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Muslim Advocates Responds to Trump’s Dishonest, Anti-Muslim Attacks on Ilhan Omar

Deceitful Smears Against Omar Reflect Ongoing Pattern of Bigoted Attacks Against Muslims in Politics

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Muslim Advocates condemned President Trump’s inciteful, dishonest, anti-Muslim attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar.

“President Trump, congressional Republicans and some in the media have cynically distorted a line from a three-week-old speech given by Rep. Omar in which she correctly noted that American Muslims’ civil liberties were restricted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks,” said Muslim Advocates Executive Director Farhana Khera. “As a Senate staffer who had to flee from the Hart Senate Building that morning, I understand the gravity of that day. And as an American Muslim who has spent years defending the civil rights of my community, I know that Rep. Omar’s statement represents the reality for many American Muslims since that tragic event. The political attacks on Rep. Omar are straight from a familiar playbook used by a cottage industry of anti-Muslim hate groups, and promoted by public officials and media outlets, since shortly after 9/11 that seeks to demonize and marginalize American Muslims for political gain. All leadership in both parties should unequivocally condemn this attack, which puts Rep. Omar in harm’s way, seeks to silence her voice and trafficks in bigotry against Muslims. Congressional leaders’ silence not only fails Rep. Omar, but all Americans.”

Muslim Advocates has studied and documented the ongoing phenomenon of anti-Muslim attacks in U.S. politics. Our report, Running on Hate, thoroughly chronicles the false, bigoted, anti-Muslim conspiracies and attacks that have been deployed against American Muslims in public life. The report notes that:

  • Trump mainstreamed overt anti-Muslim campaigns by propagating an anti-Muslim conspiracy that has lived on the fringes of political debate since 9/11: That Muslims are inherently violent and foreign, sympathetic to terrorism or are members of a Muslim conspiracy to take over government (Page 6).
  • These attacks often move to the point of denying Islam is a religion–instead painting the faith of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims as a political ideology–and thus Muslims should be banned from office or the country, denied basic rights and freedoms, tracked, surveilled and even killed. (Page 6-7).
  • Polling and field focus groups revealed that anti-Muslim attacks appeal to about 10-20 percent of voters who believe in unhinged conspiracy theories. The clear majority of voters preferred pro-religious freedom messages that are explicitly inclusive of Muslims (Pages 18-21).

Farhana Khera is available for interviews. If you would like to schedule an interview with her, please contact eric@muslimadvocates.org or call (202) 670-9560.

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.

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