Ilhan Omar’s Bill to Combat ‘Islamophobia’ Passes the House

Ilhan Omar’s bill requiring the State Department to combat “Islamophobia” has passed. Omar would like us to believe that “Islamophobia” is as much a threat around the world as antisemitism, and she wants the federal government to monitor, to report on, and to fight the spread of this “hatred.” A report on the bill she has co-sponsored can be found here: “House committee debates antisemitism as Islamophobia monitor bill moves forward,” by Ron Kampeas, Jerusalem Post, December 11, 2021:

A bill that would create an Islamophobia monitor in much the same cast as the State Department’s antisemitism monitor cleared its first hurdle on Friday, after a House committee debate about antisemitism.

The bill, whose lead sponsors were Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., one of three Muslims in Congress, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who is Jewish, was approved Friday by the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee along party lines, with the majority of Democrats voting for it. It now goes to the House floor.

Ilhan Omar has persuaded – some might say inveigled — a Jewish Congresswoman to join her in co-sponsoring the bill. This is her standard technique for avoiding charges of antisemitism, to “reach out” to liberal Jews who are insufficiently wary of her wiles and guiles, to join her in whatever mischief she is up to. Her latest effort is to make Congress believe that “Islamophobia” — so often invoked, so rarely defined — really is such a major problem worldwide that it needs a special office in the federal government to monitor it.

Etymologically, “Islamophobia” means the “irrational fear or hatred of Islam.” But “Islamophobia” is a word that was invented not to describe that “irrational fear or hatred of Islam and of Muslims,” but in order to shut down any criticism of Islam, no matter how justified. The word is now affixed to anyone who dares to suggest that the large-scale presence of Muslims in non-Muslim lands, given the refusal of many Muslims to integrate into the larger society, and instead remain hostilely aloof from it, is worrisome. The word is affixed as well to anyone who dares to suggest that the Qur’an is full of violent passages, such as 2:191-193, 3:151, 4:89, 8:12, 8:60, 9:5, 9:29, 47:4, where Muslims are instructed to “fight” and to “kill” and to “smite at the necks of” and to “strike terror in the hearts of” Infidels. It is affixed to those who remind us that the Qur’an describes Muslims as “the best of peoples” (3:110) and non-Muslims as “the most vile of created beings” (98:6). It is affixed to those who point out that Muhammad married his favorite, and last, wife when she was six, and consummated the marriage when she was nine, and as a consequence many Muslims have similarly taken very young brides. It is affixed to those who mention that Muhammad, considered by Muslims to be the “Perfect Man” and “Model of Conduct,” asked aloud for someone to rid him of three people who had mocked him – Asma bint Marwan, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, and Abu Afak — and his followers dutifully murdered, seriatim, all three.

During an extended committee debate on Thursday, Republicans argued that there was no need to track Islamophobia, and that the monitor position would be used as an instrument to oppress conservatives. They also said that it would undercut the fight against antisemitism — and even encourage antisemites.

There is no need to track “Islamophobia,” given the only legitimate meaning of that word – an “irrational hatred or fear of Islam” — because in the world today, we find many reasons to consider such a fear perfectly rational. Since 9/11, there have been over 40,000 separate terror attacks committed by Muslims all over the globe, against Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’is, Yazidis, and even Muslims who are of a different sect, or of the right sect, but deemed insufficiently devout. It is not irrational to fear a faith whose “Perfect Man” boasted in one hadith that “I have been made victorious through terror,” and in another that “War is deceit.” This “Model of Conduct” (uswa hasana) also took part in the slaughter of 600-900 bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe in Mecca. He took part in the slaughter, too, of the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar oasis, claiming as part of his plunder the Jewish girl Saafiya, after her father, brother, and husband had been murdered by Muhammad’s fighters. When Muslims of the Islamic State murdered the Yazidi men, and took their women and girls as sex slaves, they were following the example of the “Perfect Man.” Is it “irrational” to fear a faith that presents Muhammad as a model – the “Perfect Man” — to emulate? Are we “irrational” when we fear a faith that animates such violent groups as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shebab, Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, and dozens more? Is it irrational to be alarmed by the “No-Go” neighborhoods in Europe, where Muslims make life difficult and dangerous for non-Muslims, including even firemen and policemen? These fears are not irrational but sensible. Yet anyone who expresses misgivings about the effect of a growing Muslim presence in Europe is immediately described as “Islamophobic” and both “extreme far-right” and “racist” (though Islam is not a race) for good measure.

Democrats pushed back, saying that the US government was capable of simultaneously tracking and exposing both bigotries. Notably, Jewish Democrats on the committee were among the first to speak in the bill’s defense, a showing that underscored their argument that an Islamophobia monitor would complement and not undercut the antisemitism monitor.

These Jewish Democrats persist in believing, or claiming to believe, that “Islamophobia” is something more than a means to shut down all criticism, no matter how justified, of Islam. They are willing to do this, it seems, in order to virtue-signal something along the idiotic lines of “we who know full well the evils of antisemitism must stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters in their times of peril.” Nauseating.

