After President Donald Trump introduced his January executive order banning travel to the United States from seven Muslim majority countries, Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced HR 852, mistitled “The Freedom of Religion Act of 2017.” The legislation would ensure that a foreigner could not be denied admission to the US because of his religion.
Mint Press News (h/t Dallas B) Introducing the legislation in a February press conference with multiple Congressional Democrats, Beyer emphasized the bill’s important messages of ending religious discrimination in the wake of Trump’s presidency. But, just over five months later, HR 852 has stalled, unable to obtain the support of a single Congressional Republican.
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) explained why she backed the legislation, telling The New Arab: “These are just fundamental American values that we don’t discriminate based on religion, certainly not here at home.” While the bill does not mention the word Islam or Muslims once, Schakowsky noted that the legislation was in response to Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
The bill has received the support of 113 DEMOCRAT ONLY Members of Congress – out of 435 – including a Hamas-supporting Muslim representative who is Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Keith Ellison (D-MN), John Lewis (D-GA) who pushed for Ellison’s nomination as chairman of the DNC, and ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Elliot Engel, a Muslim apologist who is Jewish (D-NY).
The issue of discrimination against Muslims goes beyond the travel ban. According to CNN, anti-Muslim hate attacks have increased by 67 percent, recently reaching their highest levels since the September 11 attacks. (What they fail to clarify is that the vast majority of those so called “anti-Muslim hate attacks” are verbal name-calling, graffiti, or signs)
“The discouraging part is that the country has not matured far enough or understood that we have Muslim-Americans that have just as much right to our respect and a place in our society as Christian-Americans and Jewish-Americans,” Beyer explained. (They need to earn that respect and they haven’t)
Before proposing the seven-country travel ban, in December 2015, then-candidate Trump pushed for an even more far-reaching policy. Trump “called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”.
Muslims in America continue to demonstrate that either they have no understanding of what the First Amendment is or they have a wilful disregard for what it allows.
Arsalan Suleman, former acting US envoy to the radical Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), expressed frustration with the attitudes shown by many Republican Congressmen. “It’s a reflection of the hyper-partisan environment that we have right now that something that should be very obvious and easy to sign onto is viewed somewhat with suspicion or trepidation on the part of people on the other side of the aisle from Representative Beyer,” Suleman noted.
Nos surprisingly, many Muslim activists reject this. Robert McCaw, director of government affairs at the designated terrorist group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), argued that the bill was about religious freedoms, in response to “Republicans trying to curb the religious freedoms of Muslims traveling to the US. They can deny it all they want but rhetoric like preventing jihadists coming into America makes it clear that there is religious bias here.” (Who’s denying it? Most Americans don’t like Muslims, for obvious reasons)
Says McCaw, a convert to Islam, “It’s horribly disappointing. Year after year, we see Democrats support good measures that would protect the religious freedoms of all Americans including religious minorities but we don’t have Republican support,” McCaw said.
(That’s because we already have religious freedom in this country and Muslims can and do freely practice their religion here. What we don’t support is what that religion tells its followers to do to unbelievers in the name of Islam. And we will talk about it as much as we want)
But this isn’t the first time Democrats have tried to ignore the First Amendment by criminalizing criticism of Islam.
On December 17, 2015, the last day before Congress evacuated for their home districts, Democrats sponsored House Resolution 569. It not only condemned violence and bigotry against Muslims, but urged the Justice Department to find a way to prosecute those of us who critical of Islam.