Maryland Hate Crimes Commission Will Not Oust CAIR; AG to Decide Membership

By Hamodia Staff

The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill Monday night granting control over membership of the state’s hate crimes commission to the Attorney General, after a failed attempt at removing the anti-Israel Council of American-Islamic Relations organization from the panel, according to Jewish Insider.

The legislation originally contained a clause to remove CAIR following pro-Hamas messages posted by the organization’s Maryland Director Zainab Chaudry in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre.

“Although we would have preferred the original version of the bill to alter the makeup of the commission to have passed, we understood the desire for various amendments to ensure that a wide variety of voices can be heard in the fight against all forms of hate,” Meredith Weisel, the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington regional director and a member of the commission told JI.

All members of the commission will need to be approved by the state Senate; mandated members will come from public agencies including the Public Defender’s office.

In November, Attorney General Anthony Brown temporarily removed Chaudry from the commission after the social media posts were brought to light, but he did not have the authority to dismiss him permanently; the new bill grants him that right. 

“We have not yet made any decisions regarding the new appointments,” a spokesperson for Brown told JI on Tuesday.

Attar told JI that she views the bill’s passage as a victory, and that she anticipates that no one from CAIR will sit on the commission once the bill is signed. “I was very clear about my intention for the bill — very, very, very clear — that the goal is to make sure CAIR is not on this commission,” Attar said. “By passing this legislation that had the intent of ensuring one thing and one thing only, that CAIR is no longer here, it was also sending a statement as it is.”

A spokesperson for Gov. Wes Moore, a Democrat, would not comment when asked by JI if he would sign the bill.

CAIR has a history of antisemitism. Its current co-chair, Nihad Awad, said he was “happy” to see Hamas’ activities on Oct. 7.

“Yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land and walk free into their land that they were not allowed to walk in,” Awad said at a November conference hosted by the American Muslims for Palestine.

Awad’s statements, first publicized by the Middle East Media Research Institute, were greeted by cheers from the assembled crowd.

Though CAIR denies that it supports terrorism, numerous investigations have discovered links between high-ranking members and terrorist organizations. Both Awad and co-founder Omar Ahmad were previously affiliated with IAP, a group described by the FBI in 1993 as “intimately tied to the most senior Hamas leadership.”

CAIR’s website states, in a section dedicated to defending itself against accusations of ties to terrorism, that “We unequivocally condemn terrorism. Any group which hurts civilians deserves condemnation.” However, CAIR joined other Muslim groups in a statement the day of October 7 condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians hours after the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. That statement did not condemn Hamas’ attack, or mention it at all. Four days later, CAIR condemned the terror attacks in a statement, but again criticized Israel.

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