(ATLANTA, GA - 7/19/2019) - The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis for joining Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib in the introduction of House Resolution 496, which reaffirms every American's constitutional right to engage in political boycotts.
H.R. 496 also charts the history of successful and constitutionally protected boycott movements in the United States, from the Boston Tea Party to the Civil Rights Movement to boycotts in opposition to Apartheid in South Africa.
"We thank Congressman John Lewis for reaffirming every American's constitutional right to protest injustice by engaging in boycotts, whether against businesses, organizations or foreign governments," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia.
In addition to affirming the constitutional right to boycott, H.R. 496 expresses opposition to ongoing efforts to suppress free speech.
In recent years, 27 states have adopted laws designed to punish Americans who boycott the Israeli government in protest of its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. The laws require state employees and contractors to sign a loyalty pledge in which they promise not to engage in a boycott of the Israeli government.
CAIR-Georgia is encouraging local state employees and contractors who have been impacted by the state legislature's anti-boycott law, which was signed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016, to come forward to challenge the law.
"We encourage Georgia state employees and contractors who have been forced to violate their First Amendment rights to come forward," said Murtaza Khwaja, staff attorney with CAIR-Georgia. "Georgia's anti-boycott law is just as unconstitutional as laws struck down in other states. It, too, must fall."
Federal courts have struck down anti-boycott laws in Arizona, Kansas, and Texas after First Amendment challenges by civil rights groups like CAIR, the American Civil Liberties Union.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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.
CONTACT: Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-419-6390, firstname.lastname@example.org; Staff Attorney Murtaza Khwaja, 404-419-6390, email@example.com