Maryland AG reinstates pro-Hamas member of anti-hate board

Two weeks after suspending Zainab Chaudry, the board’s chair said he didn’t have the authority by law to do so.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown reinstated Wednesday a pro-Hamas member of his anti-hate board, saying he had not had the legal right to suspend her two weeks ago.

“Upon further review, it was determined that the law establishing the Commission directs the Attorney General to appoint members to a 4-year fixed term but does not provide the Attorney General the authority to remove a Commissioner before the expiration of their term nor the authority to suspend a Commissioner during their term of service,” Brown wrote in a statement explaining his actions.

Legislation has to be specifically enacted to give him the power to do so, he added. Brown wrote that instead, prior to the Commission’s upcoming meeting next week, his office would “distribute draft operating guidelines to members which include personal communications and how to balance the members’ right to freedom of speech and their roles as Commissioners for their review and feedback.”

Brown had brought Zainab Chaudry, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) Maryland office, on board the state’s recently established Commission on Hate Crimes Response and Prevention.

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After the October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel in which the terrorists slaughtered 1,200 men, women and children, Chaudry had written several posts to social media in which she denied the atrocities for which Israel has provided evidence, and slammed Israel for its military response.

Among them, she had claimed that pictures of dozens of babies in Gaza envelope communities that the terrorists had murdered were “fake,” said that the Israelis were acting like Nazis by taking the war to Hamas to destroy its ability to threaten the country ever again, and reposted a quote lauding “Palestinian martyrs.”

The AG had suspended her after deciding that the personal posts were “disruptive to the work and mission of the Commission.”

Following the suspension, several Republican state lawmakers wrote a letter to Brown calling for her expulsion.

Chaudry, they wrote, has the right to express her “disgusting and dangerous” opinion, but as Baltimore Country representative Kathy Szeliga stated in the missive, “fomenting hate during the war going on in the Middle East is contrary to the mission of the commission and should be grounds for immediate dismissal.”

Upon the news of the recall of the suspension, State Sen. Justin Ready wrote in a post to X that in light of CAIR’s past support for Hamas, it shouldn’t even have a delegate on an anti-hate commission, but if it does, he asked why Brown could not ask for a different representative to serve instead.

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The national CAIR office had composed an online petition calling for its Chaudry’s return that received over 5,500 signatures. In it, they called her “an important leader of the Maryland Muslim community” and charged that the attorney general was supporting a “dishonest smear campaign” pushed by Fox News and “other bigoted voices.”

The organization welcomed the decision to reinstate her to the commission.