Breaking News Archive

June 1, 2018

Supreme Court Upholds the Muslim Ban

Today, the Supreme Court decided to uphold the Muslim Ban, ruling that it will remain in effect. Our list of experts available to speak about the ban includes those directly impacted by the ban, legal and policy experts, and national security experts. 

Sirine has been involved with all aspects of opposition to the Muslim ban, including litigation, airport response, FOIA work, and various advocacy efforts. She is one of the lead attorneys in IAAB v. Trump.
Zahra was on the ground at the airports working with impacted individuals when the first Muslim Ban was signed and has since advised dozens of individuals from the Banned countries, is a named plaintiff in Sarsour v. Trump challenging the Bans, and co-leads the national No Muslim Ban Ever campaign
Farhana Khera has led Muslim Advocates in 8 lawsuits against the Trump Administration regarding the Muslim Ban, and is a key organizer of the We Will Not Be Banned rally scheduled to take place on the Muslim Ban decision day.
Professor Sahar has written extensively on the civil rights of Muslims in America, including in her recent article “A Muslim Registry: A Precursor to Internment?” where she examines the constitutionality of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
Shayan is an Iranian American Muslim civil rights attorney who was instrumental in securing in interviewing, assisting, and counseling plaintiffs in all three of NIAC’s legal challenges to every version of the Muslim Ban.
Following the first Muslim Ban executive order, Debbie co-organized and led the hugely successful bodega strike and rally of over 6000 Yemeni Americans, leading to the birth of the Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA); she was instrumental in planning the reception for Shaema Alomari's arrival to the U.S., the Yemeni girl with cerebral palsy who was discussed in oral arguments.
Maya spearheads AAI's efforts to provide American citizens with educational materials on the Muslim Ban, relevant court decisions, and their ramifications on the rights of visitors, immigrants and their families.
April 25, 2018

8.5 Million Experts at SCOTUS Oral Arguments

As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments around the Muslim ban today, April 25th, a number of experts from 8.5 Million were in the court overseeing the proceedings. The following experts were in the room and are available to comment.

Zahra Billoo is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). As such, she leads the oldest CAIR chapter in the country, serving the Bay Area's 250,000 Muslims.
Sirine Shebaya is a Senior Staff Attorney with Muslim Advocates. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates, she spent many years advocating for the civil rights of immigrants and other communities of color.
Dr. Debbie Almontaser is affiliated with the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA), which was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban.
Farhana Khera is the Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, a national civil rights organization, and is the first woman to lead a national Muslim organization. Prior to joining Muslim Advocates, Ms. Khera was Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights.
April 23, 2018

Muslim Ban Oral Arguments on April 25th

On Wednesday, April 25th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments around President Trump's Muslim ban - a travel ban that impacts 8 predominantly Muslim countries, dividing families, putting refugees at risk, and impacting talent and investment from the impacted countries. Our list of experts available to speak about the ban and oral arguments include those directly impacted by the ban, legal and policy experts, and national security experts.

Rooj Alwazir is a Yemeni American independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York and the co-founder of SupportYemen Media Co-op, where she and her friends have directed and produced over 10 social-issue based films.
Dr. Debbie Almontaser is affiliated with the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA), which was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban. YAMA is dedicated to supporting the Yemeni American community and uplift their contributions in the United States.
Maya Berry is Executive Director of the Arab American Institute (AAI), steering the Institute's policy agenda.
Jim Doyle is a communications advisor for nonprofits and corporations, and an expert on the economic impact of intolerance.
Masih Fouladi is an Advocacy Manager at the Greater Los Angeles Office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), and as an Iranian Muslim-American, Masih is an impacted individual. He has been heavily involved in efforts to combat the Muslim Ban and counter its enforcement.
Taif Jany was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and at age 16, he fled the sectarian civil conflict in the country and sought refuge in Damascus, Syria. Jany arrived in the United States at age 18 to attend Union College in Schenectady, New York. At the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, Jany coordinates nationwide projects to effectively impact policy at all levels of government.
Hina Shamsi is the director of the ACLU National Security Project, which is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.
February 15, 2018

Fourth Circuit of Appeals Blocks Muslim Ban 3.0

In a 9-4 ruling this morning, the Fourth Circuit of Appeals upheld the lower court's preliminary injunction against Muslim Ban 3.0, on the basis that it likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Today’s Fourth Circuit decision follows one by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ruled against the latest ban on statutory grounds on December 22. The injunction is stayed pending review by the Supreme Court. 

