Muslim Community Leaders and Advocates Meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi

At Historic Meeting, American Muslims Ask Pelosi for Vote on NO BAN Act, Action to Address Anti-Muslim Bigotry

WASHINGTON, DC — This afternoon, American Muslim civic, civil rights, political and religious leaders met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her Capitol Hill office to talk about urgent issues facing the American Muslim community, including rampant anti-Muslim bigotry and the Muslim Ban. It is believed that it is one of the first official meetings of its kind that any Speaker of the House has held with American Muslims. 

Attendees included:

  • Farhana Khera, Executive Director, Muslim Advocates
  • Wael Alzayat, CEO, Emgage Foundation 
  • Sadaf Jaffer, Mayor, Montgomery Township, New Jersey
  • Mana Kharrazi, Executive Director, Iranian Alliances Across Borders 
  • Mohammad Ali Naquvi, Mohsena Memorial Foundation, Shia Activist
  • Qasim Rashid, Former candidate for VA Senate, Ahmadiyya activist
  • Ibraheem Samirah, Delegate, 86th District, VA House of Delegates
  • Imam W Deen Shareef, Convener, Council of Imams – New Jersey

At the meeting, attendees shared personal stories about the threats and anti-Muslim hate they have faced in their everyday lives, as well as the real-world impact that the Muslim Ban continues to have as it keeps families separated. The Muslim leaders also called on Speaker Pelosi to schedule a markup and full vote in the House on the NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214) to end the Muslim Ban, which is now co-sponsored by over 200 House Democrats.

The meeting caps off an extremely significant political year for American Muslims that saw Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib become the first Muslim women to serve in Congress; state and local Muslim leaders winning office nationwide; Congress holding the first-ever hearing on the Muslim Ban and the introduction of the NO BAN Act.

The following are quotes from American Muslim leaders who attended the meeting:

“This meeting with Speaker Pelosi comes at a crucial time, with anti-Muslim bigotry at disturbingly high levels and American Muslims eager to engage with their public officials to ensure our communities and our rights are protected,” said Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera. “Speaker Pelosi has an opportunity to make history by putting the U.S. House of Representatives on the record rejecting the Muslim Ban, one of the most vicious forms of religious bigotry our country has experienced, and she can do so by supporting the NO BAN Act and prioritizing it for a vote on the House floor.”

“As a Muslim in public life, one man threatened to kill me and my political opponent used false, offensive stereotypes to turn my faith into an attack line,” said civil rights lawyer and former Virginia State Senate candidate Qasim Rashid. “The worst kinds of hatred and even threats are an inevitable part of the day-to-day experience of an American Muslim who chooses to speak out. I implore Speaker Pelosi and politicians in both parties to do everything possible to denounce this kind of bigotry and ensure people of all backgrounds can engage in public life free from hate.”

“The Muslim Ban continues to tear apart our families and fuel hatred against our communities. I cannot shelter our incredible youth leaders from the bigotry and discrimination wreaking havoc on our lives,” said Iranian Alliances Across Borders Executive Director Mana Kharrazi. “Speaker Pelosi, we need you to protect us by opposing this unjust and cruel hatred and allowing a vote on the NO BAN Act.”

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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.