Is ‘Irvine 11’ case a travesty of justice against Muslims or justice served? you can heckle high ranking government officials, but if you heckle an Israeli diplomat you will be prosecuted. These are Americans exercising their freedoms. This is a democracy not a dictatorship.” After an investigation, the university discovered that the protest was planned by the UCI Muslim Student Union. The university suspended the MSU, disciplined the students in question and passed the case along to Rackauckas. Here’s where the case gets caught up in legal niceties, with, ironically, both sides claiming censorship. The Irvine 11 claimed they were merely exercising their constitutional rights, while the prosecution, and free speech experts such as Dean of UCI Law Erwin Chemerinsky, said that the First Amendment does not protect behavior that infringes on other people’s rights. The “Irvine 11,” the University of California, Irvine, students charged with two counts of disturbing a public meeting and conspiracy to disturb a public meeting. The students were found guilty and have appealed the court decision.
the Guardian with additional reporting by marium f. mohiuddin
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The “Irvine 11,” the 11 students who were charged with two counts of disturbing a public meeting and conspiracy to disturb a public meeting at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), are at the
Kena Sosa, Dr. Zubair Fattani, Sakina Al-Amin, Halima Shaheed, Naeem Randhawa, Maryum Shaheed, Sonia Laflamme, Anum Hussain, Ruqayyah Khalifa, Komal Khan, Omar Usman, “Hazrat” Amin, Hassan Usmani, Jamal Saqib, Yasmin Turk, Robert Canright, Dr. Keisha Shaheed, Moazzam Ahmed, Shaheen Salam, John Reid, Abdul Wadoud.
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center of a national discussion over free speech, but their case should never have been taken to court. Two weeks ago, the Orange County judge Peter Wilson put an end to a UCI legal saga that had all the hallmarks of a court drama: police, free speech, protests and Middle Eastern politics. The bad news: As of approximately 2 p.m. on Sept. 24, 10 of the “Irvine 11” students now have criminal records for disrupting a speech. The good news: It could have been worse. The students faced jail time and ended with sentences of community service and fines instead. But while 56 hours of community service is a relief compared to a year behind bars, it’s a shame that District Attorney Tony Rackauckas saw the need to prosecute in the first place — after the university had already punished the students. Let’s rewind. In February 2010, 11 students at UC Irvine were arrested for disrupting a speech on U.S.-Israeli relations given by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren. The students — now labeled the Irvine 11, though charges against one were dropped — interrupted Oren’s speech and accused him of “propagating murder” and being “an accomplice to genocide” before being escorted out of the building by police. “It’s a sad day for democracy when nonviolent protestors are criminalized by their government and are found guilty for exercising a constitutional right,” said Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC President. “You can heckle the President,
According to Rackauckas, the person censored in the Irvine 11 case was not any of the students, but Oren himself. There are methods of protesting that don’t silence the person speaking, but the students interrupted Oren’s speech to the point where he was unable to continue. Given this, evidence of MSU emails planning the event and video of UCI officials pleading with the students, it’s not surprising that the jury decided on a guilty verdict. In the aftermath of the verdict, defense attorney Lisa Holder has announced plans to appeal, according to the Jewish Journal, but the heart of the issue is not necessarily the inns and outs of the First Amendment but the, as Chemerinsky told the Los Angeles Times, “terrible mistake” of prosecuting the case. Yes, the students definitely broke university protocol and probably crossed a line. Yes, it may be debatable whether they are protected under free speech. But the decision to prosecute them is an example of inconsistency that hurts everyone. UCI administrators had already punished the students and their organization, so there was little need to escalate the consequences. Many college students continually take actions that would technically be labeled a misdemeanor in court, but because their cases don’t involve high-profile politicians and highly controversial issues, they don’t become a lesson in not crossing important people. Ultimately, there’s little to be gained for anyone in the decision to pursue the case and the decision to burden a bunch of 20-somethings with criminal records for life.
Briefs . . .
ACTOR SEAN PENN JOINS PROTEST IN TAHRIR SQUARE U.S. actor Sean Penn joined thousands of Egyptian activists who packed downtown Cairo on Friday, Sept. 30, demanding that military rulers speed up the transfer of power to civilians and end emergency laws once used by former President Hosni Mubarak against his opponents. Egypt’s first parliamentary elections since the ouster of Mubarak will begin on Nov. 28, the country’s military rulers said in an announcement greeted with little fanfare by activists who have grown deeply suspicious of the generals’ commitment to change. The military council, which took over from Mubarak as he stepped down in February, promised it would transfer power to civilian rule within six months, but no date was announced for presidential elections that would bring an end to military rule. PARK 51 ISLAMIC CENTER OPENS TO NO PROTESTS The proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York caused outrage when it was announced two years ago. Now days after the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the facility opened last night to no opposition. People flocked to lower Manhattan to attend the opening of the first exhibit at the Islamic center at 51 Park Place. Only two blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood in New York City, the facility, named Park51, has garnered protests since it was first announced. After two years in the making, though, last night’s opening went off without a hitch. A photography exhibit showcasing the children of New York of various ethnicities was the first installation made public at the center. Traditional Middle Eastern music filled the halls as crowds gathered to take in the sights last night. And while the facility received criticism at first, it has so far managed to overcome the naysayers and hopes to continue to provide for all people of New York. While the media has often misrepresented the facility as a mosque, or Islamic house of worship, the developer Sharif El-Gamal said he modeled the building after a Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that he, a Muslim, would often attend with his son. His own facility does contain a prayer center, but also hosts instructional classes in yoga and martial arts and discussion groups. Eventually El-Gamal hopes to include a gymnasium, swimming pool and other nondenominational entities. El-Gamal acknowledges that the public has been weary of the facility and still questions the merit behind opening an Islamic-centric center only blocks from where extremists killed thousands a decade earlier. Speaking to the AP, the developer says there indeed has been a “campaign against Muslims” since the project began. “It is ridiculous that Park51 tries to say this is anything but a mosque,” Martin Mawyer, president of the Christian Action Network, tells FrontPage. “Churches have gyms, classes and other facilities as part of their buildings, and they could never get away with saying it is anything but a church,”
Anwar Al-Awlaki’s Are you destroying death sparks debate your financial future? bashar qasem azzad asset management
The other day I got a call from a frustrated client who said “The only thing the stock market does is fall. Everything is going down. The world’s economies are collapsing. So, I’ve made up my mind. Sell everything. Put everything in Gold.” Sound familiar? During extremely volatile periods for the markets, investors often make decisions that can undermine their ability to build long-term wealth. Here are three things to keep in mind and, help guide you through the up and down markets.
jaweed kaleem huffington post The U.S.-led killing in Yemen of al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. born imam who was known for his Internet videos preaching violent jihad and his influence on homegrown American terrorists, has highlighted disagreements among Muslim-American leaders when to comes to the war on terrorism. In the decade since 9/11, it's become customary for mosques and Islamic organizations to come out strongly against terrorists when plots against the U.S. are foiled or when terrorists are caught, such as when Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May. As surveys, including one from the Pew Research Center last month, continue to show that many Muslim Americans and the broader American public believe Muslim leaders don't condemn terrorism enough, formal denouncements and press conferences at Islamic centers have become a common part of the Muslim-American landscape. But when news broke Friday of alAwlaki's death, the reaction among Islamic organizations was far from unified or entirely supportive of the U.S. government's role in his demise. The death has also raised a theological debate about when killing another human is justified. “It is revealing that in his own backyard of the Middle East, Al-Awlaki’s message was irrelevant with the Yemeni people,” said Salam Al-Marayati, the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s President. “Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the people of Yemen have bravely attempted to unshackle themselves from the iron grip of a dictator. The actions of the Yemeni people have buried al-Qaeda’s ideology even before Al-Awlaki’s death.” The death of al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and had served as an imam at mosques in Denver, San Diego and Northern Virginia before leaving for London in 2002 and later moving to Yemen, was also carefully addressed
by officials at Dar Al-Hijrah, the Falls Church, Va., mosque where he was imam from January 2001 to April 2002. "Upon the death of a person the Qur'an teaches us to say, 'innallilahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon,' translated 'from God we come and to God is our return,' " said imam Johari Abdul-Malik of Dar Al-Hijrah. The imam cautioned that Muslims "do not accept violence nor extremism and recommit ourselves to our message living our faith in peace," but added that he questioned "extra-judicial assassination of any human being and especially an American citizen, which includes Al-Awlaki." When Bin Laden was killed, Abdul-Malik blogged that "I guess I should be happy," but cautioned that "violence only begets violence." Dawud Walid, the executive director of CAIR-Michigan, echoed the sentiment about killing a man born in the U.S. “It’s a scary proposition that the executive branch would kill an American citizen who is not on the battlefield and who was not even indicted on one criminal charge,” he said. “We have taken a very clear position about violent extremism and Mr. Awlaki’s rhetoric, but we have to say things at times that may be considered unpopular by some in the broader public. What are the limits and who is next?” The killing of al-Awlaki and bin Laden has pulled some Muslims into a theological debate over how to deal with terrorists. Walid said he looks to Surat Al-Ma’idah, a portion of the Quran, for guidance. “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do,” the Quran says. AL-AWLAKI continues on page 11 >>
Recognize that down days are normal.
“History provides a crucial insight regarding market crises: They are inevitable, painful, and ultimately surmountable,” said he legendary investor, Shelby M.C. Davis. This year’s roller coaster ride make it feel as if the only thing the markets do is fall. Although the 100year period from 2000-2009 was a historical rarity, the market’s historical trend has been positive. In the 41-year period through 2010, the S&P 500 was down an average 119 times a year, or 47% of all trading days. During that same AZZAD continues on page 11 >>
Women reacto to Saudi’s new voting rights fahad faruqui the washington post Erum al-Howaish, like many young women from conservative Saudi Arabia, expects King Abdullah’s watershed decision last Sunday to allow women to vote and run in elections to be the start of a new phase of women’s rights reforms. The 21-year-old politics student in London reacted with jubilation at the king’s decree, which will allow women to take seats in the Shura Council, which advises the monarchy.
rights this year against a backdrop of popular unrest in many countries across the Arab world, where protesters succeeded in unseating dictators in Tunisia and Egypt. While many women received the news with delight, they also pointed to its limitations, noting that the Shura Council has not had an influence on government policy. Nonetheless, it’s a change that brings hope to many Saudi women.
“The king’s realizing that the women’s voices are vital in the political process means a lot to me,” said al-Howaish, who broke into tears after reading the news on Twitter while grocery shopping.
“We’re celebrating the symbolic meaning of it, but it doesn’t really affect our day-today lives,” said Eman al-Nafjan, a blogger in Riyadh, who learned about the move from a friend. “It’s not that women are being allowed to drive, nor is it relaxing the guardianship system a bit, which would affect an average Saudi woman.”
Women in the kingdom, the world’s biggest oil exporter, have been rallying for greater
Implementing change in favor of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia will be an uphill
battle, as reformers face steep opposition from numerous right-wing Islamic clerics who uphold the validity of blocking women’s access to public life so much so that they are against women’s fitness, the lifting of the ban on women driving, and the ability for women to move without the permission of male guardians.
Within hours of the decree announcement, Dr. Mohammed al-Habdan, a right-wing religious cleric, tweeted that “the majority of clerics” regard women’s participation in the Shura Council as haram. The king’s speech was carefully worded, while quoting the most baffling interpretation of Islamic law, to ensure that conservatives understand that his decision comes after consultation with religious clerics and is aligned with the rights given to women in Islam. “We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society in every field of work,” said Abdullah, addressing the all-male Shura council. “Women have the right to submit their candidacy for municipal Council membership and have the right to take part in submitting candidates in accordance with Sharia.” With two religious interpretations of the same issue, one starts to wonder who is correct and who is not. It is important to understand the mindset suspicious of “modernity” juxtaposed to the Saudi traditions, which are often rooted in tribal traditions, but are deemed synonymous with the religious code. The long attempt to subdue women’s independence is not founded in the tussle between men and women, as alNafjan explains, but rather the dichotomy between the conservatives, or Wahabbis, and the so called Western-minded liberals. “The ultra-conservatives are people who follow the principal that tradition is a possible source for Sharia,” said al-Nafjan. The Saudi heritage overrides the rights women cherished after the inception of Islam. Women have accompanied Prophet Mohammed in war, and women had the liberty to voice their views and interact with men in the marketplace. Following the prophet’s footsteps, the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab entrusted Shifa’ bint ‘AbdAllah with the sensitive post of supervisor whose duties required ensuring that the busy market of Medina was free of corruption. Women participated in politics in most majority-Muslim countries today. The reason why a reformist, prowomen’s rights monarch cannot bring real change is perhaps due to the threat of WOMEN continues on page 11 >>
To trick or to treat - that is the question Nausheena ahmed altmuslimah Growing up in the West, there are few holiday traditions that Muslim kids share with their classmates. They do not participate in the, “Whatcha get from Santa?” discussions or “What did the Easter Bunny bring you?” conversations. After Halloween, though, I remember being in the thick of the candy bartering sessions, and I wanted my children to enjoy the same sense of belonging and participation. But my three children all attended an Islamic school and it never occurred to me that the school may view Halloween as anything but innocuous fun. Halloween was a big deal in my life. For weeks before Oct. 31, my friends and I plotted the best neighborhood routes to maximize candy retrieval. I had wanted these same good times for my children. My first clue to the contrary was the information sheet that came home in their backpacks outlining the holiday’s pagan origins. My second hint was the sign that read, “We Do Not Celebrate Halloween. Please Do Not Ring Our Bell” designed and decorated in the students’ art class. I had trick or treated a few years past
when I should have stopped and not once did I contemplate the arrival of this day. Even in my teens Halloween stood for free candy not worshipping Satan. Hence, the dilemma – I had chosen to enroll my children in this Islamic school and loved the school’s mission and ideals but what to do when their philosophy and mine clashed?
Nov. 1 if they had been out the night before. Decision time. Abandon what we deemed harmless fun or succumb to the peer pressure of our Islamic school? As I was in the midst of mother angst my middle child had a solution. He said without skipping a beat, “Mom, I’ll lie when they ask me tomorrow.” Perfect – my love of Snickers had sent my children directly on the path to Hell.
My genius plan, derived after much discussion with my husband, sister and friends, was to trick or treat in secret. It would be dark and the kids would be in costume, who would know? And for a few years we got away with it. In the mornings the kids dutifully made the signs in school and in the evenings we headed to Target to browse the costume aisles. The memories of tramping through the autumn darkness with my friends, the sight of my two boys in matching Power Ranger costumes and the reality of all that chocolate in my home drowned out the inconvenient fact that I was sending my children a mixed message.
The maternal angst was out in tsunami form. Lying was not an option. So we gave the kids a choice – go trick or treating but own up to the action in school or stay home on the night of Oct. 31 and give an honest answer to the Arabic teacher the following morning. After some angst of their own and some pleading in favor of the fibbing option the kids all chose
Then one year, a much feared Arabic teacher at the school announced that she would ask each child on
to go out. For all our hand wringing, the teacher forgot to ask the dreaded question the next day. But the kids had taken their stand, and we had had the discussion I had been avoiding. I wanted for my children to heed the school’s strictures about the Qur’an and Islam but to understand that while we loved their school, we did not agree with everything the institution taught. Years removed from that decision no one has headed into therapy…so far. We now spend our Halloweens with two other Muslim families, going from house to house in my neighborhood and loading the children’s bags with candy. Then all three families enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. My kids are happy spending the evening with friends and making their own memories and they are reassured that they are not the only Muslims who go out on Halloween to celebrate Skittles and Snickers.
