BREAKING: CAIR Wins Landmark First Amendment Victory Striking Down Texas Anti-BDS Law

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/25/19) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today welcomed this afternoon’s landmark victory in CAIR’s First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of Bahia Amawi, the Texas speech language pathologist who lost her job because she refused to sign a “No Boycott of Israel” clause. 

The CAIR Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit in December 2018 challenging Texas Anti-BDS Act, H.B. 89.  CAIR actively challenges similar measures around the country, including in Arizona and Maryland.

SEECAIR Files Motion to Enjoin Texas Anti-BDS Act as Unconstitutional

This afternoon Judge Pitman of the Western District of Texas issued a 56-page opinion striking down H.B. 89, the Texas Anti-BDS Act, as facially unconstitutional.

READ: The Judge’s Opinion

The Court held that the Texas Anti-BDS Act “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate” on Israel and Palestine “through coercion rather than persuasion.”  The Court concluded: “This the First Amendment does not allow.”

Every single “No Boycott of Israel” clause in every single state contract in Texas has today been stricken as unconstitutional.  The Attorney General of Texas is no longer permitted to include or enforce “No Boycott of Israel” clauses in any state contract.

Bahia Amawi can also now return to work as a speech language pathologist.  Amawi received the news of her victory while driving, and pulled over to the side of the road to shed tears of joy. “God is great,” she exclaimed.

“We thank our legal team for this major victory and we thank the community for supporting this work,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

“We’re gearing up for the fights in the other 26 states where anti-BDS laws have been passed and we are certain that we are on the right side of the constitution and history.”

“Arabic-speaking schoolchildren in Texas have been deprived of critical services from Bahia Amawi for almost this entire schoolyear because of this unconstitutional law,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri.  “Today we welcome a victory for the First Amendment.”

“This is a complete victory of the First Amendment against Texas’s attempts to suppress speech in support of Palestine,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas.  “More importantly, it’s a complete victory for all Texans, to engage in political speech without government censorship.”

“The First Amendment blocks any effort by state governments or the federal government from forcing their citizens to take sides in the widespread international debate about the relationship between Israel and Palestine,” said CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer.  “This is a lesson all public servants should remember when considering Anti-BDS measures around the country.”

“Bahia Amawi has been an inspiration to the Muslim community and all advocates for free speech in Texas,” said CAIR-Austin Executive Director Maira Sheikh.

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.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-642-4934 , lmasri@cair.com; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, gabbas@cair.com; CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer, 202-516-4724, chomer@cair.com; Maira Sheikh, CAIR-Austin Executive Director, 512-785-7105, msheikh@cair.com  


Showing 10 reactions

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  • Danni Martin
    commented 2019-05-03 12:32:46 -0400
    No biggie, it will be overturned on appeal. Good and right justice will prevail.
  • Yousef Fakhri
    commented 2019-04-29 13:02:28 -0400
    Bravo Texans and hail the just judge bravo CAIR and Cheers to Bahia who fought back
  • Khaled Slayyeh
    commented 2019-04-28 01:15:14 -0400
    God bless CAIR efforts to striving to defend civil rights of all citizens.
    I would also to thank the judge for standing with justice
  • Mike Dean
    commented 2019-04-27 09:30:59 -0400
    That’s really fantastic news! Congratulations! I too lost a contract with a college in TX for refusing to sign that shameful pledge to Israel. Never believed it was constitutional. Let’s hope Senator Rubio fails to pass his federal version.
  • Ola Abed
    commented 2019-04-27 04:25:57 -0400
    So proud of CAIR for the victory today against the anti-BDS law of the State of Texas.
    The law is declared to be unconstitutional
  • Kashef Zayed
    commented 2019-04-27 02:05:03 -0400
    Victory to the basic human rights in the country! All free men and women should raise their voices against injustice.
  • Khalil Ahmad
    commented 2019-04-27 00:28:44 -0400
    BDS is the right of Palestinian and American to defend third right of free speech against Zionist’s Opression.
  • Rafik Beekun
    commented 2019-04-26 19:16:38 -0400
    Fabulous news. The US is not a third world banana republic where one can infringe upon the Constitution at will. It’s high time that any state law that limits or constrains the First Amendment be struck down.
  • Ali Jalal
    commented 2019-04-25 23:16:31 -0400
    Great news. More power to Bahia, CAIR, and all activists who seek freedom and justice.
    Ali Jawhar
  • Aref Assaf
    commented 2019-04-25 20:09:40 -0400
    Absolutely terrific new. And Now all States that were forced to pass similar laws must quickly act to nullify the anti-BDS anti US Constitution laws.