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Ilhan Omar introduces new resolution condemning Islamophobia

More than 20 members of Congress co-sponsored the bill, which also commemorates the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings
Ilhan Omar speaks to supporters of student loan debt relief in front of the Supreme Court  on 28 February 2023.
Ilhan Omar speaks to supporters of student loan debt relief in front of the Supreme Court, on 28 February 2023 (Reuters)
By MEE staff in Washington

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduced a new resolution on Thursday that condemns Islamophobia globally and commemorates the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, which left more than 50 Muslim worshippers dead in New Zealand.

The measure, co-sponsored by 20 Democratic members of Congress, was introduced on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and comes one week after the UN commemorated its first annual day to combat Islamophobia.

"This year, [Ramadan] is also a time of increasing terror and attacks against our Muslim brothers and sisters across this country and around the world," Omar said during a press conference on Thursday at the US Capitol.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations reported in 2022 that it had received more than 6,000 cases of bias against Muslims in the previous year, ranging from immigration and workplace discrimination to government overreach and incarceree rights.

The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion released a report in 2021 concluding that suspicion, discrimination, and hatred towards Muslims have risen to "epidemic proportions", citing as examples both France and India.

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The latest government report from Canada found that attacks against Muslims increased by 71 percent in 2021.

"We all know that we have so much more work to do to combat racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and hateful policies that fuel it," Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a co-sponsor of the measure, said during Thursday's press conference.

In 2021, Omar introduced a different resolution regarding anti-Muslim sentiment, which would have established a US envoy for Islamophobia, just like it has one for antisemitism. The bill was able to pass the House in December 2021 but has yet to be voted on in the Senate.

'Evils of religious bigotry'

The measure introduced on Thursday comes a week after the four-year anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The attacks took place on 15 March 2019, when 51 worshipers were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. More than 40 were seriously wounded.

The two attacks were carried out by a lone gunman armed with assault rifles and shotguns, dressed in camouflage gear.

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A manifesto posted to the 8chan internet forum hours before the attacks outlined a desire to strike at the heart of a tiny Muslim community on the edge of the world, in order to send a message globally.

Muslim leaders from around the world condemned the attacks, with some blaming politicians and media outlets for boosting Islamophobic rhetoric, as well as a global rise in white supremacy.

"The attack in Christchurch, motivated by an extremist ideology of white supremacy, anti-Muslim hate, and the so-called replacement theory resonates deeply for Muslims in nearly every corner of the globe," Omar said in a statement on Thursday.

"We also know that this increase in hate is not isolated to only Muslims. Church bombings, synagogue attacks, and racial hate crimes are also on the rise. In order to confront the evils of religious bigotry and hatred, we must come to understand that all our destinies are linked."

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