News / USA

US Lawmakers Told Muslims Face Increased Discrimination

The US Capitol in Washington, DC
The US Capitol in Washington, DC

Multimedia

Michael Bowman

The Obama administration says Muslim-Americans continue to be prime targets for hate, abuse and discrimination, a situation that requires proactive efforts by authorities to combat.  Safeguarding the rights of Muslims in the United States was the focus of a hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

Nearly 10 years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, the incidents may no longer be fresh in America's collective consciousness, but the fallout for the nation's Muslim community remains all too real. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil Rights.

"Regrettably, we continue to see a steady stream of violence and discrimination targeting Muslim, Arab, Sikh, and South Asian communities," said Perez.  "In each city and town where I have met with [Muslim and other minority] leaders, I have been struck by the sense of fear that pervades their lives: fear of violence, bigotry, hate, discrimination."

Watch a Related TV Report by Mil Arcega

Perez says the abuse is particularly acute and painful for U.S.-born Muslim children.

"I consistently hear complaints that children face harassment in schools, that they are called terrorists and told to go home, even though this [the United States] is their home," added Perez.

Federal statistics show a substantial increase in hate crimes targeting Muslim-Americans since 2001. Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois placed part of the blame on political and religious figures in the United States who denigrate Islam.

"A leading member of Congress stated bluntly: 'There are too many mosques in this country.'  And even a prominent religious leader said Islam is 'wicked and evil.'  Such inflammatory speech from prominent public figures creates a fertile climate for discrimination," said Durbin.

Along with freedom of worship, freedom of speech is a cherished American civil right, even when words are used in objectionable ways. The balance of rights and responsibilities in a free society was the focus of comments by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who decried intolerance while stressing what he sees as a prime responsibility of Muslim-American citizens. Specifically, he called on Muslims to battle the spread of radical Islam.

"To the American Muslim community, I will stand with you as you practice your religion and you exercise your rights under the Constitution," said Graham.  "But I am asking you to get in this fight as a community, and let it be known to your young people that there are lines you will not cross. And there are radical messages being spread by people who would kill every moderate Muslim, Jew, Gentile and agnostic alike. That we are all in this together."

Last year saw a domestic terror plot to bomb New York's Times Square foiled thanks to a vigilant Muslim who alerted authorities, a fact that Senator Durbin was quick to highlight.

"Since 9/11, we have worked to combat terrorism," said Durbin.  "We continue to solicit and receive the support of many Muslim-Americans who love this nation and work with our government to protect it."

A 2010 study funded by the National Institute of Justice concluded that, although Muslim-Americans continue to be victims of bias and discrimination, the community has adopted self-policing practices to guard against radical ideology, and that the proportion of radicalized Muslim-Americans is extremely small.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid