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(ATLANTA, GA - 7/14/2017) The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today thanked the members of Georgia's U.S. House delegation who voted against an anti-Muslim bill proposed by Rep. Trent Franks. In a narrow vote of 208 "Yes" to 217 "No," 27 Republicans and 190 Democrats voted against the amendment with no Democrats voting in support.
Franks' amendment would have required the Department of Defense to conduct two strategic assessments, one to be conducted by government employees and the other by non-governmental "experts" on the "use of violent or unorthodox Islam to support extremist or terrorist messaging."
Representatives John Lewis, David Scott, Hank Johnson, and Sanford Bishop, all Democrats, voted against the amendment. Representatives Buddy Carter, Drew Ferguson, Karen Handel, Rob Woodall, Austin Scott, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Rick Allen, and Tom Graves, all Republicans, voted for it.
(ATLANTA, GA - 8/1/17) The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today announced that it has hired Murtaza Khwaja to serve as its new Staff Attorney starting August 1st.
As part of CAIR Georgia's legal team, Khwaja works to investigate incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination, educate Georgia Muslims about their legal rights, and counter Islamophobia in both the court of law and the court of public opinion.
"As a law student, a legal intern, and an activist, Murtaza has already made important contributions to civil rights in recent years," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR Georgia. "We are excited to welcome this bright and driven young man to our team so that we can–God willing–better serve, protect and advocate for Georgia Muslims."
Khwaja received a B.A. in History and Political Science from Emory University, and a J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law. During law school, he interned with the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination, and spent a year working in the Capital Defenders Clinic, where he helped Georgia Capital Defender attorneys make argue for life sentences, rather than the death penality, at trial.
As a member of the Muslim Law Students Association at the GSU College of Law, Khwaja co-founded the Glitter of Hope Legal Clinic.
The clinic aimed to provide legal assistance and resources to the Clarkston refugee community, including Know Your Rights workshops.