Posted on December 16, 2021

House Votes to Combat Islamophobia

Andrew Desiderio, Politico, December 14, 2021

The House on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at combating Islamophobia globally, amid an uproar over anti-Muslim rhetoric within the GOP conference that has exacerbated cross-party tensions.

Debate over the legislation devolved late Tuesday night when Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) falsely claimed Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a Somali-born Muslim, was “affiliated with” terrorist organizations, prompting Democrats to demand that his statements be removed from the congressional record. {snip}


The Omar-led bill would establish an office within the State Department, led by a presidential appointee, to monitor and report Islamophobia worldwide — modeled on a similar State Department office that combats anti-Semitism globally. It cleared the chamber on party lines, 219-212, with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans opposing.


Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he supports the “spirit and intent” of the bill. But he raised concerns that it could empower executive branch officials to crack down on protected speech because the word “Islamophobia” isn’t defined in the legislation.

“It’s so vague and subjective that it could be used against legitimate speech for partisan purposes,” McCaul said on the House floor.

President Joe Biden supports the legislation, the White House said earlier Tuesday. {snip}