EXACTLY the context of my pain, thank you very much.

            You did not answer my question. I did not ask what the city attorney should do. I asked if you EXPECT the City Attorney would have done the same. Try to answer honestly and perhaps that little effort might open your eyes to what the “context” of my post is. Answer the question.

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          • If they were Jewish kids, nothing would have happened. Actually, I would think the media would just focus on spreading propaganda about how the Palestinians are terrorists.

            The fact is that money rules in our country and our politicians are increasingly becoming sellouts. The strongest lobby in the US is the Israeli lobby. The strongest media forces in this country are also heavily controlled and influenced by Israel. The easiest way for anyone who wants a stable and successful political career is to go around waving the Israeli flag and accepting all of Israel’s policies, no questions asked. And this statement is NOT a racist statement. I would say the same about any lobby or media power if they were in the same powerful position as Israel. The fact is is that our politicians and leaders are increasingly becoming sellouts. Unfortunately, success in our nation these days is measured by the amount of money and stock options one has in the bank. The Irvine 11 situation is just another manifestation of how are politicians are losing their backbones and becoming morally bankrupt. The prosecutor in that city charged the Irvine 11 because they were disturbing an Israeli speaker. The Israeli speaker’s friends and community give that prosecutor’s boss and his bosses boss a lot of money. Anyone with common sense can see that.

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  7. Two issues here: (1) Should this have gone to trial? and (2) Is this a question of Free Speech?

    Re Issue #1: No. I agree that this is a sham proceeding brought about by the pro-Israeli lobby. What else is new?

    Re Issue #2: No. To quote an old saying: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

    The idea of Free Speech is that everyone should have the opportunity to make their views and ideas heard, no matter how repulsive or offensive some of us might find them. Thus we allow Neo-Nazis to have rallies and one psychotic religious leader to stage protests at the funerals of our soldiers who did nothing against his viewpoint. How does conspiring to make it so that someone CANNOT be heard fit in with that?

    What the Irvine 11 did is conspire to intentionally SUPPRESS the Free Speech rights of someone who they disagreed with. (The fact that others have done this and gotten away with it has no bearing on the correctness of this incident.) That’s not Free Speech — it’s the very antithesis of it. Regardless of how you feel about the Israeli Ambassador’s words, we guarantee him the right to speak them. These kids were trying to deny that right, and that is not what Free Speech is all about — that’s what Fox News is all about.

    I agree that this should never have gone to trial. I agree that a double-standard is evident in the way it was handled. You have a legitimate beef on both counts.

    However, I will NOT at any time, for any cause, support such tactics from any group. This is the political equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going “lalalalala — I can’t hear you” — only it’s worse because you are sticking your fingers in everyone else’s ears as well. And guess what? It’s emblematic of the entire process between Israelis and Palestinians for over two decades. Both sides spend all their time sticking their fingers in their ears and never do they actually sit down and have an honest dialog.

    As I said at the outset — Two wrongs don’t make a right. You can continue this tit-for-tat gamesmanship for another two decades and you will still be right where you are now — in a constant state of misery. Or one of you can try and end the gridlock. Your choice.

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    • The speech’s interruption was more caused by the people in that room (responding to the statements issued by the Irvine11) than the Irvine11. So, all of them should be charged. The war-criminal finished his speech, and he could have easily done the Q&A.

      We can keep arguing about the legalities here, but because we agree on the fundamental purpose my post, that this isn’t about the law, then we are wasting our breath.

      This is about Israel, and about Muslims. Simple as that.

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    • we allow Neo-Nazis to have rallies and one psychotic religious leader to stage protests at the funerals of our soldiers

      while at the same time, we allow counter-rallies at the same location as those neo-nazis where the 2 groups shout at each other, and motorcycle groups show up to rev their motorcycles so the religious leader can’t be heard.

      To infringe on the counter-rally is infringement of free speech.

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  8. A quibble that might be more properly addressed to John Esposito (but the Huffington Post has closed comments on his piece):

    From the video, it’s quite clear that Amir Abdel Malik is speaking from the stairs adjacent to the Administration Building at UCI. He’s on public property, an area that has been designated as a free speech zone. That means that while UCI can’t stop him from speaking there, they can’t stop anyone else either. Unfortunately, it does mean that those that make more noise just might win the argument by default.

    In contrast, Oren was speaking in a UCI function room. This is not a free speech zone.

