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Thursday, March 23, 2023

House of Representatives debate on Islamophobia escalates into attack on Muslim MP

WASHINGTON – House efforts to pass the anti-Muslim fanaticism bill have been linked to this bias, in which the right-wing Republican from Pennsylvania accused the bill co-sponsor, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, of being anti-Semitic and nourishing terrorist sympathies. …

Representative Scott Perry, the new leader of the ultra-conservative Freedom House of Representatives, criticized the move, which will create a new post of special envoy to the State Department to combat “Islamophobia and incitement to Islamophobia.” But his harshest words were directed at Ms. Omar, one of two Muslim women in the House of Representatives and a co-author of the measure.

“American taxpayers should not be forced to pay terrorist organizations, organizations affiliated with the originator of this bill, such as the one innocently complicit in the largest terrorist financing case in the history of the United States of America,” Perry said.

The attack was an intricate reference to a case over a decade ago against the Holy Land Foundation, an Islamic charity that was convicted in 2008 of funding Islamic militant groups. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, was one of nearly 250 organizations and individuals identified as complicit in the conspiracy.

The federal government at the time said it had put the organizations on the list to collect evidence for the trial, but the district court and federal appeals court ruled that it was a mistake to publish the list. A decade later, a council modeled on the Anti-Defamation League honored Ms. Omar when she spoke to her California chapter.

Mr. Perry did not provide any of this information. MP Debbie Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and an ally of Ms. Omar, immediately took steps to delete Mr. Perry’s words from the official minutes of the debate, with the result that the floor in the House of Representatives was halted. In the end, Mr. Perry was banned from performing again on Tuesday night.

The resulting confusion has highlighted the chasm between the two parties, as Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives are trying to defuse a fiery problem of bigotry. The anti-Muslim bias law was promulgated four weeks after a video appeared in which MP Lauren Bobert, a Republican from Colorado, suggested that Ms. Omar might be a suicide bomber, calling her a member of the “jihad squad.”

Several Democrats wanted their leaders to punish Ms. Bobert by stripping her of her committee powers, but the leaders chose not to. They have already done so with two other Republicans this year, Representatives Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said further action could be taken against Ms. Bobert.

Ms. Pelosi said Tuesday night that she hoped the House of Representatives would “unite in a spirit of unity” on a bill to combat Islamophobia. Instead, she said, there followed “an attack on the faith of one of our members.”

House Republican leaders condemned the bill, saying it would create what they called a redundant office in the State Department, and since “Islamophobia” was not clearly defined, they suggested that such a new office could be used for Israel’s policing efforts. countering Islamist organizations like Hamas.

MP Andy Barr, a Republican from Kentucky, called him “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

World Nation News Desk
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