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There is no comparison to be made between the oldest hatred, antisemitism, that Jews have endured in the Christian world for two thousand years, and for 1400 years in the Islamic one. Antisemitism was responsible, within living memory, for the murders of six million Jews, and “Islamophobia,” a word that has appeared only within the last few decades, in order to silence all criticism of Islam and of Muslims, no matter how sober and thoughtful and fact-based that criticism may be.

In the Western world, wherever large numbers of Muslim migrants have settled in recent decades, the result of that sudden influx has been to create a situation that for the indigenous non-Muslims, and for other, non-Muslim, immigrants, is more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would be the case without that large-scale Muslim presence.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who is Jewish, noted the pivotal role a letter from George Washington to a community of Jews in Rhode Island played in making the United States a safe haven for Jews.

“And so, religious freedom was born in my home state in Touro Synagogue in those words from the first president of the United States,” Cicilline said. “And so we should be very proud of that tradition, and making sure that no one suffers discrimination, because of their religious tradition, is central to that. This is not about ‘pick one,’ we should of course condemn and have condemned and will continue to condemn antisemitism and the rise of it.”

The word “Islamophobic” – let’s keep repeating — is not used mainly to describe those who “discriminate against Muslims,” for there are so few cases of those, but, rather, employed to malign those non-Muslims who actually study Islam. When these report their findings on the texts and teachings of Islam, they are called “Islamophobes.” When they adduce the historical evidence, from 1400 years of Muslim conquests of many lands and many peoples, of the mistreatment suffered by those many peoples, they are called “Islamophobes.” When they report that upon being conquered, non-Muslims were offered by the victorious Muslims only three choices: death, or immediate conversion to Islam, or acceptance of the permanent status of the dhimmi, subject to many political, economic, and social disabilities, including the payment of the onerous jizyah, a tax imposed on non-Muslims to buy “protection” from the Muslims themselves, they are again called….”Islamophobes.”

The bill’s defenders cited ongoing persecution of Muslims in China, Myanmar, India and elsewhere as an impetus. The monitor position, like the one that tracks antisemitism. worldwide, would have no enforcement mechanism. It would be designated only to monitor bigotry overseas, not domestically.

Of all the examples of “Islamophobia” that are adduced by Ilhan Omar and her fellows, the only one that really qualifies is the Chinese policy of herding Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang into re-education camps, confiscating Qur’ans that are not the officially approved versions distributed by the Chinese government, closing many mosques, outlawing “religious” beards and Muslim first names..

Whether it is the atrocities being committed against the Uyghurs in China and the Rohingya in Burma, the crackdowns on Muslim populations in India and Sri Lanka, the scapegoating of Muslim refugees and other Muslims in Hungary and Poland, the acts of white supremacist violence targeting Muslims in New Zealand and Canada, or the targeting of minority Muslim communities in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bahrain, and Iran — the problem of Islamophobia is global in scope,” Omar said Friday in praising the advance of the bill.

Other Jewish Democrats speaking in defense of the bill included Ted Deutch of Florida, Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, and Andy Levin of Michigan.

But Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, argued that a monitor for Islamophobia would undercut the work of the antisemitism monitor.

To suggest that Islamophobia is on par with antisemitism is to dramatically understate and even trivialize the historic and pervasive nature that makes antisemitism such a difficult problem to overcome,” said Chabot. “We should avoid such a dangerous false equivalency at all cost as it could be used by some extremists to actually justify further antisemitic activity.”

Cicilline said “no one is suggesting equivalence.”

But that’s exactly what Ilhan Omar is suggesting. She wants a bill to monitor “Islamophobia” that will track the language setting up the government’s “antisemitism” monitor. She wants to convince us that “Islamophobia” is equally virulent, irrational, and dangerous as antisemitism.

Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, a Jewish Republican, focused less on the bill’s content and more on its author, Omar, who has faced criticism from fellow Democrats as well as Republicans for remarks seen as antisemitic.

My colleague who introduces today’s resolution has made a number of statements deeply offensive, has taken a number of foreign policy positions that many on this committee and in Congress and in our country have issue with,” Zeldin said. “And when the statements were specifically targeting people who are Jewish, our nation’s great ally in Israel.”

He also said the bill too broadly defined Islamophobia. The bill’s authors, Omar and Schakowsky, used the 2003 law that established an antisemitism monitor as a template.

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida, said he feared the Biden administration would use the bill to attack Americans.

“That’s the whole point of this,” Mast said. “Let’s create an office of attack for people speaking about their concerns.”

The critics of Ilhan Omar note that she has made many remarks deemed antisemitic, including her claim that Jews “buy” pro-Israel votes in Congress – “It’s all about the benjamins, baby.” She has supported BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), that attempts to delegitimize and thereby weaken the Jewish state. She has denounced Israel as an “apartheid” regime. She has accused Israel of deliberately killing civilians in Gaza.

None of that matters. The bill setting up an “Islamophobia” monitor will pass – no Democrats want to be perceived as soft on “haters.” The Republicans are talking sense, but the Democrats have the votes. One more defeat for common sense. One more victory for the nonsense and lies to protect Islam that the Western world seems determined to believe.

This article by Robert Spencer originally appeared on JihadWatch.org and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.