    I deplore what the College Republicans did. I don’t think anyone should be shouted down. Wait your turn and then you get to speak. If the Muslim Student Union had booked an event room at UCI (my UCI contacts tell me this is actually very easy for a student group) and the College Republicans had entered it with the intent of disrupting Malik’s speech, we might be in the same situation. But it didn’t happen that way.

    If Mr. Malik had been speaking in Emerald Bay Ballroom B in the Student Center, they could have ejected the College Republicans, perhaps even filed charges. If you have your speakers in a free speech zone, you take the risk that others might (loudly) exercise their own free speech rights to the detriment of yours.

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  9. Today I am ashamed to be an American. And anyone who believed in America, like I did, would be ashamed too.

    This wasn’t about the law, this was about politics, straight-up. If anyone believes otherwise, they need to get off the Israeli koolaid.

    I swear by Allah that if these weren’t Muslim students, and if this wasn’t about Israel, there would be no case, let alone guilt.

    When you are counting on a jury system, picked out of average Americans, half of them biased against Muslims, then it only takes one of strong-willed bigot among the jurors to steer the direction of the jury. And it appears that there was at least one among the jurors.

    Shame on the jurors too, you have failed your nation today, and you have failed its ideals.

    My dear brothers of the Irvine-11, hold your heads up high.
    You are still victorious, each of you
    What lost today was the American justice system…
    Lost its soul to the Israel-firsters grinch

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    • Today I am ashamed to be an American. And anyone who believed in America, like I did, would be ashamed too.

      Shame on the jurors too, you have failed your nation today, and you have failed its ideals

      I think you should have stopped believing in America and jurors with Afia Siddiqui case..

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  10. Salam

    Feel sick and stunned right now. Growing up in the UK, I always thought university life in California was ALL about excercising your constiutional right to peaceful protest… apparently not when Israel is involved. I’m sure protesters who have done much worse to American politicians have not been found guilty of a crime. Alhamdolillah for Judgement Day, when Allah will show true justice to every single human who ever lived.

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  11. I felt a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard the guilty jury verdict upon returning from salatul jumuah. I wasn’t surprised though. I’m proud of them and only wish I had half as much courage as them. They are an inspiration to us all. They have inspired me to do what is in my ability to protest even a king’s injustice.
    I will support them and all pleas for justice till the day I die, insha Allah.

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  12. Ten Muslim students found guilty of conspiring to disrupt -– and then disrupting –- a speech at UC Irvine by Israel’s ambassador were sentenced Friday afternoon to three years informal probation. They will not serve any jail time.

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  13. That was just so sad =(

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  14. I am shocked at the verdict that was reached. As a student of UC Irvine, a member of the MSU, resident of the OC, and American Muslim all I can say is that I am proud of these individuals for what they did and thankful to them for fighting on behalf of student activists, American Muslims, and the Palestinian people.

    One defeat can open the door to many victories. The 10 young activists thought they were defending justice on a university campus on a February evening, but over a year later their protest is still being heard across the nation and all over the world. Here’s to an even larger stage for the irvine11, student activists, American Muslims, the Palestinian people, and the struggle for free speech, civil liberties, and minority rights.

    This is a small defeat in a larger battle. The fight goes on and I pray that they will reach a swift victory in their appeals while continuing to bring more attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people and our own lack of civil liberties and injustice here in the United States.

    MICHAEL OREN, PROPAGATING MURDER IS NOT AN EXPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH.

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  15. Donation and messages of support information added to the post.

    WALK THE TALK… and don’t wait until you “cool down”. Time for action is when you FEEL the brotherhood and FEEL the injustice.

    Here’s an example of a message sent:
    Dear @irvine_11: You may have been convicted in OC. But in the court of world opinion, you have earned more than acquittal. You have earned honor & glory

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  16. A reminder for the Muslim community in California:

    The youth of Irvine11 have paid their dues. It’s time for the community in California to STEP UP & provide a support system for them, especially jobs but not limited to that… marriage & so on. They could have quit a long time ago but did not. Are we going to quit on them?

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  17. That was so sad it breaks my heart to see inoccent students to get this.These guys are heroes no matter what the out come is.They did no harn but verbalized the fact and that is their freedom of speech.This is pure discremination against muslims.May allah (swt) give them saber to them and their family.As I followed this closely I had so much hope they would be free,the jury were mixed race and age but I was wrong.

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  18. Jazakallahukhair Amad + MM crew for enlightening us with the article and overall story.

    May Allah help them and their families.

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  19. Spot on.

    Making a mountain out of a molehill.

