Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is leading a group of lawmakers in calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia.
Omar, one of three Muslims serving in Congress, is sending a letter to Blinken to make the case for why the United States needs to play a heightened role in monitoring Islamophobic incidents around the world. The lawmakers also pointed to a recent annual report released by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in which the office identified multiple countries with “patterns of mistreatment and human rights violations against either their entire Muslim populations or particular sects of Muslims.”
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The lawmakers went on to strongly urge Blinken to establish the new role dedicated to combatting Islamophobia, calling it “a genuinely global problem that the United States should tackle globally.” They also called for the secretary “to specifically include anti-Muslim violence per se in next year’s annual human rights reports.”
“It is past time for the United States to stand firmly in favor of religious freedom for all, and to give the global problem of Islamophobia the attention and prioritization it deserves,” they added. The letter comes shortly after news broke that President Biden would soon tap a State Department ambassador-at-large to head monitoring antisemitism.
The news follows a surge in incidents targeting Jews and Jewish institutions seen in recent weeks amid increased tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made the announcement during a national Jewish conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.