Washington, DC — Today, Republicans on the Senate Small Business Committee again blocked a vote on the nomination of American Muslim businessman Dilawar Syed to be deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration. If confirmed, Mr. Syed would be the highest-ranking Muslim in the Biden administration. Republicans on the committee previously circulated an anti-Muslim memo that attacked him for being a foreigner and for being Muslim. At Tuesday’s hearing, Senate Republicans for a third time refused to show up to prevent a vote on Mr. Syed’s nomination from taking place. This is the first time in the committee’s history that a nominee has been stalled in such a manner. Last Friday, Muslim Advocates and a diverse coalition of Muslim, Jewish, AAPI and civil rights groups held a national day of action asking Senate Republicans to end the blockade of Mr. Syed.
The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Communications Director Eric Naing:
“We must be clear: Dilawar Syed’s nomination was blocked because he is Muslim. This is an un-American and unconstitutional religious litmus test that should have no place in the U.S. Senate. Never before in the history of this committee has a nominee been denied the courtesy of even a vote like this. Now Mr. Syed has been blocked three times and has had his identity as an American Muslim and an immigrant used as a cheap, political attack line. If anti-Muslim bigotry is successfully used to block this nomination, then all future Muslim nominees are at risk—as are nominees from all marginalized communities.
It is the duty of our legislative leaders to ensure that all Americans have fair and equal opportunities to serve in government and be assessed on the merits, not their identity. Dilawar Syed deserves a vote, and Muslim Advocates will continue to fight to ensure that all American Muslims are accorded equal treatment by Congress.”
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.