Of Yemeni heritage herself, Dr. Almontaser - with a collective of bodega owners - led the historic Bodega Strike and rally in Brooklyn, Borough Hall, in response to the Muslim Ban, where thousands of store owners peacefully protested the unjust ban.
Sahar F. Aziz is a Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. She can speak as a constitutional scholar and legal expert on the Ban.
Sirine Shebaya is a Senior Staff Attorney with Muslim Advocates. Shebaya helped draft the case heard by the Maryland district court in October, on the basis of which it issued a preliminary injunction against the third iteration of the Muslim Ban.
Avideh Moussavian serves as a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), where her work focuses on reducing the vulnerability of low-income immigrants to deportation on account of their race, class, or gender.
Zahra Billoo is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). At the onset of 2017, Ms. Billoo joined the speaker lineup at the Women’s March on Washington and sued Donald Trump to challenge his Muslim Ban Executive Orders.
February 6, 2018

DHS Report Called for Long-Term Surveillance of Muslim Immigrants

In an exclusive story, Foreign Policy obtained a copy of a draft Department of Homeland Security report, which called for long-term surveillance of Muslim immigrants to the United States. The report identified Sunni Muslims living in the U.S. as being “vulnerable to terrorist narratives,” simply because they matched a set of risk indicators, such as being young, male and from “the Middle East, South Asia or Africa.” As one DHS official quoted in the article states: “It feels very much like the self-licking ice cream cone. That is, they have presented an answer to a question that has not specifically been asked.” We have included a list of national security and policy experts - many of whom are also from the Muslim, Arab, or South Asian community - who can speak to this breaking news story.

Hina Shamsi is the director of the ACLU National Security Project, which is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights. Through litigation, research, and policy advocacy, her work has included a focus on the freedoms of speech and association, and challenges to unlawful detention, targeted killing, torture, and discrimination against racial and religious minorities.
Sahar F. Aziz is a Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. Professor Aziz’s scholarship examines intersections of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on the adverse impact of national security laws and policies on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S.
Michael German is a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program, which seeks to ensure that the US government respects human rights and fundamental freedoms in its counterterrorism efforts. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Mr. German served as the policy counsel for national security and privacy for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, and as a special agent with the FBI, where he specialized in covert operations and domestic terrorism.
Shannon Al-Wakeel is the executive director of the Muslim Justice League (MJL), a Boston-based organization advocating for human and civil rights that are threatened under national security pretexts. She was one of four Muslim women who founded MJL following federal law enforcement announcements in 2014 of a “countering violent extremism” pilot program targeting Boston. An attorney, Shannon received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Arjun Sethi is a writer, attorney, and professor based in Washington, D.C. He is a frequent commentator on civil rights and civil liberties related issues, and teaches courses on surveillance, profiling, and counter terrorism.
January 26, 2018

On the One-Year Anniversary of the Muslim Ban, Including Impacted Voices

Saturday, January 27th marks the one-year anniversary of President Trump's attempt at implementing the first iteration of his Muslim ban. Since then, multiple iterations have not only been fought in the legal arena, but have also impacted various communities and families. As the ban comes up before the Supreme Court this year, centering impacted voices who have been holding the line of dignity, fairness, and respect for their communities is key to provide context for these stories. In our resource, we are including key policy, national security, and community voices, available as experts and spokespeople.

Avideh Moussavian serves as a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), where her work focuses on reducing the vulnerability of low-income immigrants to deportation on account of their race, class, or gender.
Engy Abdelkader is an academic expert and faculty member at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she teaches seminars on civil liberties and national security as well as terrorism and human rights.
Madihha Ahussain serves as a staff attorney at Muslim Advocates and plays an essential role as a member of the legal team focusing on anti-Muslim hate issues.
Masih Fouladi is an Advocacy Manager at the Greater Los Angeles Office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), which has served as a regional anchor on the issues for the national campaign against the Muslim Ban. As an Iranian Muslim-American, Masih is an impacted individual.
Rooj Alwazir is a Yemeni American independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York and the co-founder of SupportYemen Media Co-op, where she and her friends have directed and produced over 10 social-issue based films.
As the executive director of CAIR's Minnesota chapter, Jaylani Hussein uses his platform to comment on and engage with both local and national issues and events related to Muslim rights.
December 4, 2017

Supreme Court Allows Muslim Ban to go into Effect During Appeals Process

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Trump Administration's ban on travel for people from six Muslim countries can fully go into effect. 

Seven of the nine justices have granted the administration's request to lift injunctions imposed by lower courts blocking the ban.

Included are the top Muslim, Arab, and South Asian spokespeople who can speak to this topic.

