Senate and Congress Condemn Muslim and Arab Discrimination
By Neveen A. Salem
WASHINGTON, Sept 15 (Islam Online) -The U.S. Senate unanimously voted Friday to pass Senate Joint Resolution 23, introduced by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Orrin Hatch R-UT), Russell Feingold (D-WI), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), reported the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). It states that "the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, should be protected," and "condemn[s] any acts of violence or discrimination against any Americans, including Arab Americans and Muslim Americans."
After a meeting with Arab Americans, Attorney General John Ashcroft also reiterated condemnation of attacks, hate crimes and discrimination of Muslims and people of Arab descent saying, "We must not descend to the level of those who perpetrated Tuesday's violence by targeting individuals based on race, religion, or national origin," according to ADC.
Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), John Edwards (D-NC), and Feingold have also issued messages of official support. Representatives Jim Moran (R-VA) and David Bonior (D-MI) have also stood strongly by American Muslims and Arabs.
In a press release issued by his office, Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) defended
the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab Americans and
Muslims, saying they should be protected, relayed the American Muslim Council (AMC):
From the firebomb attack on a mosque in Denton, Texas, to the persecution of a man of Arab descent who was attacked and called a terrorist as he walked down the streets of Manhattan, history has taught us that bigotry will not bring back what we have lost, and serves only to divide us. In the wake of this week's tragic events, we must not repeat the mistakes made following the attack on Pearl Harbor, when innocent Americans were persecuted simply because of their ancestry.
Just as Americans are united against the terrorists and their co-conspirators who carried out the attacks on our nation, we must also be united against acts of hate against innocent Arab Americans and Muslim Americans. Tolerance and diversity have always been at the heart of our strength as a nation. We are one nation, one people, with one destiny.
The Concurrent Congressional Resolution reads as follows:
To express the sense of Congress that the civil rights of Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims should be protected at all times, and particularly during this time of domestic and international turmoil in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and for other purposes.
Whereas Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims have joined their fellow Americans in condemning the horrific terrorist attacks
in New York and Washington, and are engaged in the rescue and support efforts throughout the nation;
Whereas approximately Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims are integral members of our neighborhoods, schools and communities, with sons and daughters who have fought and died for our nation's freedom as members of the United States armed forces;
Whereas acts of bigotry, harassment and violence against Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims have been reported nationwide following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, forcing the closure of places of worship, community centers and businesses;
Whereas the federal Bureau of Investigations is responsible for protecting civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens;
Whereas the violation of an individual's civil rights based on ethnicity, national origin or religion is repugnant and clearly violates the Constitution and laws of the United States: Now, therefore, be it;
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that -
1) all Members condemn any acts of bigotry, violence or discrimination against Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims and calls upon Americans of every faith and heritage to stand together in this time of national crisis;
2) all government agencies should avoid activities that encroach upon the civil rights and civil liberties of citizens or legal residents of the United States;
3) the civil rights and civil liberties of all Americans, including Arab-Americans and Muslims, should be protected at all times, particularly during times of domestic and international turmoil;
4) the Federal Bureau of Investigations should investigate hate crimes against all Americans, including Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims; and
5) the Federal Bureau of Investigations should work with federal, State and local government agencies and community leaders to prevent, investigate and report hate crimes and related crimes against Arab-Americans, South Asians and American Muslims and other minorities.
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