CAIR-NJ Calls State Senate Committee to Oppose Bills Crafted to Gut Free Speech 

CAIR-NJ Calls State Senate Committee to Oppose Bills Crafted to Gut Free Speech

(Newark, NJ, 06/14/2024) —  The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today once again called on the New Jersey Senate to oppose Senate Bill 1292 and Senate Bill 2937, both of which are designed to redefine antisemitism using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition.

A State Senate committee plans to conduct a remote meeting via Zoom on Monday during which it will take oral testimony on both bills. CAIR-NJ is urging New Jerseyans to engage with their Legislature and oppose both the bills.

WHEN: Monday, June 17, at 9 a.m.

WHERE: Registration online is required to attend meeting via Zoom

HOW: Protect free speech by opposing the bills when registering online

In an open letter addressed to the New Jersey Senate, CAIR-NJ wrote, “While we appreciate and support efforts to combat hate and discrimination, these bills carry consequences that would suppress legitimate advocacy and free speech.”

SEE: Oppose Bill S1292 and S2937 to Protect Free Speech 

The proposed measures attack freedom of speech in New Jersey. The bills risk conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, which is dangerous to constructive discourse on this crucial, nuanced topic that affects millions of people. This would ultimately result in the silencing of Palestinians and those who advocate for them by potentially painting them as anti-Semites when they speak up against injustices.

CAIR-NJ unequivocally rejects and condemns the attempted weaponization of anti-Semitism in what appears to be an intentional effort to decenter what’s really important: the freedom of speech to advocate for the liberation of Palestine and Palestinians.

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

“If these bills pass, they will effectively undermine free speech by discouraging open dialogue at a divisive time when we should be seeking mutual understanding and unity.

“Our elected officials in the New Jersey Senate should not vote for a measure that would put our Muslim and Palestinian communities in harm’s way when anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bigotry is already on the rise. Americans should be focused on protecting their right to the First Amendment, not prioritizing a foreign entity.”

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

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Interim Communications Manager Aya Elamroussi, aelamroussi@cair.com, 551-208-5482