Jayapal Leads Members of Congress in Denouncing Anti-Muslim Marches

June 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), joined by House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (NY-14), Ranking Member John Conyers, (MI-13), Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Amnesty International USA, and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) denounced anti-Muslim protests planned by the far-right group ACT for America.

ACT for America is identified as an extremist, anti-Islam organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group plans to hold anti-Muslim protests in cities across the United States on Saturday, June 10.

“It is vital that elected officials confront hate, wherever it appears, with action and love; condemn attacks on minorities; and reaffirm that our communities are welcoming to all,” said Rep. Jayapal. “Recent stabbings in Portland are only the latest manifestation of a well-documented surge in hate crimes that has coincided with the rise of Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim agenda. We pledge to double down on our moral obligation to fight injustice, to hold this administration accountable for its role in furthering hate and to be there for those who are afraid and suffering from hate crimes. Our strength is in our numbers and we are many. Together, we will build a hate free America.”

“These anti-Muslim protests run counter to the values and highest ideals of our nation,” said Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer. “Not only do they threaten our principles, but they make America less safe by emboldening our enemies and creating a potential recruiting tool. I thank Rep. Jayapal for her leadership pushing back against these protests and I join her in condemning them in the strongest possible terms.”

“We must ensure that the United States remains a model for religion tolerance and human rights by rejecting efforts to demonize Islam and the Muslim-American community in Queens, the Bronx or across the country. Hate runs counter to everything we stand for as Americans and I applaud Congresswoman Jayapal for her leadership on this issue,” House Democratic Chairman Joe Crowley.

“The marches against Sharia this weekend are a sickening attempt to instill fear in our Muslim friends and neighbors and to create panic about Muslims in everyone else. Unfortunately, this is the new normal that President Donald Trump has created. Hateful, racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic groups feel more and more comfortable gathering publicly to target and attack others for their identities and religious beliefs. That’s why I was proud to stand up with Rep. Jayapal and the rest of my colleagues today, to stand with American Muslims, defend freedom of religion in our country and reject the hatred espoused by groups like ACT for America,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

“Religious freedom and liberty is a core tenet of being an American. By singling out members of our communities based on race and religion, these marches run counter to everything we stand for as Americans,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell. “My home in Dearborn, Michigan, is home to one of the largest populations of Arab Americans in the country. These men and women are our friends, neighbors, teachers, doctors and valued community leaders, and some of the best and most patriotic Americans I know. We cannot allow fear and hatred to divide us. We must stand united against hate, discrimination and Islamophobia, which have no place in America.”

“The Islamic community is an important part of the rich cultural fabric of our diverse United States,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego. “The hateful rhetoric spread by groups like ACT for America is designed to spark fear and incite violence. We each have a responsibility to condemn bigotry and to reject policies that treat any one race or religion as inherently suspect.”

“Diversity is the cornerstone of our democracy. We are not the land of the free for only some people.  We are a nation built on the principle of ‘liberty and justice for all.’ As Dr. Martin Luther King has stated; ‘An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ We must continue to speak out against injustices of hateful words and actions. I call on all Americans who truly believe in this great country to stand up and use your voice to promote a hate free America,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence.

“ACT for America is a hate group. Representative Jayapal and the Members of Congress who joined her today stand for an America united against hate. For me, rejecting hate and joining with a unifier like the Congresswoman is the easy, patriotic choice.” said Corey Saylor, Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“All over the world, we’ve seen what happens when governments encourage hate and fail to protect vulnerable communities. We will not stand idly by while the Trump administration turns its back on human rights and promotes an agenda of hate and fear. Amnesty International USA stands with Rep. Jayapal and other members of Congress who are fighting back against hate, ” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA.

"SAALT stands united with our Muslim, Arab and Middle Eastern American sisters and brothers in opposition to ACT for America’s planned hate-fueled series of Islamophobic rallies on June 10. These events serve only to manufacture hate and suspicion and encourage outright violence against the nation’s already-embattled Muslim American communities, as well as South Asian Americans writ large. We call on all elected and appointed officials to denounce the June 10 events and all attacks against our communities as indefensible and incompatible with the core values of this country. Our democracy deserves better than this," said Sonia Kotecha, South Asian Americans Leading Together.

According to the latest FBI crime data, hate crimes against Muslims spiked by 67 percent in 2015 and hate crimes increased by seven percent across the board. Attacks against Hindu, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, South Asian communities and communities of color everywhere have been on the rise. A 2017 report released by SAALT found levels of xenophobic rhetoric by political figures and hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern and Arab communities rose more than 30 percent in 2016 compared with a combined three-year period between 2011 and 2014. The Southern Poverty Law Center has found that the number of hate groups in the United States grew for a second year in a row in 2016, to 917 from 892 the previous year.