The Muslim Legal Fund of America hosted its weekly show, “The Show About Justice” with Ayman Taleb, the host and Outreach Director at MLFA. This show is held Tuesdays at 5pm Central, and can be streamed on Facebook Live. The Muslim Legal Fund of America is a charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons, and communities.
In this episode, Ayman spoke with Taher Herzallah, who reflected on his experience as one of the “Irvine 11.” The Irvine 11 were eleven Muslim students who were targeted and taken to court for disrupting a talk held by Michael Oren, the ambassador of Israel to the United States, on the UC Irvine campus. When asked why he protested the event, and why he didn’t ignore it, Taher said, “we couldn’t ignore it.” He and others had just returned from a recent delegation to Gaza in 2009 where they first hand witnessed the destruction in Gaza.
Now, ten years after the case, Taher Herzallah is the Associate Director of American Muslims for Palestine, and coordinates AMP’s grassroots organizing, national coalition building, and chapter building. He helps set up programs and activities related to educating communities on Palestine, and he helps Palestine student organizations gather funding, support, and protection for their projects. He has written for Al-Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, and Islamicity.
The Irvine 11 case sparked a national debate around the understanding of freedom of speech, and a deeper discussion on the double standards for active Muslims who advocate for the Palestinian cause.
Host Ayman memorably stated, “The US constitution applies to American Muslims, too. We should not fear exercising our rights. We shouldn’t be suspected, or treated differently, due to our faith ethnicity, or national origin. We don’t want special treatment, we want equal treatment – nothing more, nothing less.”