(ANAHEIM, CA, 1/30/19) — The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today denounced a December 2018 statement by the University of California Chancellors opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement in defense of Palestinian rights and against Israeli racial and religious segregation. CAIR-CA is calling on the chancellors revoke that statement.

In a letter, CAIR-CA expressed concern about the UC Chancellors’ position, stating in part:

“Through voicing opposition to BDS, you are attempting to silence the students, staff, and faculty on your campuses who have overwhelmingly voted to support BDS. CAIR-CA calls on you as UC Chancellors, to unequivocally reaffirm your support for free speech and for civil rights around the world through revoking your opposition to BDS and instead joining your students in support of Palestinian human rights.”

SEE: Letter from CAIR-CA to University of California Board of Regents and Chancellors


Representatives from CAIR-CA offices further voiced their concern and calls to action.

“The statements from UC leaders opposing the BDS movement are inappropriate and problematic,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area office of CAIR. “Through their words they chill important political activity being organized by students on their campuses, at a place where students should feel free and safe to advocate on issues that are important to them. As a UC alum myself and a civil rights advocate, I join my colleagues in urging the UC leaders to retract their statements and take measures to encourage free speech and political activity on their campuses.”

“Their thoughtless decision is misguided and unfortunate,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Area office of CAIR. “This is an attempt to silence students, staff and faculty despite their strong support of the movement. This is another assault on free speech, one of the principles on which this country was founded.”

“It is profoundly disappointing that the UC system has taken steps to stifle students’ freedom of speech and impede their political advocacy,” said CAIR-Sacramento Valley Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem. “As a UC alumnus, it pains me to see a university system that claims to pride itself on ‘embracing diversity in all forms’ take clear steps to shut out important views and voices on campus.”

CAIR-CA is calling on the UC Chancellors to honor the nearly unanimous support of BDS from student governments throughout the UC campuses by withdrawing their opposition to BDS and recognizing the resolutions in support of the movement.

The Washington D.C.-based Muslim civil rights organization has filed legal challenges to anti-BDS measures nationwide.

SEE: CAIR Says Maryland Governor’s Anti-BDS Order Violates First, 14th Amendments


CAIR Files Motion to Enjoin Texas Anti-BDS Act as Unconstitutional


CAIR-CA is California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Forrest Lee, 714-776-1847 or flee@cair.com