Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 June 2019

US passes 'historic' resolution condemning anti-Muslim bigotry

The bill also rebuked anti-Semitism and other forms of hateful intolerance

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) walks from the House Chamber after a House vote on a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and bigotry, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 7, 2019. AFP
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) walks from the House Chamber after a House vote on a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred and bigotry, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 7, 2019. AFP

The House passed a resolution on Thursday condemning anti-Semitism, discrimination against Muslims and other bigotry against minorities.

The 407-23 vote Thursday was a bid to end dissension among Democrats over congresswoman Ilhan Omar's latest remarks on Israel. Omar said the Jewish state's allies pressure lawmakers to pledge "allegiance" to a foreign country.

Some lawmakers wanted Ms Omar implicitly rebuked with a measure condemning anti-Semitism. But others said the resolution should condemn discrimination against Muslims, too.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Omar didn't intend the remark to be anti-Semitic.

Democrats have long been split over the US-Israeli relationship. But the developments seem to highlight a divide that's as generational as it is ideological. The dynamics on Israel have seeped into the party's fight over the 2020 presidential nomination.

"It's not about her. It's about these forms of hatred," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote.

The resolution approved Thursday condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination and bigotry against minorities "as hateful expressions of intolerance." Omar, a Somali-American, and fellow Muslims Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Andrew Carson of Indiana, issued a statement praising the "historic" vote as the first resolution to condemn "anti-Muslim bigotry."

Some Democrats complained that Omar's comments on Israel had ignited all this debate while years of President Donald Trump's racially charged rhetoric had led to no similar congressional action.

The seven-page document details a history of recent attacks not only against Jews in the United States but also Muslims, as it condemns all such discrimination as contradictory to "the values and aspirations" of the people of the United States. The vote was delayed for a time on Thursday to include mention of Latinos to address concerns of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It was inserted under a section on white supremacists who "weaponise hate for political gain" over a long list of "traditionally persecuted peoples."

An earlier version focused more narrowly on anti-Semitism. The final resolution did not mention Omar by name.

Updated: March 8, 2019 08:49 AM

SHARE

SHARE