Washington, DC — The following is a statement from Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, denouncing the anti-Muslim bigotry driving many of the attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar. Muslim Advocates also recently issued Running on Hate, a report documenting anti-Muslim political rhetoric:
“The attacks on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar are part of a coordinated, decades-long effort to paint American Muslims as inherently foreign, violent and deeply hostile to women, the LGBTQ community and Jews.
Congresswoman Omar has been targeted with anti-Muslim smears long before she took the oath of office, including being accused of anti-Semitism and of supporting terrorism and the mutilation of women. After her election last fall, the attacks and scrutiny intensified.
She has apologized in good faith for her comments and wants to listen, learn and build bridges of understanding. Yet, the attacks on her character, the unfair twisting of her words and the threats against her have continued and escalated. Now, she is facing credible death threats, widespread attacks in the media and a congressional resolution condemning her.
Time and again, members of Congress and the President have used anti-Semitic tropes without congressional reprimand or widespread condemnation by members of Congress. For example:
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy issued a tweet saying ‘We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election!’
- Rep. Matt Gaetz invited Charles Johnson, a known Holocaust denier and open racist, as his guest to the State of the Union address.
- President Trump once told the Republican Jewish Coalition, “you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine.” He also recently called Jewish Rep. Adam Schiff “little shifty Schiff.”
The message to American Muslims is clear: should you dare exercise your constitutional rights to vote, to speak your mind or hold office, you too will be subjected to this treatment: a distortion of your words and then official reprimand — a clear double standard.
Perhaps just as dangerously, if the House adopts this resolution, it will further embolden white nationalist anti-Semitism. Hate crimes targeting Jewish Americans are at disturbing, record levels. Let’s be clear: perpetrators of these heinous attacks are not inspired by Rep. Omar, but they are carrying out hate crimes like the attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue inspired by the racist, anti-Semitic language of President Trump and white nationalists.
The planned congressional resolution condemning Rep. Omar not only seeks to silence a Muslim member of Congress but also endangers her safety and the safety of all Americans who are targeted by white nationalists.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.