    May Allah grant strength and guidance to all of us, and especially help the Muslim youth all over the world to always stand up for the right.

    Ameen.

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  20. as salaam alaikum,

    Here I go, getting into trouble.

    As Muslims, with any sense of America’s relationship to Israel, you know, you don’t mess with the Jews. You can be an anti Muslim bigot and they will pretend they don’t see, but if you are an anti-semite, and they catch you at it in the US, you are going to get the heavy hammer. Its like driving while black or thinking you are going to be an African American criminal. These things, once you are caught, no one is going to go light on you.

    My problem is with us adults. When this first happened, I saw adults cheering, “at least they did something,” was the mantra back then. Something” is not always progress. These kids were supposed to be acing their studies. That is and was their number one job and nothing should have ever got in front of that. I see too many of us Muslims, we want our kids to go out and fight for Islam and this and that, but we hide. I say this all the time. It is kind of sick. You tell your kid to go be extreme and you clap and then you go out to your job and your neighborhood and hide. If this was the right thing to do, it should have been the parents of the these kids. These kids have their whole lives in front of them. They did not create the mess in Palestine. They should be concentrating on their careers and learning deen. They should not bed pawns in old people’s fights. This is totally aside from the politics and law of it all.

    I say openly and insha Allah, no one will be too mad at me. If the Arabs wanted a Palestine, they should have taken one in 1948 or at the least before 1967 because it’s too late now. The Jews are not going to leave Jerusalem. They are not going to leave the West Bank. So I don’t know where this new state is going to come from. If the Arabs were not so much into racial purity this would have been solved a long time ago. It’s not complicated. All the Arabs need to do to capture the high groung is simply demand FULL Israeli citizenship. There is really only one state in the region. The two state idea stems from the fact that the Jews and Arabs there are such racist that they refuse to live together. If my Palestinian brothers dropped their racist ways for two seconds, they could eventually become a part of Israel. That means of course that everyone has to stop the violence and live in peace with people who are not your tribe and who pray differently. But right now, the racism and the two state idea is only providing cover for the Israelis to steal land.

    I for one am not going to stand with bad Arab politics in the name of Islam. If the Arabs steal religiously neutral democracy from the West as their position on the middle east, that is their only hope of shaking America’s relationship with Israel. As long as the Arabs insist on a pure Arab state, they not only will never get a full state, but in the meantime, their position is weak enough that the right wingers in Israel are having a field day killing Muslims and stealing land. True compassion is to drop the two state nonsense and for the Palestinians to demand full citizenship in the state of Israel. That also means we no long dream of “driving them into the sea.” Jews and Muslims should live side by side in peace. Ishaq and Ismael were brothers. The racist ideas of purity are what is keeping this thing going and I for one and not for maintaining fights based on racism.

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    • Salaam alaikoum

      Is there a reason why I constantly read “arab” in your text? We do not see the palestinians as arabs, we see them as muslims. My first and foremost connection to the is our deen. Cause I’m a berber from morocco myself and thus would have zero connection to them if they were not muslims.
      As Allah(swt) says: Verily the believers are brothers.
      Just to clear that point inshallah.

      Second I completely dissagree with your argumentation about those kids and telling them that they had different priorities. This is not an old people’s fight. This is our fight. Time to forget the previous generation. They were tried by this tribulation from Allah and Allah will judge their behaviour. Now that same tribulation has been passed to us and we now have to deal with it.
      As Allah(swt) says: For it (is only) that which it hath earned, and against it (only) that which it hath deserved.

      Third, what we should learn by now is that we will not, never receive any signifant progress by going to instutions like the VN etc. There is no other way than to face reality. There will be either a jewish state or a palestinian state. The two state solution is just a dream, the jews will never allow it. And frankly, nor should we. I still do not see a single reason why the jews should receive a quarter of a meter of palestinian land.

      Nor are muslims people without 3izza, their honor. So we should never accept to live in a israeli state. That is pure humiliation, ever more than now the case. Even in Israël now there is a serious discrimination between the population, so how do you think the palestinians would be treated, even if they had their israeli nationality.

      So what is the reality of the matter? The reality is, and we do not like to face it because it scares us. The reality is that only war(indeed bloodshedding, killing, name it whatever you want) will settle this matter. There is no escape to this fact.

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      • Palestinians are also christian so there is nothing wrong with using arab. We should still protest since a lot of them are muslim and they are opressed.

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  21. Right to say should never be taken. Weather it’s right or wrong!!!

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  22. Assalam alaikum

    http://quran.com/99

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