Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) is introducing a resolution on Thursday commemorating the anniversary of the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 51 Muslims were killed in 2019, and condemning the rise of Islamophobia around the world.
The bill, first seen by HuffPost, will be introduced on the first day of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims across the globe fast from dawn to sundown.
“As we begin the holy month of Ramadan, we must reaffirm that all people of faith should have the right to worship without fear,” Omar told HuffPost in an emailed statement, noting that anti-Muslim hate crimes are at an all-time high.
“The attack in Christchurch, motivated by an extremist ideology of white supremacy, anti-Muslim hate, and the so-called replacement theory resonates deeply for Muslims in nearly every corner of the globe,” Omar’s statement read.
On March 15, 2019, an Australian far-right extremist stormed two mosques during Friday prayers and opened fire. He livestreamed the first attack on Facebook and admitted to police that his plan was to target more worshippers at a third mosque.
The following year, the government of New Zealand released a detailed report acknowledging that the country’s national security agencies failed to take the concerns of white supremacy and Islamophobia seriously.
“The events of the day were presaged by so many tell-tale signs of its coming, all of which were evident and all of which were ignored by those who had power to act,” said one Muslim New Zealander quoted in the report.
In a manifesto prior to the attack, the Australian mass shooter named a Norwegian terrorist who killed 77 people in a gun and bomb attack in 2011. The Norwegian terrorist was also influenced by anti-Muslim extremists in the U.S. and told his lawyers he was saving his country from Muslims.
In 2021, Omar and fellow Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia. The bill, titled the Combating International Islamophobia Act, passed the House that following December but stalled in the Senate.
Last week, the United Nations celebrated its first International Day To Combat Islamophobia.
“We also know that this increase in hate is not isolated to only Muslims. Church bombings, synagogue attacks, and racial hate crimes are also on the rise. In order to confront the evils of religious bigotry and hatred, we must come to understand that all our destinies are linked,” said Omar.
“That’s why I’m proud to lead my colleagues in condemning the rise in Islamophobia and affirming the rights of religious minorities in the United States and around the world.”