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CAIR-GA, Partners Condemn Forced Resignation, Alleged Harassment of Black Muslim Woman Clarkston City Manager

CAIR-GA, Partners Condemn Forced Resignation, Alleged Harassment of Black Muslim Woman Clarkston City Manager

(ATLANTA, GEORGIA, 8/11/2023) – The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia), Women Watch Afrika, Citizens for a Better Clarkston Coalition, Voices of Muslims, the Burmese Rohingya Community, and the Indian American Muslim Council – Atlanta chapter today condemned the forced resignation of Clarkston City Manager Shawanna Qawiy from her position. 

Concerned citizens and organizations protested the hastily adjourned special city council meeting on August 7 that denied public comment.   

The separation agreement removing Qawiy from her position became effective after a special city council meeting on Monday, August 7, 2023, during which public comment was not allowed. The meeting was adjourned within five minutes of being called to order.   

READ: Clarkston city manager unanimously voted out after reports of hostile work environment

Clarkston city council parts ways with city manager, raises budget for police salaries

City Manager Shawanna Qawiy and Clarkston Police Chief Christine Hudson had been at the center of a public disagreement after Qawiy suspended the Police Chief for insubordination.  

Chief Hudson issued public statements in the media against Qawiy, after which Qawiy allegedly began facing harassment from proponents of the police chief, including threats to her life.  

Friends of Qawiy reported that she began receiving threatening emails, phone calls, and text messages that included her residential address, simply for temporarily suspending the police chief pursuant to her official powers. The city reportedly took no steps to address the harassment she faced, ultimately leading to Ms. Qawiy’s pressured resignation.  

READ: Statement from Women Watch Afrika on behalf of Citizens for a Better Clarkston Coalition  

Qawiy has worked for the City of Clarkston since 2016. She served as City Manager since September 2021 and was appointed to her position by a unanimous City Council vote. The city did not receive any complaints about Qawiy’s performance until she suspended Chief Hudson.  

Supporters of Qawiy have also reported being pressured to cease public support for the former city manager and have allegedly faced harassment for speaking in her favor. At least one opponent of Qawiy called her a “b**ch Muslim.” Another one called her “stupid” at a town hall meeting. 

Azka Mahmood, CAIR-Georgia Interim Executive Director stated:   

“CAIR-Georgia condemns this treatment of Ms. Qawiy, a Black Muslim woman who has done nothing but serve her community using the powers with which she was entrusted. Such appalling treatment of a city employee is concerning for the residents and community organizations in Clarkston. We ask that the city conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to her removal.”  

Glory Kilanko, Director and CEO Women Watch Afrika shared in a statement:  

“It is disheartening that marginalized people of color continue to be discriminated against in the United States in this century.  For the first time in the history of Clarkston, the city manager was a female who is also a Black Muslim woman with two master’s degrees. From my conversations with community members,  the community believes that the City Manager was targeted based on her race and religion.”  

Don MahmoodExecutive Member Voices of Muslims said in a statement:

“In light of unfortunate circumstances that have not been shared with the community, Shuwanna Qawiy’s removal as City Manager of Clarkston City is a somber moment. Let’s approach this with transparency, empathy, and a commitment to community healing. Through these challenges, our unity and growth remain paramount.”

The City of Clarkston is one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. and home to tens of thousands of refugees, mostly people of color. About half of Clarkston’s residents are foreign born and come from 50 countries.  

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


CONTACT: Azka Mahmood, CAIR-Georgia Interim Executive Director, [email protected], 678 653 5822