(ATLANTA, GA - 7/19/2019) - The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today applauded civil rights legend and Congressman John Lewis for joining Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib in the introduction of House Resolution 496, which reaffirms every American's constitutional right to engage in political boycotts.
In addition to affirming the constitutional right to boycott, H.R. 496 expresses opposition to ongoing efforts to suppress free speech.
In recent years, 27 states have adopted laws designed to punish Americans who boycott the Israeli government in protest of its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. The laws require state employees and contractors to sign a loyalty pledge in which they promise not to engage in a boycott of the Israeli government.
Federal courts have struck down anti-boycott laws in Arizona, Kansas, and Texas after First Amendment challenges by civil rights groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the American Civil Liberties Union.
CAIR-Georgia is encouraging local state employees and contractors who have been impacted by the legislature's unconstitutional anti-boycott law, which was signed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2016, to come forward to challenge the law.
"We encourage Georgia state employees and contractors who have been forced to violate their First Amendment rights to come forward," said Murtaza Khwaja, staff attorney with CAIR-Georgia. "Georgia's anti-boycott law is just as unconstitutional as laws struck down in other states. It, too, must fall."