Skip to Content

Press Releases

House Democrats Introduce Legislation Condemning Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Washington, December 17, 2015 | Thomas Scanlon (202 225 4376)
Following weeks of anti-Muslim bigotry and acts of hatred, Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Mike Honda (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and André Carson (D-IN), along with 63 original cosponsors, introduced legislation condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslim-Americans.

Following weeks of anti-Muslim bigotry and acts of hatred, Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Mike Honda (D-CA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and André Carson (D-IN), along with 63 original cosponsors, introduced legislation condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslim-Americans.

“We must show that we will not tolerate this anti-Muslim discrimination and that those who propagate it do not represent the melting-pot America that we celebrate,” said Rep. Don Beyer.  “These harmful words eventually lead to the very acts of violence many came to our country to escape in the first place.  It’s time Congress stood up to condemn these attacks which run contrary to American values.”

“America’s highest ideals include our protections for religious liberty and the celebration of our differences. It is a mistake to lump millions of peaceful, liberty-loving Muslim Americans together with the brutal zealots who are working continuously to hijack their faith,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur.  “Anti-Muslim speeches and statements only serve to divide us and pit Americans against one another. Bigotry and the violence it perpetrates are not worthy of the legacy of generations who have fought and sacrificed to make America the nation that it is today.”

“As we see many Americans expressing their fears, their leaders at every level have a special obligation to lead,” Congresswoman Norton said.  “The concerns of the American people about terrorism in civil society after Paris and San Bernardino are understandable, but embracing Islamophobia as a way to cope with those fears is not only unacceptable, but dangerous.  The main purpose of terrorism is to provoke division.  Terrorists lose when, instead, we embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

"The despicable rhetoric and violence on American Muslims is reprehensible and goes against everything this country stands for. Whether it’s a bomb threat on a mosque, a child bullied on a bus, or a slur painted on a building, hate is hate. And, each and every one of us has a duty as an American to speak out against discrimination and intolerance," said Rep. Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus. "I'm proud to join Congressman Beyer and my colleagues in introducing this resolution that sends a powerful message that the Congress stands behind our Muslim American communities and firmly against hate and intolerance."

“Muslim Americans are our friends, neighbors and colleagues.  Anti-Muslim rhetoric from our nation’s political candidates has damaging consequences for the lives of Muslim Americans,” said Rep. Betty McCollum.  “As elected officials, we must work to foster respect, civility and dignity towards all Americans and ensure that no citizen of our nation is persecuted or targeted because of their religious beliefs.”

“We must do everything we can to fight terrorism on all fronts, but we must take care not to give into bigotry, hate speech or tolerate hate crimes. Hateful rhetoric has real consequences. Every day, Muslim students, leaders and community members are threatened with violence—and some have been the victims of hate crimes,” said Rep. Mike Honda.  “Our country is better than this; we are a multiethnic, multi-religious, multicultural nation. Our diversity is what gives us strength—together with our respect for the Constitution, rule of law and the ideals of freedom that unites us. It is the responsibility of all to reject discrimination. I urge my colleagues in the House to support this resolution.”

“The United States was built by the belief in liberty, freedom, and equality for every person. These are the values we hold most dear – the truths we hold to be self-evident. When elected officials and political leaders build their platforms on hatred and bigotry, they do so at our country’s expense,” said Rep. Keith Ellison.  “Their rhetoric is not merely ignorant – it’s dangerous. And it is fundamentally un-American. Scapegoating a religious community shouldn’t be part of a candidate’s stump speech. Not in this country. This bill is a reminder to Americans of all faiths: the demagogues do not speak for everyone. That is not who we are.”

“The First Amendment safeguards our freedom to practice our faiths freely, but it does not give any person the right to cite religion in order to justify intolerance toward their fellow Americans,” said Rep. André Carson. “This holds true whether the victim of such intolerance is gay or straight, black or white, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or the member of any group.  Discrimination in any form is never acceptable anywhere in our country, which is why I am proud to help introduce this resolution which will help bring more attention to the harmful and ignorant acts that have been directed at Muslim Americans for far too long.”

The text of the House Resolution denouncing hate speech and hate crimes against Muslim-Americans follows:

Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.

Whereas the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric have faced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse because they were Muslim or believed to be Muslim;

Whereas the constitutional right to freedom of religious practice is a cherished American value and violence or hate speech towards any American community based on their faith is in contravention of our founding principles;

Whereas there are millions of Muslims in the United States, a community made up of many diverse beliefs and cultures, and both immigrants and native-born Americans;

Whereas this Muslim community is recognized as having made innumerable contributions to the cultural and economic fabric and well-being of American society;

Whereas hateful and intolerant acts against Muslims are contrary to the American values of acceptance, welcoming, and fellowship with those of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures;

Whereas these acts affect not only the individual victims but also their families, communities, and the entire group whose faith or beliefs were the motivation for the act;

Whereas Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing have been disproportionately targeted because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances;

Whereas the rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance plays into the false narrative spread by terrorist groups of Western hatred of Islam, and can encourage certain individuals to react in extreme and violent ways;

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) Expresses its condolences for the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes;

(2) Steadfastly confirms its dedication to the rights and dignity of all its citizens of all faiths, beliefs, and cultures;

(3) Denounces in the strongest terms the increase of intimidation, violence, vandalism, arson, and other hate crimes targeted against mosques, Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim;

(4) Recognizes that the Muslim community in the United States has made countless positive contributions to our society;

(5) Declares that the civil rights and civil liberties of all United States citizens, including Muslims in the United States, should be protected and preserved;

(6) Urges local and Federal law enforcement authorities to work to prevent hate crimes; and to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those perpetrators of hate crimes; and  

(7) Reaffirms the inalienable right of every citizen to live without fear and intimidation, and to practice their freedom of faith.