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CAIR-GA, Pal Legal Welcome the Launch of Department of Education Investigation into Alleged Anti-Muslim Discrimination at Emory University

CAIR-GA, Pal Legal Welcome the Launch of Department of Education Investigation into Alleged Anti-Muslim Discrimination at Emory University

CONTACT: Azka Mahmood, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director, [email protected] 

(Atlanta, GA, 5/2/2024): The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday, after students filed a federal civil rights complaint on April 5th, 2024 for severe anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic discrimination on campus.

The decision to open an investigation comes less than a week after Emory called in Atlanta police officers to violently arrest dozens of peaceful student protestors opposing Israel’s genocide and the university’s complicity in Israeli oppression of Palestinians. Police used tear gas and pepper balls and brutally attacked faculty and those in the vicinity. Officers slammed a professor’s head into the concrete and repeatedly tased a Black medic after he had already been handcuffed and thrown to the ground.  

The 18-page complaint filed pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 details incidents of discrimination based on national origin, race, and shared ancestry at the hands of Emory University administration, faculty, students, and alumni. 

Also read:  Revealed: Emory University investigated over alleged anti-Muslim discrimination | Atlanta | The Guardian

Azka Mahmood, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director shared in a statement: 

“The opening of this investigation by the OCR is a welcome step and one we hope leads to answers about the failures of Emory University to address anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian activity since October last year, despite several bias reports and a letter from civil rights organizations.  

It is unconscionable that students have been made to suffer an unsafe and unwelcome learning environment without recourse despite asking the University for help multiple times. We hope that this investigation will compel Emory University administration to address the harassment and systemic discrimination faced by Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab students.”

An Emory University student and complainant in the Title VI complaint stated: 

“After witnessing what occurred last Thursday with the police raid on a peaceful protest, and given Emory’s continuous suppression of our open expression, this investigation gives me hope. For once, Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students are heard on campus.”

The complainant, who wishes to remain anonymous, continued, “It is essential for us to have the same rights as any other students and not face consequences when mentioning the word ‘Palestine.’ The people in Gaza are proud of all that we have done, and our work will not stop now; we will  continue to talk about Palestine in our daily lives.”


The complaint describes numerous incidents of students facing anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and Islamophobic harassment. Students have been followed on campus and filmed by their peers, have been called terrorists, fake Muslims, and have been sent graphic photos. They have had their flyers, noting the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, ripped out or thrown in the trash. ESJP students have also been individually targeted and doxed on social media and harassed on campus. 

The complaint followed CAIR-Georgia and Palestine Legal’s letter to Emory University administrators sent on January 24th, alongside a coalition of civil rights and community organizations, warning Emory of the hostile anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic environment on campus. However, Emory dismissed these warnings and failed to take measures to protect students. 

The complaint also explains how students have submitted numerous reports to Emory through the university’s bias incident report process about the majority of these incidents. Nonetheless, to date, Emory has failed to act on a majority of these reports of anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, Islamophobic, or otherwise racist harassment and discrimination, and Emory has instead cultivated an environment in which these acts can thrive.

CAIR-Georgia’s mission is to protect civil rights, promote justice, empower American Muslims, and enhance the understanding of Islam.

Palestine Legal’s mission is to bolster the Palestine solidarity movement by challenging efforts to threaten, harass and legally bully activists into silence and inaction.