Republicans in Congress are holding up an “anti-Islamophobia” bill that was introduced by Representative Don Beyer (D-VA). The bill, inappropriately titled The Freedom of Religion Act of 2017 (HR 852), is framed as a push-back against President Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim-ban.” Failing to acknowledge that the president’s temporary travel ban restricts travel from just seven Muslim-majority countries deemed to be terrorist havens by the Obama administration, the activist piece of legislation aims to curb the executive branch’s ability to regulate federal immigration policy.
The bill posits that “an alien may not be denied admission or entry to the United States, or other immigration benefits, because of the alien’s religion, and for other purposes.”
First and foremost, foreign aliens are not provided with the same Constitutional benefits as U.S. citizens, so already Democratic Congressmen are on shaky waters. Second, Trump never banned an entire religion. He is targeting seven countries out of dozens of Islamic countries in the world. That’s hardly a “Muslim ban.” For instance, there’s no ban on Indonesia, the most populousMuslim-majority country in the world. Third, the phrase “for other purposes” is open-ended and vague. Democrats are allowing enough wiggle room and ambiguity so that they can try Trump in court if he dares to deny entry into the country based on linguistic or cultural requirements. For example, the United States has a vested interest in denying entry to individuals who are committed to practicing widow burning or honor killings regardless of race or religion. Perhaps Democrats consider such a restriction to be an outgrowth of so-called Islamophobia?
Fortunately, the bill is being stalled by Republican lawmakers who find the legislation either redundant or altogether ridiculous. Better yet, the GOP’s stalling tactics are driving Democrats mad.
“These are just fundamental American values that we don’t discriminate based on religion, certainly not here at home,” bellowed Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), mischaracterizing both the bill and Trump’s immigration restrictions in an interview with The New Arab.
According to The New Arab, a publication that routinely publishes articles sympathetic to the grievances of Islamic lobbying groups in the United States, “The bill has received the support of 113 Members of Congress — out of 435 — including prominent representatives such as Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee Keith Ellison (D-MN), John Lewis (D-GA), and ranking Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Elliot Engel (D-NY).”
Echoing the disappointment of editors at The New Arab, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is trying to convince the American public that the bill is about “religious freedom” rather than protecting its own interests as an Islamic lobbying group eager to advance the meme of “Islamophobia” in its obsessive public relations jihad.
“Republicans trying to curb the religious freedoms of Muslims traveling to the U.S. They can deny it all they want but rhetoric like preventing jihadists coming into America makes it clear that there is religious bias here,” propagandized CAIR’s director of government affairs, Robert McCaw.
While anti-Muslim bigotry should be a concern shared by all Americans, the so-called “Islamophobia” epidemic is ultimately fake news (just look at all the Islamophobia hoaxes). Muslims are far better off in the United States than countless war-ravaged Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, Iraq, and Somalia. U.S. civil and criminal laws protect Muslims and non-Muslims equally, despite what grievance-mongers may claim: Muslims (or better yet Islam) aren’t any more special than Jews, Christians, Buddhists, or Hindus. By pushing special bills infused with the spirit of privileging certain religious sects, Democrats make a mockery of the law.