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CAIR Urges Santa Clara County DA Jeffrey Rosen to Respect Free Speech Rights, Invest in Policy Changes Rather Than Profiling

(SANTA CLARA, CA, 6/23/2020) – The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today voiced concern after Santa Clara County District Attorney (DA) Jeffrey Rosen filed a complaint against Santa Clara County Deputy Alternate Defender Mr. Sajid Khan for exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech and political expression. CAIR-SFBA joins the Silicon Valley NAACP, the California Public Defender’s Association, the Civil Rights Corp, and more than 90 public defenders in making these demands.

On June 8, following an online post by Mr. Khan, in which Mr. Khan urged readers to focus their frustration on the role prosecutors play in permitting the police killings of Black individuals, DA Rosen accused Mr. Khan of inciting violence and threatened to file a complaint against him.

SEE: California DA Threatens Whistleblower Complaint

CPDA Releases Statement Supporting Deputy Public Defender’s Right to Free Speech

CAIR-SFBA’s letter states in part:

“In singling out Mr. Khan and conflating criticism of DAs with incitement to violence against public officials and buildings, you unfortunately replicate the rhetoric that paints protestors calling for reform and wholesale overhaul of the criminal justice system as violent and dangerous members of the public.  

“. . .at a time when Islamophobia is increasing, accusing Mr. Khan of inciting violence has far-reaching implications. It is not lost on us that Mr. Khan is a man of color, a Muslim, and someone who routinely works to protect members of marginalized communities from targeting by local police and prosecution by your office. Your rush to judgment demonstrates an implicit bias, borrowing from false portrayals of members of our communities as suspect, terrorist, and violent.”

Mr. Khan’s post was protected speech, and DA Rosen’s threats further erode community trust in law enforcement. CAIR-SFBA is urging DA Rosen to withdraw his complaint and to sincerely grapple with the racial disparities in his office’s prosecutorial practices.

CAIR-SFBA is an office of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

END


CONTACT: CAIR-SFBA Communications Coordinator Zoha Raza, 408.418.6902, zraza@cair.com  

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