Official Statement:

ICNA requests all the people/organizations of conscience to please support and endorse this statement in support of people of Gaza and students protesting.

In the name of God, the Most Beneficent and the Most Merciful

History has shown that students have always played a major role in the pursuit of justice. By raising their voices, standing firm, and organizing, there has always been a resilient student presence demanding human rights and promoting peace across the world.

This past week, we have witnessed a historical movement across institutions of higher learning throughout the United States. This student-led movement demanding the end of the genocide in Gaza began in Columbia University in New York, and has now spread not only throughout campuses in the US, but also to institutions in Europe.

The images of courage, bravery and resilience of these students has given a renewed hope to all people of conscience who yearn to see justice prevail. The hallmark of this movement are its uncompromising call towards justice, its diversity and its inclusive nature, where students of different backgrounds, colors and creeds have come together to support the oppressed people of Palestine. Unfortunately, universities across the United States denied these students’ constitutional right to free speech.

Students at Columbia University have been disciplined with suspensions and over 100 have been arrested on campus while engaging in peaceful protests. Likewise, over 80 students have been arrested during their demonstration at Washington University in St. Louis and others. In total, more than 850 students have been arrested throughout the country while advocating for ending the genocide against the Palestinians. Well over 34,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed by the state of Israel since 10/7, 65% of the victims are either children or women. On average, Netanyahu’s government has dropped 21 bombs every hour resulting in the complete destruction of all major hospitals, educational institutions and places of worship.

As the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces potential arrest from the International Court of Justice in relation to war crimes, the United States government has shamefully vetoed every UN resolution to stop the genocide in Gaza.

At the same time, heavy handed actions by Universities across the board raises serious concerns about the infringement of students’ First Amendment rights. The United States Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, which includes the right to peacefully assemble and protest. By punishing students for exercising these fundamental rights, Columbia University and others are setting a dangerous precedent that undermines the very principles of democracy and academic freedom upon which these universities were founded. The actions of these universities have created a pressure point where lawful protests are being penalized with the slew of recent suspensions and arrests.

Restricting pro-Palestine voices under the guise of curbing anti-semitism is a clear indicator of the conflation of criticisms of the state of Israel and the political ideology of Zionism. We reiterate that Anti-Jewish hate and violence is inexcusable. However, the conflation of criticism of a political entity and ideology with a world religion, limits the rights of that group to a particular segment while diminishing the voices of the remainder. The casualty here is freedom of speech and ultimately America’s purported values. It is clear that foreign interests are not only dominating Congress but are now setting their sights on college campuses.

It is imperative to recognize that universities play a crucial role as bastions of free expression and intellectual inquiry. They should serve as environments where individuals are encouraged to challenge prevailing ideas, engage in meaningful dialogue, and advocate for change. Suppressing dissenting voices only stifles innovation and perpetuates an environment of conformity. By suspending students for participating in peaceful protests, Columbia and other Universities are failing in their duty to protect and promote the rights of their students.

Members of ICNA, along with other USCMO volunteers, met with lawmakers and their staff on the 29th and 30th of April on our National “Day on the Hill”. ICNA reiterated its resolve in always supporting the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people. We also reaffirmed our support for their liberation, and a dignified life for all human beings. As an organization, we are proud to stand for the right of free speech for our brave student leaders as they tackle the issue of injustice.

We request that people of conscience, including individuals and organizations, to support and endorse this statement and the demands presented by Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).

In light of these facts, ICNA demands:

1) The University administration of Columbia University, and all other universities, to immediately reinstate suspended students who peacefully protested and reaffirm its commitment to upholding the principles of free speech and academic freedom.

2) University Administrations should listen to the demands of the students and do not suppress the rights of free speech.

3) Law enforcement agencies withdraw all the charges against peaceful protestors.
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
ICNA President,
Dr. Mohsin Ansari.


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