Several Democratic lawmakers, including Deputy Ilhan Omar, held a press conference with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Wednesday calling for a special envoy from the State Department to combat “Islamophobia.”
CAIR prepared a report obtained by Fox News showing an increase in crimes against Muslims in the United States. The organization says there have been 500 documented cases of anti-Muslim harassment so far this year.
“This included a sudden increase in anti-mosque incidents in May and June with cases of vandalism and attempted stabbing, and several physical attacks targeting Muslim women wearing hijab (religious head coverings),” the CAIR website says. “The CAIR report and the call for an Islamophobia envoy also come in the wake of a terror attack that killed three generations of a Canadian Muslim family in June — and an increase in anti-Muslim repression around the world.”
In response to the report, Democratic lawmakers have written a letter calling for a comprehensive strategy to combat hate crimes against Muslims and urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to appoint a special envoy to monitor and combat hate crimes. to provoke Islamophobia.
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“We are here because we see a sharp increase in anti-Muslim hatred in this country,” Omar said at the start of the press conference. “According to brand new data from CAIR, there are more than 500 documented complaints of anti-Muslim hatred and bias in the US this year”
Omar then cited several cases of reported hate crimes committed against Muslims, including derogatory graffiti in her home state of Minnesota.
“In my own home state of Minnesota, vandals have sprayed hate speech, including ‘Death to Islam,’ ‘F*** Islam,’ the ‘N word’ and a Nazi swastika on and near the Moorhead-Fargo Islamic Center,” Omar said “A window of the mosque was also broken.”
Omar added that she herself was a victim of anti-Muslim harassment as a child.
“These incidents hurt me because they are so well known,” Omar explained. “As a young refugee who barely spoke English, students mocked me to the point of putting chewing gum on my hijab.”
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Omar added that she was harassed by a group of teenagers because “I didn’t bare my legs or arms during gym class.”
The Minnesota Democrat said the harassment continues to this day, claiming her office received a phone call last month denigrating Muslims and calling them terrorists and “ragsheads.”
The press conference was also attended by Representative Judy Chu who criticized former President Donald Trump for his “deliberately harmful” pause on immigration from several Muslim countries, which Democrats labeled a “Muslim ban”.
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Omar’s letter to Congress was co-signed by Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, along with 23 other Democrats, including Representatives Karen Bass, Jim McGovern, Rashida Tlaib, Adam Smith and Sara Jacobs.