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Helping American Students in the Free Palestine Movement

First it was Harvard, then came MIT, University of Chicago, Princeton, and now Vanderbilt University denying seniors their earned degrees. Their crime? Standing up for freedom and justice for Palestine. Others are threatening and may follow suit if there is not enough pressure.



More than 3,000 students have been arrested during the student protest movement. Almost all of them are at risk of losing their future. These brave students are Muslims, Jews, and others who worked together through free Palestine peace camps and demonstrations in more than 550 universities and colleges across the nation. 80% of these students are estimated to be non Muslims. They are all peace-loving, justice-minded, brave, non-violent souls.

They were doxxed and threatened by businesses and University administrations, maligned by the media, attacked by police, and in the case of UCLA, Jewish and Israeli outsiders seriously injured 25 students who were hospitalized.

But they stood tall, non-violently, for peace, justice, and freedom in Palestine, against occupation, apartheid, and genocide.

Students’ Free Palestine movement is not over. Although most peace camps were dismantled, others are being set up again, and other forms of protest continue and most likely will increase after summer breaks are over.

Leadership meetings

Justice For All organized two leadership meetings of the Muslim community to think together about assisting these students. One such meeting took place on June 2nd,2024. Here are the recommendations put forth by Justice For All, the student with 14 staples in his skull, Imam Taha Hassane, and others during the meeting.

Pressure Universities:

  • There should be sustained pressure on these universities to grant the degrees these students have earned. Here are links for you to publicize. Give priority to pressure Harvard since they were first to deny and had the largest numbers of students who were denied degrees. If they back out or rescind it is likely others will follow suit
  • Universities take pride in their reputation, ranking, and ability to attract international students. Apply pressure by highlighting that unsafe environments will drive students to other institutions and countries.

Faith Coalition Organize Dialogue with Universities:

  • In each city, the Muslim community should work with its interfaith relationships to form a delegation to meet University and college administration. Take an attorney with you, preferably from the local ACLU. Choose asks from the following to include in a letter that the delegation shares with the University administration, urging them to:
  • Ensure students are protected by University police against attacks similar to UCLA
  • Not call-in militarized police to attack as was the case in Columbia and Northeastern Boston
  • Engage in dialogue with students as was done by the Northwestern administration in Chicago and Rutgers in New Jersey
  • Respect their first amendment rights as long as they are not violent
  • Take anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic incidents as seriously as antisemitic incidents
  • Not include criticism of Zionism and State of Israel as an act of antisemitism
  • Alhamdulillah, most peace camps did not have any supply problems. All sorts of peacemakers were dropping off food and other supplies.
  • However, there is a good example to follow in the Jewish community. In the 7 universities we surveyed, the Jewish community has been paying good attention to their students. Almost all such universities had their own buildings, 40 plus staff including Rabbis and counselors serving those students with budgets in millions of dollars. Hillel, the campus based Jewish organization, is a 58 million dollar entity with a 12 million endowment. Hillel has also received 22 million dollars from Israel a few years ago as well.  Muslim students, on the other hand, barely had any such support, often just a part-time or voluntary chaplain with zero budget. In one of these universities, there was zero budget for about 500 Muslim students as compared to a one million budget for about 250 Jewish students.
  • We recommend that each masjid partners with a nearby school to support, to fund, and to remain in communication with student protest leaders and MSA’s, but definitely not to control. Young people know their language and their culture better.
  • Most people arrested and targeted are neither Muslims nor Palestinians but they are allies who, in the case of students connected with the Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), may not have even the type of support Muslim students have since they are standing up against the Jewish establishment for its support of occupation, apartheid, and genocide.
  • Donate to students who have financial aid cut or lost funding because of university discriminatory and disciplinary actions. Perhaps the Islamic Scholarship Fund and Continuous Charity or your masjid can take action in this regard
  • A suggestion was made that masjids should allocate a set percentage of funds 10-20% to support these students and organizations who are advocating for them like Justice For All from Zakat and sadaqa.  Imams should issue specific directives and religious opinions on this.


