tv U.S. House of Representatives Debate on Islamophobia Bill CSPAN December 19, 2021 5:59pm-7:17pm EST
abortion rights. tonight, joshua prager talks about the complicated life and times of the woman behind the case, the activism of the court's decision and the impact her action had on her and her three daughters. >> her life is such a window into this whole big thing of abortion in america and the pro-lifers would say look at the cost of abortion. she never had an abortion. she's a fascinating testimony to the cost of adoption. she struggled in normatively, emotionally, with what it meant in adoption. >> that's tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." you can listen to that and all of our >> the house considered a
resolution to great a special envoy for the u.s. state department to combat islamophobia. here is the debate prior to the vote. consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. meeks: i rise in strong support of h.r. 5665, the combatting international islamaphobia act. before i continue, let me submit for the record, a statement of administration policy which begins by stating, quote, the administration supports passage of h.r. 5665, the combatting international islamaphobia act and our country's act goes back centuries and the administration strongly believes that people of all faiths and backgrounds should be treated with dignity and respect around the world. i could not agree more.
the world has even the anti-islamaphobia violence and here in the united states of america. in recent years, anti-muslim bigotry has been on the rise with muslims beaten and attacked and receiving death threats due to their muslim faith. . the great reverend doctor martin lutherking jr. said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. not only must we address bigotry in the united states but we are
also obligated to confront to bigotry wherever and whenever we see it happening around the world. in 2019, new zealand witnessed the worst terrorist attack in that nation's history when a white supremacist gunman killed 51 muslim worshipers and injured 40 other at two mosques. and just last week, here on the house floor, we discussed the horrific atrocities being committed against uighur muslims in china and the rohingya muslims in burma. we did it in a bipartisan way, with my good friend and colleague, mr. mccaul. that's who we should be. that's what we should represent. because freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and no one -- no one should be the target of discrimination because
of their faith. prior to considering h.r. 5665, the house foreign affairs committee held numerous hearings including with u.s. secretary of state anthony blinken, the u.n. ambassador, and leading academics across the country that discussed and better informed our understanding of anti-muslim bigotry and islam phoneia. with the passage of h.r. 5665, the establishment of an office at the state department to help combat the scourge of islamaphobia, we take an important step toward addressing this problem. that is why i am proud to support the combating international islamaphobia act. this important legislation would do three but very, very important simple things. first it would establish an office to monitor and combat
islamaphobia at the state department. second, it would provide the authority to the executive branch to appoint a special envoy for monitoring and combating islamaphobia. and third, it will help to improve state department reporting of threats to muslims around the world. now, several of my colleagues on the other side have stated they oppose this bill. that the bill does not define islamaphobia. but i believe, and i think they seem to have an awareness, as we all do, for islamaphobia. when they criticized the bill for not doing enough to address islamaphobia against the uighur population in china. madam speaker, discrimination and bigotry are jab hornet and
combating -- are abhorrent and combating them is something we should all be able to do together. that's why i'm heartened to see this piece of legislation being led by a muslim member of congress and a jewish member of congress. and i wish i could say, by a democratic member of congress and a republican member of congress. that would be the right message to send to the world. discrimination and bigotry bring out the worst in humanity and i know that my friend and colleague feels the same way. i know he does. i know many of my colleagues on the other side. but we've got to stand up and say it here on the floor so the world knows what we stand for. if left unchecked, they can lead to terrible atroughs phis, to --
atrocities, to crimes against humanity and even to genocide. so this legislation will help shine a light on this problem and help address the global rise of islamaphobia at a time in which islamaphobia remains rampant and i strongly encourage all members of this house to support this very timely and important bill and with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccall: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognize. mr. mccaul: let me say to my good friend, chairman meeks, we all deplore anti-muslim persecution. no one should be attacked or denied their human rights or dignity because of their faith. so we actually agree on the intent and spirit behind this. but i do have some concerns with the wording in many parts of this legislation.
