(Houston, TX, July 2, 2014) — The Houston, Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-TX) joins with other community members and organizations in support of Ms. Buthayna Hammad’s right to exhibit, display, and fly the Palestinian flag freely, and to express herself in the public square as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
We believe Ms. Hammad was aggressively and unfairly singled out for displaying her Palestinian flag during a soccer game at BBVA Compass stadium, although during the event other fans were allowed to freely display their international flags without incident. Further, we believe the initial statement by security staff that her flag constituted a “racial slur” reflects the primary reason for not allowing her to display her flag. We believe the so-called “security concern” was an afterthought meant to deflect attention from the security guard’s egregious behavior. This behavior in and of itself was degrading, discriminatory, and a violation of Ms. Hammad’s civil rights and liberties.
President James Madison, regarded as the principal framer of the Bill of Rights, was convinced that it faced no greater challenge than finding some means of checking “the aggressions of interested majorities on the rights of minorities and of individuals.” The U.S. Constitution and elements therein were developed to protect minorities and individual liberties from possible overreaches by the majority. The incident involving Ms. Hammad is an example of the type of civil rights protection envisioned by Madison and the founding fathers.
CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.