Maryland Hate Crimes Commission member suspended following social media comments

Maryland Hate Crimes Commission member suspended following social media comments

BALTIMORE – Attorney General Anthony Brown Tuesday "temporarily suspended" a member of the Maryland Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention.

Brown said his office learned last week about social media posts from Zainab Chaudry, the state director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In the posts, Chaudry referred to "the uprising in Palestine" on October 7, the day of the Hamas attack in Israel, and two days later referenced "Palestinian freedom fighters."

"I don't think you see how you can interpret it any other way but praising Hamas," Howard Libit, of the Baltimore Jewish Council, said. "Any reasonable person who reads those social media posts is going to come away with someone who is dismissing the horror of what Hamas did."

Chaudry told WJZ her words were distorted and were taken out of context.

"As if Muslims who don't condemn Hamas are automatically condoning violence, that's not going to work anymore. We need to hear that from our elected officials and the silence has been deafening," Chaudry said. "It's not shocking. It's not surprising. I think anyone who speaks out to defend Palestinian human rights experiences some level of backlash and retaliation."

Libit and others called for Chaudry to be replaced on the commission. 

Attorney General Brown said the commission has only met at its inaugural meeting Sept. 6, a month before Chaudry's personal social media posts.

"The people who are using this opportunity to distract from the core issue don't value Palestinian human lives," Chaudry said. "We have dozens of community members who have loved ones who have been killed in Gaza—civilians killed in the carpet bombing."

Libit says he was specifically troubled by Chaudry's Oct. 17 post comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

"Anytime you start comparing Israel, the actions of Israel to Nazi Germany, it's anti-Semitic," Libit said.

Chaudry says she received the image from a Jewish ally.

"There's tremendous pain and suffering that is occurring. And, the silence of, especially, communities who may be able to relate to some degree to that suffering is compounding that pain," Chaudry said.

Last week, WJZ featured Chaudry in her calls for a Johns Hopkins doctor to lose his medical license over Anti-Palestinian comments on his X (formerly) account.

Del. Joe Vogel, who helped create the Commission, said he was "disappointed" in Chaudry's comments, writing in part, "The Office of the Attorney General and commission members are ultimately responsible for the operations of this commission. I support their judgement in determining how to hold accountable a commissioner whose actions further hatred and division and ultimately betray the commission's core mission and values.

In his Tuesday statement, Attorney General Brown says staff will develop a "values statement about personal communications by Commission members" which will be taken up for discussion at its next meeting.

Read more

We and our partners use cookies to understand how you use our site, improve your experience and serve you personalized content and advertising. Read about how we use cookies in our cookie policy and how you can control them by clicking Manage Settings. By continuing to use this site, you accept these cookies.