The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates executive director Farhana Khera regarding the hiring of current Muslim Advocates legal director Johnathan Smith as Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:
As legal director for Muslim Advocates, Johnathan led our legal work to defend and protect American Muslims from hate and discrimination; from leading our immediate legal response to Trump’s Muslim Ban and other discriminatory policy proposals, to taking on hate groups in the courts, to defending the religious freedom of all Americans.
We are enormously grateful for his leadership, and, while we will miss him, we are honored that Governor Cuomo recognized his talent and accomplishments, too.
Johnathan’s legacy also includes building a superb legal team. That team includes senior staff attorney Sirine Shebaya, who has led fights against the Muslim Ban and Trump’s inhumane family separation policy, and senior staff attorney Juvaria Khan, who has led fights to protect the religious freedom and the rights of American Muslims to go about their lives free of discrimination. Sirine, Juvaria, and the rest of our legal team remain on the frontlines of our defense against hate and discrimination and the Trump administration’s ruthless attacks. After Johnathan’s departure, Sirine Shebaya will serve as interim legal director.
Our commitment to protecting the rights of Americans of all faiths will not waver. We are more determined than ever to stop bigotry in its tracks.