  • Palestine Legal: fill out an intake form for representation on criminal or disciplinary charges, as well as filing civil rights complaints.
  • National Lawyers Guild: Email or contact local NLG chapter (find here) for representation on criminal or disciplinary charges. If there is no local chapter, NLG has a network of pro bono attorneys for referrals. Hotline for criminal cases: (212) 679-2811.
  • Muslim Legal Fund of America: Contact or call (973) 331-9021 for civil rights complaints.
  • ACLU: find your local chapter here for civil rights complaints.
  • CAIR: report discrimination and civil rights complaints here
  • ADC: report education discrimination here.
  • Campus Life Islamophobia reporting here.
  • Individuals/law firms advertising pro bono services for this cause on social media:
  • Ali Jamal Awad, Esq (IG: @ceolawyer): willing to represent college students and peaceful protestors: Call 877-7CEO-LAW
  • Ghassan Shamieh, Esq. (IG: @gshamiehesq): willing to represent undocumented or international student/faculty protestors facing deportation as a result of protesting for Palestine.
  • Ahmad Azam, Esq.: (Houston): willing to represent students that get arrested for protesting pro bono.
  • Vanguard Law:

Moral Support of Students:

  • Making Dua: The first thing the UCLA senior asked for in this leadership program was to make dua. Surgeons used 14 staples to put his skull together after he was hospitalized in an attack at the UCLA peace camp. New York Times and Haaretz, Israel’s largest paper,  Hillel  that Jews from outside UCLA attacked the peace camp.
  • Showing up to stand with students: At the University of Chicago graduation about 500 people showed up for moral support. At the UC San Diego Imam Taha Hassane was injured when he stood to block police guns being aimed at peaceful student protesters. So showing up does matter.

Data Collection:

What action universities are taking against students is not available at one location. The proposal is to have a central data collection point for student names and universities where students have been arrested, beaten, or facing disciplinary actions.  We recommend that you submit student specific data to Justice For All using this form here. Information submitted will be treated confidentially.



Supporting Professors:

  • Professors with a balanced opinion for a free Palestine have been targeted for a while in America and sometimes forced to resign or be fired. Even some Jewish professors have faced that challenge.
  • Organizational letters must be written in support of these professors
  • They should be encouraged to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

Let us know if you are willing to hire students who have been denied degrees or threatened with job loss:

While many are facing denial of their degrees, others are simply being threatened by potential employers. We are asking all those who are willing to hire such students to submit their hiring information here. Students in these conditions who are looking for a job can submit their information here.



    1. Contact Accreditation Organizations:
    2. Pursue Legal Action:
      • Consider initiating a class action lawsuit against universities for failing to provide a safe learning environment for Muslims, Palestinians, and peace advocates.
    3. Engage University Administration:
      • Call and communicate with university administrations, such as UCLA, to emphasize that their reputation is at stake if they do not address these safety concerns.
    4. Community Collaboration:
      • Follow the example of Columbia, SC, where community members arranged meetings with college professors and local police chiefs to discuss the safety protocols and the importance of interfaith peace camps. IMAN Network in Maryland wrote a letter from 19 mosques and Muslim orgs to the Dean and Provosts, The City Council, Governor, State delegates and Senators about their concern for student safety. NJ Muslim Coalition wrote a letter to NJ officials and university presidents on behalf of NJ mosques and organizations representing hundreds of thousands of NJ constituents.
    5. Demand Transparency:
      • As parents of prospective college students, request that schools disclose their involvement in or profit from genocides and injustices, both locally and globally.
    6. Leverage Media and Organizations:
      • Reach out to platforms like the Chronicle of Higher Education and organizations such as The American Association of Colleges and Universities to raise awareness and put additional pressure on universities.

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