Defending our right to advocate

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Photo: 
Michael Tam

AFSC and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee are celebrating a victory for free speech on behalf of the disenfranchised, in this case Muhammad Salah, after the U.S. removed him from the “Specially Designated Terrorist” list after 17 years of persecution.

In September 2012, AFSC and ADC joined a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s restrictions on their First Amendment rights to engage in “coordinated advocacy” with Salah, an American citizen living in Chicago whose situation cried out for public attention, advocacy, and resolution.

Just prior to the government's November 6, 2012 deadline for responding to the legal challenge, the Office of Foreign Assets Control quietly announced Mr. Salah’s removal from the list. “We are pleased to have been part of a case that forced the government to retreat from this arbitrary use of a demonizing label.” said AFSC General Secretary Shan Cretin.

Throughout its 95 year history, AFSC has worked for peace by addressing the root causes of violence—discrimination, disenfranchisement, and lack of economic opportunities. We have promoted dialogue between Christians and Muslims and provided programs to combat the Islamophobia and anti-Arab discrimination that has spread through our country and influenced our nation’s policies since 9/11.

AFSC joined the lawsuit to challenge the federal government’s power to arbitrarily restrict our First Amendment rights to follow our conscience and raise public awareness about government actions we believe to be unjust.

For more specifics on Muhammad Salah’s case, visit the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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AFSC is a Quaker organization devoted to service, development, and peace programs throughout the world. Our work is based on the belief in the worth of every person, and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Learn more

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