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CAIR, Coalition to Testify at Maryland Hearings on Anti-Free Speech Bills 

CAIR-logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/4/14) — Later this week, the Maryland outreach office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will provide testimony for Maryland General Assembly hearings on controversial bills designed to limit free speech on state college and university campuses. The bills, SB 647 and HB 998, contain language that would restrict student groups at public colleges and universities from supporting boycotts of foreign countries like Israel by limiting funds to these institutions.

A broad-based coalition consisting of Jewish Voice for Peace, CAIR, Free State Free Speech, ACLU-MD, National Lawyers Guild, Montgomery County Coalition for Civil Rights, Defending Dissent, Students for Justice in Palestine, Center for Constitutional Rights, Peace Action Montgomery, and others will provide testimony in opposition to these bills at both hearings. Also testifying will be professors from Catholic University and the University of Maryland School System.

WHAT: Committee Hearings on Anti-Free Speech Bills SB647 and HB998
WHEN: March 5, at 2:30 p.m. and March 6, at 1 p.m.
WHERE: March 5 – MD State Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, 3 West, Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD
March 6 – Maryland House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, Room 121, House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD
CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Office Representative Zainab Chaudry,, (410) 971-6062

“Regardless of whether we oppose or support governmental policies of foreign countries, boycotts historically have long been recognized as a successful method of non-violent protest,” said CAIR Maryland Outreach Office Representative Zainab Chaudry. “This legislation would prohibit free speech and peaceful protest – both, rights that are protected under the First Amendment.”

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recently published a statement in opposition of similar bills that were introduced in New York. The AAUP statement concluded, “Academic freedom is meaningless if it does not protect those who support unpopular positions, including the advocacy of academic boycotts.”

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR Maryland Outreach Office Representative Zainab Chaudry,, (410) 971-6062; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper,, (202) 744-7726

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