A Muslim group Sunday criticized Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas for filing misdemeanor charges against 11 Muslim students who disrupted a speech by an Israeli ambassador at UC Irvine.
The students -- eight from UCI and three from UC Riverside -- disrupted a speech Feb. 8, 2010, at UCI by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.
The District Attorney's Office filed charges of misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting and misdemeanor disturbance of a meeting, said Susan Kang Schroeder, the office's chief of staff.
"This case is being filed because there was an organized attempt to squelch the speaker, who was invited to speak to a group at UCI," Rackauckas said.
"These defendants meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting. This is a clear violation of the law and failing to bring charges against this conduct would amount to a failure to uphold the Constitution."
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement today saying, "We are appalled that the office of District Attorney Rackauckas is bringing criminal charges against the `Irvine 11' students, who nonviolently and verbally protested a university-invited speaker. The students left the event peacefully and willingly, and Ambassador Oren was able to complete his speech.
....Prosecutors say Mohamad Mohy-Eldeen Abdelgany, 23, who was president of the MSU at UCI, met with other members of the organization on Feb. 2, 2010, to discuss how to respond to Oren's speech.
The full group met the next day after Abdelgany sent members an e-mail saying, "We will be staging a University of Chicago-style disruption of the ambassador's speech," according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors also allege Abdelgany sent an e-mail to the group's governing board and three other defendants saying "to the outside," the protest should be viewed as one done by individual students, not the MSU, to stymie UCI officials in case they "come after MSU."
Each defendant allegedly stood up one after the other to shout, "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not free speech," and other declarations such as "Michael Oren you are a war criminal."
Rackauckas in his statement, "We cannot tolerate having a group deciding to prevent a speaker from speaking, an audience from listening, and the speaker and the audience from engaging in an exchange of ideas in the form of questions and answers."
Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:32 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Answer by brandyj at 1:48 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Answer by brandyj at 2:06 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
I am a firm believer in free speech, but even speech is limited. You can not yell fire in a crowded room, and you can not use your freedoms to override others freedoms. As much as I hate the group I would even stand up for Westboro's and their right to protest because that is free speech, but if they went inside the churches where the funerals where than they are now trying to take the rights away from others. This group should have kept the protest outside.
Answer by Alanaplus3 at 2:11 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
I think they should have kept the protest out side. Once they went into the meeting they where imposing on other peoples rights.
Answer by Alanaplus3 at 1:41 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Answer by itsmesteph11 at 2:52 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
They should have picketed outside if they needed to voice their opposition.
Answer by mustbeGRACE at 3:25 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Answer by Farmlady09 at 7:32 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Answer by UpSheRises at 4:44 PM on Feb. 15, 2011
Sounds like the tea baggers
Sounds like the new (old) civility PBO has called for. Why the name calling, sweet? Oh, someone disagreed with you.
If there is a statute on the books, and they broke that statute, they should be charged.
Answer by jesse123456 at 6:16 PM on Feb. 15, 2011