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CAIR Says Maryland Governor’s Anti-BDS Order Violates First, 14th Amendments

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/9/19) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced a legal challenge to Maryland’s “No Boycott of Israel” or “anti-BDS” law (Executive Order 01.01.2017.25) enacted in October 2017.

[NOTE: BDS refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in support of Palestinian human rights.]

CAIR’s lawsuit, on behalf of former Maryland lawmaker Syed Saqib Ali, says the Maryland order is a violation of the First and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

SEE: Muslim Group Sues to Block ‘No Boycott of Israel’ Measure (AP)  
CAIR: Maryland Man Sues Hogan, Frosh For Executive Order Forbidding Contracts With Those Who Boycott Israel

The lawsuit seeks to block the order requiring contractors to certify in writing that they will not boycott Israel. Ali says the order prevents him from bidding on government contracts because he backs boycotts in support of Palestinian rights.

According to CAIR’s lawsuit, “Maryland’s ban on contracting with anyone who participates in such boycotts constitutes viewpoint discrimination that chills constitutionally-protected political advocacy in support of Palestine.”


CAIR’s news conference at its Maryland office was livestreamed at: 

Full News Conference: CAIR Says Maryland Governor’s Anti-BDS Order Violates First, 14th Amendments

“CAIR is committed to ensuring that lawmakers and elected officials abide by their sworn obligation to protect and uphold their constituents’ constitutional rights,” said CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. “We thank our allies and supporters who stand with us in the fight for justice as we work to defend our Constitution.”

Maryland’s anti-BDS executive order is one of 26 similar measures enacted in states across the country. 

CAIR recently distributed an action alert encouraging Americans to voice their concerns about a similarly unconstitutional Senate bill.  

CAIR Action Alert: Tell Congress to Protect Free Speech, Oppose Unconstitutional Anti-BDS Bill 

Last month, CAIR filed a motion on behalf of a Texas speech pathologist who was fired for refusing to sign a statement certifying that she does not, and will not, boycott Israel or Israeli settlements.

SEE: CAIR Files Motion to Enjoin Texas Anti-BDS Act as Unconstitutional

CAIR Video: Texas Muslim Fired for Refusing to Sign Unconstitutional Anti-BDS Oath Not to Boycott Israel

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425,; CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-742-6420,; CAIR Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry, 410-971-6062,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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