Ilhan Omar demands envoy to combat Islamophobia

Ilhan Omar leads Democrats call for envoy to tackle Islamophobia
2 min read
21 July, 2021
US Democrat Ilhan Omar is leading calls for the creation of a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.
Ilhan Omar is teaming up with other Democrats to tackle Islamophobia [Getty]

US Democrats led by Ilhan Omar are calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to appoint a special envoy to combat Islamophobia following a global uptick in attacks and abuses against Muslims.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar penned a letter requesting Blinken to make Islamophobia a priority, and to include state-sponsored Islamophobic violence in next year's annual human rights report.

"As part of our commitment to international religious freedom and human rights, we must recognize Islamophobia as a pattern that is repeating in nearly every corner of the globe," the Muslim lawmaker wrote in a letter.

Omar is joined by fellow Muslim Democrat Rashida Tlaib and 23 other Democrats in signing the letter.

The petition cites the 2021 annual US report on the Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) which found that China, India, and Myanmar exhibited "patterns of mistreatment and human rights violations against either their entire Muslim populations or particular sects of Muslims".

"It is past time for the United States to stand firmly in favour of religious freedom for all, and to give the global problem of Islamophobia the attention and prioritization it deserves."

Last month Canadian MPs unanimously adopted a motion calling to "convene an Emergency National Action Summit on Islamophobia" after a pick-up truck slammed into and killed four members of a Muslim family in the south of Canada's Ontario province, in what police was a "premeditated" attack.

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Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is accused of deliberately driving his pick-up truck into a family of Pakistani origin as they walked on a footpath in London, Ontario.

A nine-year old boy survived the attack but his parents, Salman Afzal, 46  and Madiha Afzali, 44 died alongside his 15-year-old sister Yumna and their 74-year -old grandmother, whose name has not been made public.

"This year has seen over 500 incidents of hate in the US — and those are just the ones that have been reported," Omar went on to add.

"In countries around the world - from China to India to Myanmar - Muslim communities are being discriminated against," the Congresswoman added. "We must all stand united against this horrific rise in hate."

In China, Uighur Muslims are reportedly interned in labour camps, forcibly sterilised, and abused in what human rights groups are calling one of the worst human rights crises in recent times.

Omar's letter comes after US President Joe Biden said he would soon reveal a State Department ambassador-at-large to lead antisemitism monitoring.