Muslim Advocates Meets With White House Advisers To Address Growing Acts of Violence Against American Muslim Community
Organization Urges Expanded Federal Government Action on Hate Crimes
December 14, 2015, Washington, D.C.—Today, Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera met senior White House officials including Valerie Jarrett to discuss the growing anti-Muslim climate in the nation following the tragedies in Paris and San Bernardino. Khera joined American Muslim community leaders concerned by increasing incidents of bigotry and hate that have accompanied a chorus of prominent public voices making false claims about the American Muslim community, and Muslims in general.
“All Americans want to be kept safe from acts of violence, whatever the source. Like the rest of America, we are worried by recent world events,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “What we need most in this difficult time is unity. That’s why it’s so important that the White House provides leadership during this time of crisis to address bigotry and hate and remind us of our core American values.”
“I call on President Obama to join with former President George W. Bush and visit a mosque here at home to show that we are stronger together during these difficult times,” continued Khera. “The reality is—as we also urge White House officials to publicly acknowledge—the threat of violent extremism is emanating from online activities, not from mosques. It’s critical we challenge the public perception that mosques are anything other than houses of worship that provide spiritual support for their congregants. When attacks take place against mosques as well as against American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, we urge White House officials to support law enforcement efforts to prosecute hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
“We also encourage the Department of Education to issue guidance to schools to equip educators and school administrators on how to prevent and address bullying and harassment of American Muslim students,” said Khera.
The hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric prevalent in recent weeks is not only troubling but has real-life consequences. There has been an increase in anti-Muslim bigotry and hate throughout the country since the Paris and San Bernardino tragedies including violent threats, mosque vandalism, shots fired at mosques and life-threatening physical assaults against American Muslims.
In an address to the nation last week, President Obama called on Americans to face our nation’s challenges together and repudiated unconstitutional and discriminatory proposals that divide Americans along faith lines. Earlier in December, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch made her first public appearance with the American Muslim community at the Muslim Advocates Annual Dinner in Washington, DC. In a thoughtful and moving discussion with Farhana Khera, Attorney General Lynch said that her “greatest fear” is that expressions of anti-Muslim sentiment will lead to attacks on American Muslims.
Muslim Advocates will continue its work with allies across faiths and backgrounds to protect freedom and justice, not allowing the Paris and San Bernardino tragedies to divide the country along faith lines. The organization will also continue its efforts to monitor incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry and violence, urging the federal government to prosecute hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
Contact: Debayani Kar, 510-356-7733, [email protected]