Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia

Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia
© Greg Nash

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Ohio becomes battleground for rival Democratic factions Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia MORE (D-Minn.) and other Democratic lawmakers have signed onto a letter to Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenHouse bill targets US passport backlog Omar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Acquiescing to Berlin, emboldening Moscow and squeezing Kyiv: Biden and Nordstream 2 MORE urging him to appoint a special envoy tasked with monitoring and combatting Islamophobia.

In the letter sent Tuesday, Omar and two dozen other lawmakers cited the spike in Islamophobia seen in recent years as well as the “persecution of Muslims manifesting itself around the world.”

The lawmakers also pointed to a recent annual report released by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in which the office identified multiple countries with “patterns of mistreatment and human rights violations against either their entire Muslim populations or particular sects of Muslims.” 

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“In addition to state-sponsored policies of Islamophobia, we have seen a disturbing rise in incidents of Islamophobic violence committed by individuals connected to larger transnational white supremacist networks, including but by no means limited to the mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019 and the recent murder of a Muslim Canadian family in London, Ontario,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers went on to strongly urge Blinken to establish the new role dedicated to combatting Islamophobia, calling it “a genuinely global problem that the United States should tackle globally.”

They also called for the secretary “to specifically include anti-Muslim violence per se in next year’s annual human rights reports.”

“It is past time for the United States to stand firmly in favor of religious freedom for all, and to give the global problem of Islamophobia the attention and prioritization it deserves,” they added.

Twenty-five Democratic lawmakers signed onto the letter, including Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water Ohio becomes battleground for rival Democratic factions MORE (Mich.), Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBiden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia Democrats face daunting hurdles despite promising start MORE (Calif.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellMercedes-Benz going all-electric by 2025 Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes MORE (Mich.), Judy ChuJudy May ChuOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan MORE (Calif.) and Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenOmar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia Trump says being impeached twice didn't change him: 'I became worse' Five big questions about the Jan. 6 select committee MORE (Tenn).

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CNN was first to report on the letter.

The letter comes shortly after news broke that President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE would soon tap a State Department ambassador-at-large to head monitoring antisemitism. The news follows a surge in incidents targeting Jews and Jewish institutions seen in recent weeks amid increased tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made the announcement during a national Jewish conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Weeks prior to the announcement, Blinken also told lawmakers in June that he anticipated a candidate committed to combatting antisemitism would be brought before the Senate “very soon.” 

The comments followed months after Congress elevated a top envoy within the State Department to an ambassador ranking with a similar function in January.