Mosque council warns against censorship of Palestine conference

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) New Jersey's council of mosques urged state officials not to interfere with a national ''Palestine Solidarity'' conference Oct. 10-12 at Rutgers University.

Citing free-speech concerns, Gov. James E. McGreevey backed Rutgers' decision to allow a student group, NJ Solidarity, to hold the forum, but urged Rutgers to monitor the situation.

The mosque council, Majlis Ash-Shura of New Jersey, said the forum allows free expression of ideas and should not be restricted.

''The founding fathers of this nation were weary of the 'tyranny of the majority,' and it is for this reason that they went to great lengths to protect the rights of minorities whether they be ethnic or political,'' the group said.

Rutgers has received hundreds of letters regarding the conference. Critics, including state Senate President John Bennett, urged McGreevey to cancel the event or have it moved off campus.

The forum will support an independent Palestinian homeland and include sessions on how students can pressure schools to stop investing in companies that do business with Israel.

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