(HOUSTON, TX, 7/23/2019) – The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston), today welcomed a federal court’s decision allowing CAIR’s First Amendment lawsuit against the Texas anti-BDS law to move forward.
[NOTE: BDS refers to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in support of Palestinian human rights.]
CAIR’s lawsuit — brought on behalf of Bahia Amawi, the Texas speech language pathologist for elementary school children who lost her job because she refused to sign a “No Boycott of Israel” clause — resulted in a federal court ordering Texas to remove such clauses from all state contracts issued by any public entity.
After CAIR’s successful challenge to Texas’ Anti-BDS Act, the state legislature tried to amend the law in a way that would prevent judicial scrutiny of the anti-speech measure.
In a 14-page decision issued this week, Judge Pitman of the Western District of Texas rejected this effort, explaining that the amendment “does not ameliorate the constitutional defects the Court identified” in the law. The order means Amawi’s case seeking to strike down the entire Anti-BDS Act will continue.
“We welcome the court’s decision, which recognizes that the Texas Anti-BDS Act does not just harm Bahia Amawi, it harms all Texans who speak out on issues of widespread public concern,” said CAIR-Executive Director, Lubabah Abdullah.
BACKGROUNDER ON TEXAS/MARYLAND ANTI-BDS LAWS:
On April 25, 2019, Judge Pitman enjoined the Texas Anti-BDS Act, H.B. 89, as facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The Court held that the Texas Anti-BDS Act “threatens to suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate” on Israel and Palestine “through coercion rather than persuasion.”
The Texas Legislature responded to Judge Pitman’s April order by amending the Anti-BDS Act to exclude sole proprietors like Bahia Amawi from having to sign “No Boycott of Israel” clauses. H.B. 793, the amended version of the law, was signed by Governor Abbott and took effect on May 7, 2019.
Anti-BDS measures currently exist in 27 states.
Anyone who has been affected by Anti-BDS measures is encouraged to contact CAIR-Houston’s legal team at
or by calling 713-838-2247.
CAIR is America’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.La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CAIR-Houston Development and Outreach Coordinator, Ambreen Hernandez,
Executive Director, Lubabah Abdullah,