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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Monday, June 14, 2010

Muslim Student Union banned on UCI campus

By Leanne Suter

Religious rivalry has turned into a free-speech issue at University of California-Irvine. The school has been investigating the Muslim Student Union after a protest at a speech by the Israeli ambassador earlier this year. Monday, the school announced its findings.

Both sides call the university's decision to ban the Muslim Student Union unprecedented, but for very different reasons.

Video of the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren's February speech at the University of California-Irvine posted on YouTube shows hecklers in action. Eleven students, all of them members of the Muslim Student Union of UCI, were arrested after repeated warnings to stop disrupting the speech.

After a month-long investigation by the university, the MSU has been banned from campus for a year and placed on disciplinary probation for another year.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations calls the controversial and unprecedented action "heavy-handed."

"What they would be doing is sending a very wrong message that will stifle free speech, not only at UCI but probably on campuses around the country," said Hussam Ayloush, Southern California executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

MSU is appealing the decision. UCI will not comment on the ban or the appeal, saying it is a private and privileged process.

The Jewish Federation Orange County says the university took the right course of action.

"This wasn't a free-speech issue for them. This was a free speech for the Israeli ambassador who couldn't talk because of the coordinated attack," said Shalom Elcott, president of the Jewish Federation Orange County...

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