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CAIR Welcomes Federal Judge's Ruling That Texas Anti-BDS Law Violates Client's Free Speech Rights
News provided byCouncil on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Jan 28, 2022, 9:18 PM ET
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today welcomed this evening's victory in CAIR's First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of an engineering firm, owned by Rasmy Hassouna, that refused to sign an anti-BDS loyalty oath to Israel as part of the company's contract with the City of Houston.
In his ruling granting an injunction that blocks Texas from enforcing the anti-boycott law against Hassouna, United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen wrote in part:
"The speech contemplated by [Rasmy's company] may make some individuals—especially those who identify with Israel—uncomfortable, anxious, or even angry. Nevertheless, speech—even speech that upsets other segments of the population—is protected by the First Amendment unless it escalates into violence and misconduct."
Judge Hanen added: "The Court does find that Hassouna authentically holds a pro-Palestinian point of view that is protected by the First Amendment."
READ THE JUDGE'S RULING
While the injunction applies only to this client at this preliminary stage, Judge Hanen's reasoning indicates that this latest attempt to suppress advocacy for Palestine is likely to fail.
"State lawmakers should note this decision," said CAIR National Litigation and Civil Rights Director Lena Masri. "There's no place for banning boycotts under the First Amendment."
"This is a major victory of the First Amendment against Texas's repeated attempts to suppress speech in support of Palestine," said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. "These regressive attempts to create a Palestine-exception to the First Amendment betray the central role boycotts have played in our history."
Abbas noted that CAIR won a landmark legal victory in 2019 in a lawsuit over a previous version of the current law.
Today, CAIR called a proposed bill in Georgia to implement a similar anti-BDS law "a doomed effort" after a court ruled the original version of the law was unconstitutional.
CAIR's mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)