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CAIR Decries Maine College Labeling Pro-Palestinian Activism as Hate Crime, Welcomes AG’s Decision Not to Proceed with Probe

(WASHINGTON D.C., 6/11/2021) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, today decried the labeling of pro-Palestinian messages as anti-Semitic hate crimes by the Maine’s Bates College administration and Lewiston, Maine, police. CAIR also welcomed the decision of the Maine Attorney General’s office not to pursue a hate crime investigation. 

On May 10, the Bates Leftist Coalition, a student political organization, posted images of pro-Palestinian chalk drawings to their Instagram. The administration condemned the drawings as anti-Semitic, and contacted Lewiston police to investigate the chalking, which were then referred to the Maine Attorney General’s office as a hate crime. The attorney general’s office did not proceed with an investigation. 

SEE: Pro-Palestine activism branded as ‘antisemitic hate crimes’ by Bates admin, police

“The attempt by the Bates College administration and Lewiston police to silence legitimate criticism of Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes is unacceptable,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We welcome the decision of the Maine Attorney General’s office not to pursue a hate crime investigation of this incident, and we call on leaders and law enforcement across the country to uphold the First Amendment rights of everyone to voice their support for the Palestinian people.” 

CAIR has previously opposed attempts to suppress criticism of Israel on college campuses.

SEE: CAIR Pledges to Counter Trump’s Unconstitutional Attempt to Silence Campus Criticism of Israeli Human Rights Abuses

CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter has called on the USC administration to protect the free speech of students criticizing Israel and Zionism.

SEE: CAIR-LA Calls on USC Administration to Protect Free Speech and Free Exchange of Ideas on Campus

CAIR Arizona has opposed legislation seeking to criminalize criticism of Israel.

SEE: CAIR-Arizona Action Alert: Oppose Proposed Legislation Attempting to Criminalize Free Speech

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.


CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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