A group of Muslim bar associations is accusing prominent law firms of contributing to Islamophobia and creating a climate of fear within the legal community. In a letter sent to over 100 top law firms in the US, 13 national and regional bar associations called on these firms to address Islamophobia, as well as anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian hate. The letter stated that many legal professionals, including attorneys of color and Jewish attorneys, are afraid to openly express sympathy for Palestinians due to fear of retribution. The Muslim bar associations expressed disappointment that a recent letter from leading law firms to elite universities only briefly mentioned Islamophobia, while focusing primarily on antisemitism. The competing letters from law firms and Muslim bar associations highlight the complex situation faced by employers amidst high tensions following the recent Hamas-Israel conflict. The letter from the Muslim bar associations was sent to law firms such as Davis Polk, Dechert, Kirkland & Ellis, Paul, Weiss, and Sullivan & Cromwell. It criticized some law firms for not acknowledging the deaths of innocent Palestinians and for raising funds in support of Israel without providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. The Muslim bar associations called on law firms to take several steps, including addressing Islamophobia in a new letter to law school deans, recognizing the equal humanity of Palestinians and Israelis, condemning the killing of all civilians, launching educational programs on Islamophobia, and engaging in pro bono opportunities to combat Islamophobia. The November 1 letter, which primarily focused on antisemitism, was initiated by Joe Shenker of Sullivan & Cromwell, but the law firm did not respond to a request for comment. The letter emphasized the need for respect and the avoidance of offensive or discriminatory conduct towards individuals in law firms.
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