Posts Tagged ‘Protests’

Irvine 11

Salaamz all! I just wanted to let you all know about something that happened recently in my motherland, aka Orange County. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren came to speak at University of California Irvine (UCI). Some students from the Muslim Students’ Union decided to protest his speech, see video here:

After they left the room, these 11 students were arrested and cited because they exercised their freedom of speech and they are are now being tried for conspiracy to disrupt a meeting and disruption of a meeting. The Muslim Legal Fund of America is collecting donations to help the families pay the legal fees that accompany the trial, which is beginning in August if I’m correct. There’s more info about all of this to be found at: irvine11.com

This is such an important cause and it especially touches me because this is occurring in my home county. If you’re able to, give what you can and if you’re unable to give a financial donation,  spread the word about these students, who spoke out against injustice and even when being put on trial, stand by what they believe in.

I went to a recent event to support the Irvine 11 and I even got a really rad wristband (I actually bought like 5 to take to others as well). If any of you are Orange County residents (or even if you’re not maybe), I’m sure the UCI’s MSU is still selling them and the proceeds go to the Irvine 11’s legal fund. Also, become a fan of irvine11 on Facebook to get updates about fundraisers and court dates so you can come out and support these guys.



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In May 2011, there were again protests in Orange County. In Anaheim, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi was receiving an award from the Orange County Human Relations Commission for the interfaith work he has done in Orange County. Protesters were accusing him of being connected with terrorism and wanting to implement Sharia Law in the US…..Sigh. Really? Again, Orange County?

By now, most of the Muslim community in the United States has seen the disgusting video of the protests in Orange County:

People give me the pity look when I tell them, “Yes, I’m from that place,” “No, not everyone is like that,” “Yes, I know the city where it occurred.” I used to get annoyed about the questions about The O.C. and The Real Housewives of Orange County  (I’ll admit I watch this religiously) but now I almost welcome them. So as a proud, lifetime resident of Orange County, here’s what I have to say:

Yes, I was disgusted and outraged by what happened. As a Muslim, I felt attacked and as an OC resident, I was ashamed. However, after the protests occurred, many OC residents united and went to protests, joined coalitions, and wrote letters to denounce the actions and words of the people at the protests. I went to a Yorba Linda City Council meeting where not only did Muslims speak but also other community members, including the Japanese American Citizens’ League, who voiced concern over the similarity between the discrimination their community suffered during and after WWII and the discrimination that the Muslim community is currently enduring. The Interfaith Witnesses of Orange County along with the Orange County Human Relations Commission stood by Dr. Siddiqi through these recent allegations.

As for me, I’m proud of where I’m from and I still love OC. However, I’m NOT saying that there still isn’t some discomfort around Muslims in OC, there is. How is it that when I walked towards a mosque and passed by a group of people outside their house, I was able to smile and say, “Hola, como estan?” and get a smile and similar response, but when I walked back wearing the hijab I had on for Jummah, I couldn’t even get one of the group to look at me in the eye? This is an issue still needs to be addressed, not only in OC, but in all of the US.

So in conclusion, I hope others do not let things like these past protests muddle their views of Orange County. A few extremists cannot stand as a representation of a whole community. Sound familiar?

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