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UC Irvine shortens but won't lift campus ban on Muslim group, students say

September 3, 2010 | 12:48 pm

The suspension of a Muslim student group at UC Irvine was upheld Friday by university officials, but the recommended yearlong ban was cut in half, the Muslim group announced, meaning the group will be able to begin participating in campus activities in December.

The Muslim Student Union was appealing the campus ban that was handed down earlier this summer following a protest by several students during a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

The union has maintained that it did not organize the protest, though many of its officers and members participated.

In maintaining the suspension, the university relied on that participation, which it said made the appearance of the student union's endorsement for the protest difficult to overcome, said Reem Salahi, the group's attorney.

The group will be on probation until December 2012. The university has yet to comment.

During a news conference Friday, Muslim Student Union representatives continued to maintain that the suspension amounts to collective punishment. Incoming union Vice President Hadeer Soliman said members have received hate mail and endured personal attacks as a result of the ban.

Given what she described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim hate in the country, Soliman said the suspension sends "the wrong message at the wrong time."

-- Raja Abdulrahim