Council on American Islamic Relations filed lawsuit against Maryland’s anti-BDS law

As BDS supporters took to New York’s streets, many say Maryland’s ban on contracting with businesses that boycott Israel is against free speech.

By Sohaila Barghash

In October 2017, Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan signed an executive order that sets ban on contracting with businesses that boycott Israel.

Faced with anger and tension, as Americans claim the ban contradicts the first amendment.

On Wednesday, a Muslim civil rights group sued the US state of Maryland for enforcing the executive order.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR), 25 other US states have enacted measures similar to Maryland’s, either through legislation or executive orders; preventing state agencies from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel.

CAIR attorney, Gadeir Abbas stated that, in response “other federal lawsuits have challenged measures in Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas and Texas.”

The executive order basically demands that contractors certify that they don’t boycott Israel in writing, which prevents many from practicing their basic right in promoting certain opinions or practicing individual ethics.

CAIR sued Hogan and state Attorney General Brian Frosh on behalf of software engineer, Syed Saqib Ali, who is a former state legislator.

Ali’s lawsuit said that the order bars him from bidding for government software program contracts because he supports boycotts of businesses and organizations that “contribute to the oppression of Palestinians.”

“Maryland’s ban on contracting with anyone who participates in such boycotts constitutes viewpoint discrimination that chills constitutionally-protected political advocacy in support of Palestine,” the lawsuit states.

In December, a Texas speech pathologist was fired after she refused to sign a statement saying she does not and will not boycott Israel or its settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

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