US media is reporting Representative Ilhan Omar (D‑MN) is leading a group of 25 Democratic lawmakers in calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia. According to a CNN article:
July 20, 2021 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.
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The article further reports the group, which is co-led by Omar and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D‑Illinois) and was joined by 23 other Democrats, including Reps. Karen Bass (D‑California) and Rashida Tlaib (D‑Michigan) is looking for Blinken to establish a special envoy that mirrors prior efforts by other offices to investigate and fight anti-Semitism. In the letter, the group also called for the secretary to specifically include “anti-Muslim violence per se” in future human rights reports, arguing it was time for the US to „stand firmly in favor of religious freedom for all,“ and demanding to give the problem of Islamophobia attention and prioritization.
The letter was published on the same day as a report by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which cited new findings on the increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in the US. Rep. Omar joined CAIR leader Nihad Awad in speaking at a Washington, DC press conference that was held on this occasion, and where Omar reaffirmed her call for political action to combat Islamophobia. CAIR, a part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) in the US, describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time.
Rep. Omar has a history of working together with and delivering video messages for CAIR. The organization has repeatedly joined other groups with ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood in engaging Muslim citizens to participate in consultative meetings with legislative offices and state senators, highlighting the need to combat Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.
In November 2020, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that CAIR had issued a statement congratulating President Biden on his victory, vowing to hold the forthcoming administration accountable on Muslim inclusion and civil rights issues. In August 2021, the GIOR reported that CAIR commended Biden for appointing an Indian-American diplomat with a long history of GMB engagement to the post of United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department.
Reporting by the GIOR on Rep. Omar has included:
- A July 2020 report that Omar was one of the participants in a virtual conference that included then Presidential hopeful Joe Biden and two important leaders of the US Muslim Brotherhood.
- A December 2020 report that Omar was featured at a Palestinian advocacy conference whose sponsor is tied to US Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas support groups.
- An April 2021 report that Omar was among the supporters of a viral social media campaign protesting a proposal by the French senate to ban minors from wearing the hijab in public spaces.
- A July 2021 report that Omar joined a virtual gathering in connection with a Muslim congressional advocacy event hosted by a prominent US Muslim Brotherhood group.