While acknowledging that thousands of individuals were unjustly targeted by the government on account of their faith, race, national origin, and immigration status in the two decades following the attack, the lawmakers also outline various forms of relief to support those affected by this hate
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced a Congressional Resolution today acknowledging the hate, discrimination, racism, and xenophobia that Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities across America continue to experience two decades after the September 11 attack. The lawmakers also acknowledge that individuals were targeted by the government on account of their faith, race, national origin, and immigration status. Additionally, they outline specific forms of relief to support those affected.
“We must fully condemn all manifestations and expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious bigotry while also finally acknowledging the climate of hate that Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities have experienced in the two decades since September 11, 2001,” said the Congresswomen. “As we acknowledge that our own government implemented harmful policies that unfairly profiled and targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities, we must also celebrate that these very communities have met these challenges with unwavering courage, strength, compassion, and resilience while uniting in the aftermath to advocate for civil and human rights — work which continues to this day to benefit all Americans.”
The resolution puts forward a series of recommendations to support those affected by the hateful profiling and targeting that has occurred during the 20 years since the September 11 attack. This includes:
- Creating an interagency task force to work with community-based organizations to review these government policies, investigate and document their impact, and dismantle those policies which continue to profile and unfairly target these communities.
- Holding hearings by congressional and civil rights bodies to explore the findings and recommendations of this interagency task force in consultation with and centering community-based organizations.
- Allocating resources to community-based organizations outside and independent of law enforcement that center the experiences and demands of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities to support the needs of victims of hate and state violence, including language support, mental health, comprehensive support, system navigation, and crisis response and recovery.
- Calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation to work together to study the impact of hate, government targeting, and profiling on physical and mental health.
Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities have long experienced discrimination and violence in the U.S., which intensified after the attacks. Just during the first week after the attack, community organizations documented 645 incidents of bias and hate against Americans perceived to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. This climate of hate also led to bullying and violence in their everyday lives and in their workplaces, businesses, community centers and houses of worship.
The government also targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Sikh communities with overreaching policing, surveillance, and criminalization policies that resulted in wrongful interrogation, coercion, detention, deportation, arrest, and incarceration. Principles like due process, presumption of innocence, and evidence of wrongdoing were replaced with humiliation, mob mentality, and guilt by association. Border officials and government authorities also cast aside constitutional rights and engaged in discriminatory searches and seizures. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and immigration authorities arrested and detained as many as 1,200 Muslims immediately after the September 11 attack, and none of these “special interest” detained people were ultimately indicted for terrorist activity. This hate and government targeting impacted the ability of these communities to exercise their constitutionally protected rights including to organize, speak, travel, and worship freely.
Today’s resolution is endorsed by local, state, and national organizations including American Friends Service Committee; American Immigration Lawyers Association; American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; API Equality-LA; Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC); Armenian-American Action Network; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF); Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF); Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders for Justice San Antonio, TX; Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC; Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus; Asian Law Alliance; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO; Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote); Borderlands for Equity; Center for Constitutional Rights; Center for Security, Race and Rights; Coalition for Civil Freedoms; CODEPINK; Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition; Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Florida; Defending Rights & Dissent; DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving; Empowering Pacific Islander Communities; Ensaaf; Grassroots Asians Rising; Immigration Hub; International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); Japanese American Citizens League; Jetpac Resource Center; Jewish Voice for Peace Action; Legacies of War; MAPS-AMEN (American Muslim Empowerment Network); MPower Change; Muslim Advocates; Muslim Justice League; National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association; National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF); National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development; National Council of Asian Pacific Americans; National Iranian American Council; National Japanese American Memorial Foundation; National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC); National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA); National Resource Center on Domestic Violence; National Urban Indian Family Coalition; Native Organizers Alliance; New York Immigration Coalition; No Muslim Ban Ever Campaign; North Carolina Asian Americans Together; OneAmerica; OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership in Ohio; Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA); Poligon Education Fund; Queer Crescent; Raksha, Inc; Restore The Fourth; Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Sikh Coalition; South Asian Americans Leading Together; The Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign; Veterans For Peace Chapter 168; Washington Against Nuclear Weapons; Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND); Yemeni Alliance Committee; Yemeni American Merchants Association.
“This resolution is a good step in acknowledging the serious and detrimental mistakes made as a nation in the aftermath of 9/11,” said Abed Ayoub, the National Legal & Policy Director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). “Hate crimes and discrimination faced by Arab, Muslims, and South Asians continue to this very day, and we need work collectively to push back against the hate. Additionally, for two decades the expansion of government surveillance and overreach under the guise of national security has gone almost completely unchecked; targeting primarily Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities. It is time Congress reins in the post 9/11 surveillance programs and restores our rights and liberties.”
“While we reflect on the pervasive hate and Islamophobia that has only deepened over the last 20 years, we must acknowledge the ways our own government has fueled harmful stereotypes and actively and systematically targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Sikh communities,” said Hammad Alam, the Staff Attorney & Program Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. “In the face of state-sponsored surveillance, profiling, racism, and exclusion, we will continue to defend our communities and work to dismantle the unjust policies that dehumanize and harm them.”
“This resolution is a critical step in acknowledging the government targeting of our communities which predates 9/11 but exponentially grew afterwards. As we witness the devastating impacts of the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress must support community-based organizations who are leading movements to fundamentally shift the foreign and domestic policies at the root of this violence,” said Fatema Ahmad, the Executive Director of Muslim Justice League. “Muslim Justice League will continue demanding an end to the programs built on Islamophobia, like CVE and fusion centers, which target Muslim, Black, and immigrant communities.”
“Like many communities, Iranian Americans have faced severe persecution in the aftermath of 9/11. Government rhetoric and policy towards our communities created a climate of hate in our country that continues to this day in the form of hate crimes, surveillance, bias in schools and the workplace, wrongful arrest, detention, deportation, and so much more,” said Donna Farvard, the Organizing Director of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). “We are proud of Reps. Jayapal, Omar, and Tlaib for introducing this powerful resolution as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to acknowledge the pain and harm our communities have experienced, to highlight our communities’ resilience, and to support those most impacted by this hate with tangible action.”
“Twenty years ago, our Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities experienced the acute pain of racist hate violence fueled by our country’s deeply entrenched polices of imperialism, surveillance, and racial profiling,” said Lakshmi Sridaran, the Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). “We are hopeful that this resolution will center the accountability of Members of Congress to rescind the policies of the War on Terror and truly ensure the safety of all communities of color.”
“Sikh, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities in the United States faced not only the shock and horror of 9/11 that all Americans experienced, but then an additional wave of targeted hate and discrimination for weeks, months, and years afterwards,” said Nikki Singh, the Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager at Sikh Coalition. “This resolution is an important recognition that our communities have persevered in the face of harmful bias from individuals and institutions over the past two decades–and that concrete policy action is still needed to even begin to repair the damage done.”
A copy of the resolution is available here.