Member of Maryland’s Hate Crimes Task Force Suspended Over Anti-Israel Comments

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
November 23, 2023US News
Member of Maryland’s Hate Crimes Task Force Suspended Over Anti-Israel Comments
Zainab Chaudry joins other demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Feb. 25, 2015. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown has temporarily suspended a member of the state’s new commission aimed at addressing hate crimes after she posted anti-semitic messages on her personal social media accounts.

In a written statement on Nov. 21, Mr. Brown announced that his office recently learned that Zainab Chaudry made anti-Israel comments in the weeks following the Hamas terrorist group’s cross-border attack on Oct. 7, further pointing out that Ms. Chaudry’s social media posts have “challenged the commission’s ability to do its work.”

“Personal postings that could be reasonably perceived as hate speech may disrupt the ability of the Commission to accomplish its important work,” Mr. Brown said.

Ms. Chaudry, the state director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was nominated in August to the Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention.

The task force, which is required to include a representative of CAIR along with other advocacy organizations, was created by state lawmakers during a legislative session earlier this year.

Its goal is to advance a long-term mechanism to address hate crimes by evaluating laws and policies and developing strategies aimed at addressing the crimes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Mr. Brown has the authority to appoint its members as chair of the commission.

“The Commission must serve as a model for the entire State on how to respond to incidents of hate and bias,” Mr. Brown said in the written statement, noting the task force is now “facing its first test” and how it responds will have “deep implications.”

“I take this very seriously,” he added. “I will do everything possible to bring people together to move forward the critical work of this Commission.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Brown said he assigned staff to draft a “values statement”—which will be taken up for discussion at the next meeting—about personal communications and called on the commission to “carefully balance their right to free speech with their role as a commission member.”

‘Fake Israeli Babies’

Ms. Chaudry, an American-Muslim political activist, has posted numerous images of Palestinian victims on Facebook since Israel declared war on Hamas after the terrorist group carried out its surprise attack from Gaza and fired thousands of rockets toward Israel.

In a post on Oct. 17, she compared Israel’s military campaign in Gaza against Hamas to Nazi Germany by sharing two photos of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. In one photo, the 18th-century monument is lit up with the Israeli flag after Hamas’s attack, while the other photo is from 1936 when the building was decorated with a Nazi flag.

“That moment when you become what you hated most,” she wrote alongside the photo collage.

In another post, dated Oct. 27, Ms. Chaudry said: “I will never be able to understand how the world summoned up rage for 40 fake Israeli babies while completely turning a blind eye to … real Palestinian babies.”

Mendy Haviv, a commander of the non-governmental rescue and recovery organization ZAKA, told Epoch Israel last month that decapitated children were among the many victims of Hamas’s attack.

“Do you want me to tell you about the hardest sights? Bodies of babies tied up,” Mr. Haviv recalled. “Burnt bodies, burnt houses everywhere. Decapitated heads of children of several ages. The smell of rotting corpses [is so bad] that you can’t even breathe,” he added.

Israel Declares War Following Large-scale Hamas Attacks
A house is shown completely destroyed after being burned by Hamas terrorists during the Oct. 7 attack at Kibbutz Be’eri, near the border with Gaza in Be’eri, Israel, on Oct. 11, 2023. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Israel, meanwhile, also released pictures of babies murdered and burned by Hamas terrorists, which has been confirmed by the White House.

In other posts, Ms. Chaudry called for an immediate ceasefire and claimed Israel is committing war crimes by indiscriminately attacking civilians, saying: “This isn’t a war. This is genocide.”

Speaking to WTOP News after learning about the suspension, Ms. Chaudry defended her posts and called the commission’s decision “deeply troubling,” explaining she believes it infringes on her First Amendment rights.

“These comments were made in my own personal capacity. And they were in no shape, way or form designed to invite hate,” Ms. Chaudry said, noting she feels the posts have been taken out of context.

“I stand by the context with which these posts were shared,” she said.

Jennifer Donelan, a spokesperson for Mr. Brown’s office, told Fox News Digital that “the views and opinions of any individual Commission member do not reflect those of either the Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention or the Attorney General.”

Ms. Chaudry joins a growing list of Americans facing repercussions for their comments about the Israel-Hamas war, the fallout from which has spilled into workplaces and educational institutions everywhere, including in politics, the corporate world, and on college campuses across the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.