Archive for September 26th, 2011

Jury Finds Muslim Students Guilty of Disrupting Speech

Monday, September 26th, 2011

People may be finally waking up to, and opposing, the radical element of Islam. Let us hope that it has staying power.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Jurors found 10 Muslim students guilty Friday of disrupting a lecture by the Israeli ambassador at a California university in a case that stoked a spirited debate about free speech.

Jurors delivered the verdicts in Orange County Superior Court in the case involving a speech by Ambassador Michael Oren in February 2010 at the University of California, Irvine.

The students were also convicted of conspiring to disrupt Oren’s speech.

The students were charged with misdemeanor counts after standing up, one by one, and shouting prepared statements at Oren such as “propagating murder is not an expression of free speech.”

Prosecutors say the students broke the law by interrupting Oren’s speech on U.S.-Israel relations and cutting short the program, despite calls to behave from campus officials. Defense attorneys argued the students had a right to protest.

Nearly 200 people packed the courtroom to hear closing arguments at the trial that some community members called a waste of taxpayers’ money and an effort to single out the defendants because they are Muslim.

Prosecutor Dan Wagner told jurors the students acted as censors to block the free flow of ideas and infringed upon the rights of 700 people who had gone to the Irvine campus to hear Oren.

Wagner showed video footage of university officials pleading with students to behave but said they kept interrupting the lecture. Wagner also showed emails sent among members of UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union planning the disruption and calculating who was willing to get arrested.

Original Link.

U.K. Muslims Hold Rally Against Extremism

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Well, this is refreshing. Let’s hope we see more of it.

LONDON — Thousands of Muslims held a rally in London on Saturday to fight extremism and promote a moderate, inclusive version of Islam.

The event in Wembley arena was led by Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a respected Pakistan-born Islamic scholar, who gained recognition outside the Muslim world after he published a detailed fatwa — or religious ruling — against terrorism and suicide bombings last year.

“I want to address those who are lost, who have a total misconception of jihad — I want to send them a message — come back to normal life. Whatever you’re doing is totally against Islam,” he told the audience, which included families with young children and students.

Some Islamic scholars, including Tahir-ul-Qadri, have warned that a power vacuum in North Africa and the Middle East could lead to militant and extremist groups gaining ground in upcoming elections caused by the so-called Arab Spring.

“If these elements come into power, it will be a big disaster,” Tahir-ul-Qadri told The Associated Press.

He said his message is primarily aimed at people who are on the edge of being radicalized — not those who had already been “brainwashed.”

Tahir-ul-Qadri’s organization, Minhaj-ul-Quran International, said the event was attended by some 12,000 people and was broadcast to several countries.

Members of the audience told the AP there is no easy way to persuade terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda to give up violence.

“People are looking for a cause, and the path of violence is the easiest one to take,” said Memoona Naushahi, a 20-year-old university student from Bradford in northern England. The message of the conference “may reach only people who want to hear it,” she added.

But Naushahi and others participants said that promoting a uniting voice such as Tahir-ul-Qadri’s is a step in the right direction and can spread the right message.

Original Link.