Friday, April 5, 2013

"Irvine 11" : Lawbreaking Has its Rewards

Convicted in court

Osama Shabaik is one of the members of the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union (MSU) who disrupted the speech of the Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, back in February 2010 (I was present in the audience.) He and others were subsequently convicted for their actions in an Orange County court and given probation. Now Shabaik, who has moved on to Harvard Law School, has been given a scholarship by something called the Islamic Scholarship Fund.

Last May, during the MSU's annual week of anti-Israel events, four of these ex-students returned to UCI and basked in the glow of admiration from current MSU members. One of them was Shabaik, who opined that one reason he was probably admitted to Harvard was the fact that the dean recognized his name in the application pile from his participation in the disruption. He and the others proudly proclaimed that Oren should not enjoy the same level of free speech that they were enjoying because he was "a war criminal".  They said they would do it again if Oren returned.

If Harvard Law School and the Islamic Scholarship Fund had awarded Shabaik admittance and a scholarship respectively on the basis that he had apologized for his act and deserved a second chance, that would be one thing. If they are doing so because of what Shabaik did, then it speaks volumes about both institutions.

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