Engy Abdelkader is a faculty member at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she teaches seminars on civil liberties and national security as well as terrorism and human rights.
Madihha Ahussain serves as a staff attorney at Muslim Advocates and plays an essential role as a member of the legal team focusing on anti-Muslim issues.
Dr. Debbie Almontaser is affiliated with the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA), which was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban.
Rooj Alwazir is a Yemeni American independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York and the co-founder of Support Yemen Media Co-op, where she and her friends have directed and produced over 10 social-issue based films.
Masih Fouladi is an Advocacy Manager at the Greater Los Angeles Office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA). CAIR-LA has also served as a regional anchor on the issues for the national campaign against the Muslim Ban, and as an Iranian Muslim-American, Masih is an impacted individual.
Jehan Hakim serves as a Community Advocate with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. Formerly, she was the President of the California Chapter of the American Association of Yemeni Students and Professionals (AAYSP).
Jaylani Hussein is the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN). A Somali-American, he is also from one of the impacted Muslim ban countries.
November 1, 2017

Uzbek Man Attacks Pedestrians in Manhattan

On Tuesday afternoon, Sayfullo Saipov sped his rented truck down a crowded bike path in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people and wounding countless others. National security experts and local Muslim and Arab activists are available to respond to this tragic attack in NYC.

Faiza Patel serves as co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. She has testified before Congress opposing the dragnet surveillance of Muslims, organized advocacy efforts against state laws designed to incite fear of Islam, and developed legislation creating an independent Inspector General for the NYPD.
Sahar F. Aziz is a Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. Professor Aziz’s scholarship examines intersections of national security, race, and civil rights with a focus on the adverse impact of national security laws and policies on racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the U.S.
Shannon Al-Wakeel is the executive director of the Muslim Justice League (MJL), a Boston-based organization advocating for human and civil rights that are threatened under national security pretexts.
Dr. Almontaser for the last 20 years has been in the trenches advocating for the Muslim Holidays, ending the NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance Program, the Community Safety Act which ended Stop and Frisk and instituted an inspector general in NYC and stronger Handschu Guidelines to hold the NYPD accountable.
October 17, 2017

Hawaii Judge Blocks Expanded Muslim Ban from Going into Effect

A federal judge in Hawaii - U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson - has granted a temporary restraining order, effectively blocking President Trump's expanded Muslim ban from going into effect on Wednesday, October 18th. The expanded directive came just hours before the expanded directive was set to go into effect at midnight.

Avideh Moussavian serves as a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), an organization dedicated to defending and advancing the rights & opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members.
Azadeh Shahshahani is Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South. Azadeh has worked for a number of years in the Southeast to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.
Ibraham Qatabi is a Yemeni American political analyst and a human rights advocate and organizer. He is also a legal worker for the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
Dr. Debbie Almontaser is affiliated with the Yemeni American Merchants Association of New York (YAMA), which was birthed through the Yemeni Bodega Strike in New York in Protest to the Executive Order Travel Ban.
Jehan Hakim serves as a Community Advocate with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. Formerly, she was the President of the California Chapter of the American Association of Yemeni Students and Professionals (AAYSP).
Naureen Shah is the Senior Director of Campaigns at the US section of Amnesty International. She manages Amnesty International’s work to respond to crisis, including developments arising from conflicts, coups and rapid political changes.
September 22, 2017

Trump announces Travel Ban 3.0

The Trump administration announced a new set of travel restrictions tonight. Most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be indefinitely banned from traveling to the United States. Iraqis and Venezuelans will also face additional restrictions.

Sahar F. Aziz is a Professor of Law, Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar, and Middle East and Legal Studies Scholar at Rutgers University Law School. She can speak as a constitutional scholar and legal expert on the Ban.
Faiza Patel serves as co-director of the Brennan Center's Liberty and National Security Program, which recently published a report on extreme vetting.
Jehan Hakim serves as a Community Advocate with Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. Formerly, she was the President of the California Chapter of the American Association of Yemeni Students and Professionals (AAYSP).
Of Yemeni heritage herself, Dr. Almontaser - with a collective of bodega owners - led the historic Bodega Strike and rally in Brooklyn, Borough Hall, in response to the Muslim Ban, where thousands of store owners peacefully protested the unjust ban.
Of Iranian descent, Ms. Shahshahani is Legal & Advocacy Director with Project South. She has worked for a number of years in the Southeast to protect the human rights of immigrants and Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities.
Taif Jany was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. At age 16, he fled the sectarian civil conflict in the country and sought refuge in Damascus, Syria. At the Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, Mr. Jany coordinates nationwide projects to effectively impact policy at all levels of government.
Ibraham Qatabi is a Yemeni American political analyst and a human rights advocate and organizer, currently working at the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Following President Trump’s Muslim Ban, Mr. Qatabi helped mobilize the community, organized Know Your Rights events, and connected individuals and families with legal counsel.
Zahra Billoo is a civil rights attorney and the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). At the onset of 2017, Ms. Billoo joined the speaker lineup at the Women’s March on Washington and sued Donald Trump to challenge his “Muslim Ban” Executive Orders.
Michael German is a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program, which recently published a report on extreme vetting.
Suman Raghunathan leads one of the largest South Asian grassroots organizations in the country and has organized on the ground opposition to the ban in the past.
Farhana Khera is executive director of Muslim Advocates and litigating against the Muslim Ban policy.