CAIR vows fight against Trump suppression of free speech at Universities
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today pledged to oppose an executive order signed by President Trump that attempts to suppress academic freedom by conflating the vile bigotry of anti-Semitism with First Amendment-protected criticism of the Israeli government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians.
CAIR chapters across the country intend to work with local allies, students and educators to protect free speech and academic freedom from the Trump administration’s use of the executive order.
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In a statement, CAIR National Deputy Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Esq. said:
“President Trump’s attempt to punish free speech on college campuses by conflating the vile bigotry of anti-Semitism with criticism of the Israeli government’s human rights abuses against Palestinians is as unconstitutional as it is offensive.
“If President Trump truly wants to confront anti-Semitism, he should start with himself and the white supremacists employed and empowered by his administration. Just days ago, President Trump once again engaged in anti-Semitism by claiming that American Jews would vote for him to protect their wealth, and that some American Jews are insufficiently loyal to Israel.
“Students, academics and universities have every legal and moral right to criticize, condemn and even boycott foreign nations that violate human rights — including the Israeli government — and we intend to do everything we can to protect academic freedom from the impact of this executive order.”
For the past several years, Congress has failed to pass the misleadingly titled “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act“ (S. 2940/H.R. 5924), which groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, American Civil Liberties Union, Arab American Institute, Palestine Legal, and other civil liberties groups have raised serious free speech concerns.
The presidential order is similar to that act insofar as it uses an overly broad definition of anti-Semitism that equates legitimate criticism of the Israeli governmental system with bigotry. The order also twists the law by declaring that Jewish identity can constitute a foreign nationality.
CAIR has a decades-long track record of denouncing bigotry in all its forms, including anti-Semitism.
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Like many other American civil and human rights groups, CAIR is concerned about the rise of hate speech and crimes across the nation and on U.S. campuses, including increased acts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.