MPAC Holds Meetings with Local Officials to Demand Accountability and Protection of Pro-Palestinian Student Protestors

May 10, 2024 Statements

This week, the Muslim Public Affairs Council convened crucial meetings following last week’s violent attacks by external pro-Israeli agitators upon pro-Palestinian student protestors at the UCLA Solidarity Encampment. These meetings were an important step in gaining accountability for these disturbing incidents.

Earlier this week we met with Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, LAPD Assistant Chief Chow, and Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto in our Los Angeles headquarters. The objective of this meeting was to demand accountability and seek answers regarding the failure of law enforcement to respond adequately to the unprovoked assault on UCLA anti-genocide protestors. We unequivocally conveyed our deep disturbance and disappointment with the law enforcement response and the subsequent arrests made of the peaceful pro-Palestinian protestors. We also called for an investigation into the felony acts that were committed against protestors by pro-Israel agitators and called for the City Attorney to drop all charges against the pro-Palestinian students.

We conveyed that this egregious failure by the LAPD represents a clear dereliction of duty, further damaging our community’s relationship with law enforcement, whose primary duty should be to protect us.

Additionally, we convened a meeting with Sheriff Luna and officials at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to reiterate these concerns and to express our community’s anger with the escalated tactics their department used when clearing the encampment. We demanded answers on the authorization process that allowed for contractors linked to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) behind Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) staging lines at the UCLA encampment. At this meeting, we also called for a full investigation into the actions of the LASD and the excessive tactics they employed while disbanding the encampment.

Right now, students across the nation are advocating for the rights of the Palestinian people and are facing severe criminalization at the hands of their institutions and law enforcement. Law enforcement’s aggressive response to the assault at the UCLA solidarity encampment included the arrest of over 200 students. Officers dressed in riot gear armed with tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons confronted the students, escalating the situation to a level of unnecessary violence that ultimately aided those opposing the protestors. 

 “Classmates, not police, classmates, not UCLA security, rushed me to receive medical care inside the encampment. I rushed to the hospital where I received several stitches on my upper right forehead… and 14 staples on the back of my head. I want to remind everyone why this encampment exists. I had the luxury of going to a hospital last night. Currently, in Gaza, there are zero fully functioning hospitals.

Student Protester 

UCLA Press Conference at Tongva Steps, May 1, 2024

During last week’s press conference at UCLA, MPAC stood alongside students as they shared their accounts of the terror that was unleashed on the encampment– reaffirming our commitment to protecting every student who is calling for an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people and a ceasefire in Gaza. 

“The community needs to feel the police are protecting them, not enabling others to harm them.” 

Rebecca Husaini, MPAC Chief of Staff

MPAC Chief of Staff Rebecca Husaini delivers remarks during last week’s press conference at UCLA.

We met with students from the University of Southern California (USC) who have been the target of censorship and mistreatment, many of whom are now facing suspensions during these pivotal last days of the semester. We ask that you donate to support their efforts as they advocate for the Palestinian cause.

Today, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati (center) delivered Friday Khutbah at the Islamic Center of Southern California. Talha Rafique (left), President of the USC Muslim Student Union, also spoke sharing the experiences of students on campus right now.

We are heartened that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (ED), has formally called for an investigation into UCLA’s complicity in the failure to protect students expressing their right to freedom of speech and assembly and are hopeful that the Department of Justice will heed our call to investigate the culpability of law enforcement at the UCLA pro-Palestinian encampment.

We eagerly await responses from the government and law enforcement officials and will keep you informed with any updates. We will continue to demand accountability from university administrators and the local and federal government to ensure equal protection for our community and to ensure that the First Amendment rights of students are restored. 

To the students: Your courage represents the conscience of the people, and we stand ready to defend you.

You can build a future free from fear and bigotry.

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