May 14, 2024

(MERCED, CA, 05/14/24) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley/Central California (CAIR-SV/CC) supports members of the student body who set up a peaceful encampment at UC Merced aimed at raising awareness and advocating for the divestment from companies that support the occupation of Palestine. CAIR SV/CC calls for UC Merced’s administration to engage in peaceful dialogue with their students and to meet their demands.  

This past week, Arab and Palestinian students were directly affected as Israel renewed its offensive in Rafah where over 1.6 million Palestinians sought shelter after Israel announced that Rafah would be a safe zone.  Students are deeply connected to the conflict and are issuing demands to the University including an end to university investments in companies linked to the occupation, an academic boycott of institutions supporting the occupation, amnesty for protesting students, and reinvestment in student services and Palestinian aid. 

In a statement, Sukaina Hussain, Interim Executive Director of CAIR-SV/CC, said:

 “The UC Merced administration must respect the call for change voiced by its students. In an era where civil rights are under threat, we must champion peaceful protest and constructive dialogue over repression. Our students are not just future leaders; they are advocates for justice today, and their engagement with critical global issues demands our support and attention.” 

CAIR-SV/CC stands resolute in advocating for the rights to peaceful assembly and educational empowerment as catalysts for change. We urge the UC Merced administration to allow students to voice their concerns freely and safely, without the threat of reprisal or police intervention. CAIR-SV/CC also calls for restraint and a rejection of the aggressive police tactics witnessed at UCLA and other campuses, emphasizing the necessity of peaceful, dialogue-driven interactions. 

CAIR-SV/CC is branch office of the CAIR-CA chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR-SV/CC Policy & Advocacy Coordinator Fauziya Faruk, ffaruk@cair.com, (916) 232-0258