11 WOMEN continued from page 8 >>
rebellion from members of the right-wing, who hold traditions as sacred and consider themselves the keepers of religious virtue. “The government is taking baby steps,” said al-Howaish. “They are trying to satisfy both factions of the society.” The kingdom recently celebrated its 81st anniversary and it has a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights. Al-Nafjan pointed out that Saudi Arabia abolished slavery only five decades ago, and that the Saudi people started to see the world beyond its “traditions” when satellite TV, which remained taboo until the turn of the millennium, was introduced in early ‘90s. Despite the sustained opposition over the past several years toward any measure that favors women’s rights, Saudi women are confident the king’s move is setting the stage for more reforms. It may seem too little, too late, but like many other Saudi women, Deema alJaber believes this edict is only a prelude for relaxing many other restrictions that marginalize Saudi women. In an interview in Arabic, al-Jaber quoted Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel: “Our generation is not a problem to be solved,
FEATURE AZZAD continued from page 5 >>
The other day I got a call from a frustrated client who said “The only thing the stock market does is fall. Everything is going down. The world’s economies are collapsing. So, I’ve made up my mind. Sell everything. Put everything in Gold.” Sound familiar? During extremely volatile periods for the markets, investors often make decisions that can undermine their ability to build long-term wealth. Here are three things to keep in mind and, help guide you through the up and down markets. Recognize that down days are normal. “History provides a crucial insight regarding market crises: They are inevitable, painful, and ultimately surmountable,” said he legendary investor, Shelby M.C. Davis. This year’s roller coaster ride make it feel as if the only thing the markets do is fall. Although the 100year period from 20002009 was a historical rarity, the market’s historical trend has been positive. In the 41-year period through 2010, the S&P 500 was down an average 119 times a year, or 47% of all trading days. During that same period, the S&P 500 finished positive in 31 out of the 41 years. Despite decades of uncertainty and economic crises, the markets continue to grow. Instead of dreading the inevitable,
use down days to take advantage of opportunities. Emotions should be left out of your investment decisions. I admit it can be hard to stick to your investment plan when that Cramer guy is screaming doomsday, the stock tickers are all in red and everyone is telling you to buy gold (or energy stocks, real estate, technology stocks — whatever happens to be fashionable at the moment). The person you should be listening to is Warren Buffet who said, “Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” To build long-term wealth, you not only need an investment plan, you must be disciplined enough to follow it during euphoric and extremely pessimistic times. Most investors unfortunately allow their emotions to wreak havoc on their performance. From 1988-2007, the average stock fund returned 11.6% annually. On the other hand, the average stock fund investor earned only 4.5%*. Driven by fear and greed, investors lost two-thirds of their potential return! Don’t try to time the market. Instead, recognize that short-term underperformance is inevitable.
AL-AWLAKI continued from page 7 >>
But there are some Muslims who say Islam justifies the killing of al-Awlaki. “As much as he is a U.S. citizen, we are are in a state of war. He was not on U.S. soil, he was elsewhere, and he has clearly driven Americans and others to kill American citizens,” said M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy. “In a state of war, it is perfectly correct and moral to respond to that with a targeted killing. It’s no different than what we did with with Osama bin Laden. Islamic history is full of examples of just war.” Harris Zafar, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a minority Islamic sect, had a similar view. “While the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community never celebrates or enjoys the death of any human soul, we are relieved that a voice calling for the death of innocent Americans has been silenced. Public peace and safety has to be our number one priority, and anyone inciting people towards chaos, disorder and death needs to be brought to justice.” Zafar continued: “The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wants Muslims to keep in mind that Anwar al-Awlaki was not a Muslim leader. He did not represent Islam. So his death is in no way an attack against Islam.”
12 TIPS continued from page 11 >>