The Problems with Ilhan Omar’s Anti-Islamophobia Bill

Jan. 27 2022

At the end of last year, the House of Representatives passed the Combating International Islamophobia Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which would establish a State Department envoy to monitor prejudice against Muslims. The Iranian-born journalist and activist Masih Alinejad urges the Senate to reject the bill:

There is no question that the U.S. government should act to defend Muslims overseas wherever it sees crimes being committed against them—as in the cases of the Uyghurs in China or the Rohingya in Myanmar. But the U.S. government is already doing these things, and without needing to establish a new office of the kind that Omar is calling for. [Yet] creating a mandate to monitor Islamophobia comes with its own risks. The legislation does not provide a clear definition of Islamophobia, nor does it make any clear effort to exempt the crimes of Islamist states against their own people. Is criticism of the Taliban a form of Islamophobia? What about criticism of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Can one criticize Hamas or Hizballah as terrorist organizations?

The regimes that promote Islamist ideologies, such as those in Iran, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, have armies of well-paid consultants and lobbyists who can use the rights and freedoms offered in this country to undermine the principles that uphold those freedoms. I fear that the legislation sponsored by Omar will play into the hands of those who wish to curtail free debate and criticism.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “phobia” as an “exaggerated fear” or “an intolerance or aversion.” But many women who live in countries such as Iran, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia have a rational fear of sharia laws.

Even before this legislation was introduced, many Iranian dissidents were feeling pressure from U.S. social-media platforms to tone down their criticisms of Iran and the Taliban. Some activists have seen their social-media posts removed, their accounts suspended. Criticizing the ugly practices of Islamists all too often earns you a demerit. If you criticize some aspect of Islam, you receive death threats from the zealots—and censorship and cancellation from the well-meaning liberals who don’t want to offend anyone.

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Read more at Washington Post

More about: Ilhan Omar, Islamophobia

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy