April 7, 2010
E-mails allege Muslim students orchestrated Irvine disruption
The Muslim Student Union at the University of California, Irvine, orchestrated the disruption of a Feb. 8 speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, leaked e-mails indicate.
Muslim Student Union representatives repeatedly had claimed that the disruption, which made national headlines and provoked an academic disciplinary process that is still ongoing, had been the impetus of students acting individually. Eleven students were arrested for disrupting Oren’s speech.
The revelation about the e-mails was published Wednesday by the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism. The group said the e-mails, which were leaked anonymously to both university officials and local law enforcement, demonstrate that the student union not only helped organize the disruptions, but counseled students to assert that they had acted on their own.
In an e-mail to the Muslim Student Union board dated Feb. 6, union president Mohamed Abdelgany described the union’s “game plan” for the Oren speech, including a call for “disruptors.” Later in the e-mail, Abdelgany, who was himself arrested during the Oren speech, laid out the plan for the event itself, which he said would involve “disrupting it throughout the whole time” if possible. Abdelgany also allegedly cautioned disruptors to be loud and firm, but not not lose their composure. “Remember,” he wrote, “that this is a planned/calculated response.”
Representatives of the Muslim Student Union and of the advocacy group Stand with the Eleven did not immediately respond to requests for comment.