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CAIR Welcomes Thursday Markup of Islamophobia Envoy Bill, Urges Swift and Clean Approval by Foreign Affairs Committee  

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/6/21) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the announced Thursday, December 9 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) 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.   

In response to recent anti-Muslim and Islamophobic hate speech attacks targeting Congresswoman Omar by House Republican caucus members Reps. Lauren Boebert (CO) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) – CAIR is calling on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for a swift and clean markup of the Combating International Islamophobia Act, without the introduction of any amendments that would weaken the legislation.   

“CAIR welcomes the House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of the Combating International Islamophobia Act and calls for a swift and clean markup of the bill,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Robert S. McCaw. “Following Republican leadership’s failing to condemn Rep. Lauren Boebert’s incendiary Islamophobic attacks targeting bill sponsor Rep. Ilhan Omar, CAIR urges the committee to ensure the act is approved without any offence or attempts to water it down.”   

Introduced on October 21, the act is currently co-sponsored by 45 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-NY), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), who are subcommittee chairs of the Foreign Relations Committee.   

What The Combating International Islamophobia Act Does:   

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, 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 initiatives.   

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 the United States recognizing China’s genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims and other Turkic and religious minority groups who live in the Uyghur region of China.  
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. 

Widespread Support for The Combating International Islamophobia Act:  

The Combating International Islamophobia Act is also endorsed by more than 30 national organizations including: American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN), American Muslims for Palestine, Americans for Peace Now, Arizona Muslim Alliance, Bridges Faith Initiative, Center for Victims of Torture, Church World Service, Common Defense, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Human Rights First, ICNA Council for Social Justice (ICNA CSJ), IfNotNow, Indian American Muslim Council, International Islamophobia Studies Research Association, Islamophobia Studies Center, Islamophobia Studies Journal, Jetpac Resource Center, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Libyan American Alliance, MPower Change, Muslim American Society, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), National Immigration Law Center, Oxfam America, Poligon Education Fund, Revolutionary Love Project, Secure Justice, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), Together We Serve, U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, and Veterans For Peace.  

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.            

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.           

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CONTACT: CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530,; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ismail Allison, 202-770-6280, 

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