News / USA

US Lawmakers Told Muslims Face Increased Discrimination

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

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid