ANAHEIM — Orange County Islamic leaders gathered in Anaheim over the weekend to show support for a group of college students facing criminal charges for interrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.
The so-called Irvine 11, who protested a Feb. 10, 2010, appearance by Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine, are set to be arraigned Friday in Santa Ana on misdemeanor charges that they conspired to disrupt Oren's speech and then did so. Eight of the students attend UCI; three attend UC Riverside.
The students "are passionate; they are caring and deeply believe in social justice," said Arif Shaikh, who moderated a Saturday-night panel at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, where religious leaders and political activists called on Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas to drop the charges.