Omar’s crusade: Challenging the rise of Islamophobia

WASHINGTON, USA, (Caasimada Online) – On Thursday, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution condemning Islamophobia worldwide and commemorating the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, which claimed the lives of more than 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand.

Co-sponsored by 20 Democratic members of Congress, the measure was introduced on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and one week after the UN observed its first annual day to combat Islamophobia.

At a press conference held at the US Capitol, Omar noted, “This year, [Ramadan] is also a time of increasing terror and attacks against our Muslim brothers and sisters across this country and around the world.”

A growing concern

In 2022, the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported over 6,000 cases of bias against Muslims, encompassing immigration and workplace discrimination, government overreach, and incarceree rights.

The UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion published a report in 2021 stating that suspicion, discrimination, and hatred towards Muslims had escalated to “epidemic proportions,” citing France and India as examples.

Similarly, a Canadian government report revealed a 71% increase in attacks against Muslims in 2021.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a co-sponsor of the measure, acknowledged during Thursday’s press conference, “We all know that we have so much more work to do to combat racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and hateful policies that fuel it.”

A previous attempt

In 2021, Omar proposed a different resolution addressing anti-Muslim sentiment aimed at establishing a US envoy for Islamophobia, mirroring the existing one for antisemitism. The bill passed the House in December 2021 but awaits a Senate vote.

The newly introduced resolution comes on the heels of the fourth anniversary of the Christchurch mosque attacks, which occurred on 15 March 2019.

In these attacks, a lone gunman dressed in camouflage gear and armed with assault rifles and shotguns killed 51 worshippers and seriously wounded over 40 others across two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Before the attacks, a manifesto was posted on the 8chan internet forum, revealing the assailant’s intention to target a small Muslim community to send a global message.

Muslim leaders worldwide condemned the attacks, attributing them to politicians and media outlets promoting Islamophobic rhetoric and a global rise in white supremacy.

A call for unity

Omar emphasized the global impact of the Christchurch attacks in a statement on Thursday, saying, “The attack in Christchurch, motivated by an extremist ideology of white supremacy, anti-Muslim hate, and the so-called replacement theory, resonates deeply for Muslims in nearly every corner of the globe.”

The congresswoman also pointed out the broader implications of rising hate, noting, “We also know that this increase in hate is not isolated to only Muslims.

Church bombings, synagogue attacks, and racial hate crimes are also rising. In order to confront the evils of religious bigotry and hatred, we must understand that all our destinies are linked.”