53 Groups Write in Support of Islamophobia Envoy Bill, Urge Swift and Clean Approval by House Foreign Affairs Committee
December 8, 2018
The Honorable Gregory Meeks Chair
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Michael McCaul
U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
CC: Members and Staff Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
RE: Urging Swift and Clean Approval of Combating International Islamophobia Act (H.R.5665)
Dear Chairman Meeks and Ranking Member McCaul:
We, the 53 undersigned organizations, write to welcome the U.S. House Foreign Affairs
Committee's announced Thursday, December 9 markup of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Jan Schakowsky's Combating International Islamophobia Act (H.R.5665) – legislation to establish a special envoy office at the U.S. State Department to monitor and combat international Islamophobia. We respectfully request that all members of House Foreign Affairs Committee swiftly vote to approve the Combating International Islamophobia Act, without any amendments that would weaken or hinder the intended purpose of the legislation.
Voting in support of any amendment that would diminish the impact of this act or hurt the prospect of its final passage would be viewed unfavorably. During the act's markup, we also expect it to be discussed and debated with courtesy and respect. We strongly support the creation of a special envoy position for combating and monitoring Islamophobia as instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes continue to rise in the U.S. and
About the Combating International Islamophobia Act
H.R. 5665 would compel the State Department to develop a more comprehensive approach to fighting the global increase of Islamophobia, increasing its capacity to monitor and confront state and non-state actors worldwide and ensuring a safer environment for American Muslims.
The two primary aims of the Combating International Islamophobia Act are:
1. Establishing an Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia at the State Department headed by a Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Islamophobia.
2. Amending the Foreign Assistance Act and International Religious Freedom Act to require annual reporting on Islamophobia in each foreign country and the steps taken by that country to combat it through educational programing and public awareness
The United States currently monitors and combats religious persecution internationally. The Combating International Islamophobia Act would extend this mission to Islamophobia.
The act would also provide valuable information for understanding Islamophobia as a global phenomenon and give the U.S. a new tool to combat it.
While global Islamophobia, anti-Muslim state policies and hate incidents have increased, for the past two decades the American Muslim community has consistently called for the creation of a special envoy position to monitor and combat this rising tide of hate – the Combating International Islamophobia Act would make this special envoy position a reality.
Reasons to Support the Combating International Islamophobia Act:
In its 2021 annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) identified three Countries of Particular Concern primarily for their treatment of Muslims.
Several additional countries listed by USCIRF were identified as having patterns of mistreatment and human rights violations against either their entire Muslim populations or particular sects of Muslims. This includes several Muslim-majority countries.
State acts of persecution and violence against Muslims can be found in India and Burma – in addition to China, which the United States recognized as committing a genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic minority groups living the country's Uyghur region.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric, bigotry and acts of violence also go together with the rise of political parties that outwardly attack the rights of Muslims, especially in France and other parts of Europe.
Transnational white supremacist and Islamophobic hate group networks have also inspired their followers to commit acts of anti-Muslim violence and terrorism, including but not limited to the tragic summer 2021 murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario and the 2019 Christchurch, New Zealand Mosque shootings.
Again, we urge the House Foreign Affairs Committee to swiftly approve without any amendment the Combating International Islamophobia Act, which would provide valuable information for understanding Islamophobia as a global phenomenon and give the U.S. a new tool to combat it.
American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN) American Muslims for Palestine
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Americans for Justice in Palestine Action
Americans for Peace Now
Arizona Muslims Alliance
Central Valley Islamic Council
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice Church World Service
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
Friends of Sabeel North America
Human Rights First
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Indian American Muslim Council
International Islamophobia Studies Research Association Islamic Association of North America
Islamophobia Studies Center
Islamophobia Studies Journal
JAMAAT — Jews and Muslims and Allies Acting Together Jetpac Resource Center
Jewish Voice for Peace Action
Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste Libyan American Alliance
MPower Action Fund
Muslim American Society (MAS)
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Muslim Student Association West
Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA)
National Immigration Law Center
National Iranian American Council Action
Oxfam America. Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans Peace Action
Poligon Education Fund
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Support Life Foundation
The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign: Standing with American Muslims, Advancing American Ideals
Together We Serve
U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Veterans For Peace
Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center
Women Watch Afrika
Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
Yemeni American Merchants Association, Inc.