CAIR, CAIR-NJ Welcome New Jersey School Board’s Reversal of Motion to Remove Professor Sahar Aziz

(Washington, DC, 9/13/2023) – The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the Westfield, NJ school board’s unanimous vote to reverse an earlier decision to consider removing Professor Sahar Aziz from the board.

This action targeting the Westfield Board of Education’s first and only Muslim member raised concerns that CAIR-NJ expressed to the board members in a letter on September 8. In the letter, CAIR-NJ pointed to the absence of a “just cause,” writing, “We also ask for clarification on what constitutes a ‘just cause’ that precedes a removal hearing. Furthermore, we ask if other board members who’ve missed special meetings scheduled just days in advance or consecutive meetings were also subject to a removal hearing or equally warned.”

On Monday, September 11, the board voted 7-0 vote to rescind its earlier action targeting Professor Aziz. The public agenda for Monday’s meeting listed only “board action item” as its sole purpose, leaving its purpose unclear which in part prompted CAIR’s letter.

SEE: Westfield Rescinds Decision to Remove School Board Member

In a statement, CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor said:

“The unanimous vote indicates the full board understood the implications of targeting Professor Aziz. 

“Regardless, we will continue to monitor the Westfield School Board to ensure this illegitimate effort to remove Professor Aziz does not manifest in a new form in the coming months.”

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said: 

“Board Member Aziz comes with a unique and valued perspective, and we are eager to see her continue in her role at the Westfield Board of Education. 

“We are optimistic that board members will work together to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment, demonstrating Board Member Aziz’s commitment to Westfield and the Board’s desire for her contributions.”

Saylor and Maksut both thanked the Muslim community local to Westfield and concerned citizens who attended Monday’s hearing.

SEE: Special Westfield, NJ Board of Education Meeting 9/11/23. School Board Member Sahar Aziz’s Remarks

(Note: The version posted by the school board’s version removes portions of Aziz’s remarks.).

SEE: Professor Sahar Aziz’s Full Written Remarks for Hearing

 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR Research and Advocacy Director Corey Saylor, csaylor@cair.com, 202-384-8857; CAIR-NJ Communications Manager Dina Sayedahmed, dsayedahmed@cair.com, 908-668-5900 ext. 103