the united states government is rightly committed to opposing these monstrous acts of violence we have seen directed at muslims around the world. this includes the horrific mosque shootings in switzerland, question beck and christchurch. our commitment must also apply to anti-muslim persecution by foreign regimes, especially when it amounts to genocide. i'm proud, mr. chairman, of our bipartisan work to condemn and punish the burmese military's genocide against rohingya muslims that began in 2016. we are also working in a bipartisan fashion to oppose the chinese communist party's ongoing genocide against uighur muslims, we passed together in a boish manner on this floor the other day. today, more than one million muslims and other elt nick and religious minorities are held in camps and exploited as slave labor. muslim children are ripped from their mother's arms to be raised
by the communist party. and muslim women are suffering systematic sexual violence, forced sterilization and forced aabortion. members on our side are fully committed to combating these anti-muslim atrocities and i'm proud of the work, again that chairman meeks and i were able to do together to hold the chinese communist party accountable for their genocide. i want to thank you for your efforts. in addition i'm pleased that right after this bill, chairman mcgovern who has worked so hard with this committee, and senator marco rubio in the senate, will finally be able to send to the president's desk a bipartisan, bicamera rah -- bicameral bill to combat the uighur genocide. unfortunately in this bill, the rushed, partisan bill before us today, does not live up to these two serious bipartisan efforts. committee democrats made no effort to work toward a bipartisan agreement before the markup and the bill has no
republican co-sponsors. this legislation is dangerously vague and unnecessarily duplicative. it doesn't frame things in terms of anti-muslim persecution. nor does it use the typical statutory language like, quote, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. instead, it uses the undefined, nonlegal term of islamaphobia. this word appears no where in the federal statutes. it is so vague and subjective that it could be used against legitimate speech for partisan purposes. even the term phobia con tates irrational fear, not discrimination. the bill also completely ignores the state department's extensive efforts already under way to protect the rights of muslims. regular monitoring and reporting are already carried out by human rights officers at our embassies
worldwide as well as the bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, the office of international religious freedom and international commission on religious freedom of the annual country reports on human rights contains detailed, country-specific narratives of human rights violations targeting muslims and the annual report on international religious freedom details anti-muslim abuses and u.s. government policy to address such challenges. in addition, the current nominee to serve as special envoy for international religious freedom, rashad hussein is a prominent muslim american. madam speaker, the lack of a special envoy is not a sign of bigotry. in fact there's no special envoy for the hundreds of millions of christians who face dangerous persecution today. also there's no special envoy for the hindus or buddhists or whys or -- or bahais or yazidis
and others who face persecution. we have heard a lot about the office of special envoy of anti-semitism. i imagine we'll continue to hear about this during this debate. while the worlding of today's bill is modeled after the two prior anti-semitism bills, the process has been completely different and inadequate. both bills in 2004 and 2020 came after dedicated hearings showing the need for specialized legislation. the second bill was based on 16 years experience before a senate-confirmed special envoy was added. in stark contrast, today's bill is a result of a hurried partisan push over the last six days. this legislation was introduced less than two months ago. we have not held any hearings focused on whether the new state department bureaucracy is needed or use to feel counter anti-muslim hate. finally, today we received an odd statement of administration
policy that i can never recall basically saying while the administration supports passage of the bill, it would like for this bill to be rewritten. this state department would like for this bill to be rewritten. why aren't we consulting with the state department to get this bill right before we throw it on the house floor and pass it with such haste? in it, the administration also says it wants to include language, to, quote, ensure that the secretary of state has the necessary flexibility and permissive authority to dezing nate such an office and special envoy. in other words, the administration doesn't want to be required to create this office and position as this bill mandates. combating religious persecution against all people of faith including muslims is a serious issue. it deserves the kind of serious attention that draws bipartisan support. i also believe that a definition for clarity as to what
islamaphobia is and how it would apply should be done through the legislative intent of the congress and that left -- not left up to the bureaucracy in the state department. unfortunately, the text has been rushed to the floor, it's vague, redundant as i've said and for that reason, i do oppose it and i'm going to get later into some definitions of islamaphobia from various scholars and articles that bring out how vague this term is. we're not saying, you know, we're protecting against persecution of muslims or international human rights for muslims. it's islamaphobia. that i think draws the most scrutiny to this bill. and with that, madam speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. meeks: i now proudly yield five minutes to the sponsor of this most timely bill,
representative from the great state of minnesota, ms. omar. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. omar: thank you, chairman. madam speaker, today i rise because we are in the midst of a staggering rise of anti-muslim violence and discrimination around the world. at its worst it's uighurs in concentration camps in china and genocide against the rohingya in burma. but those atrocities are part of a deeper fabric of violence against muslims and impunity for violence against muslims at a global level. in india, prime minister moe die's government -- modi's government has moved to strip citizenship from millions of muslims. in sri lanka, anti-muslim laws and violence have imposed terror on the community. in hungary, in belarus, and
poland, politicians have stoked fear of muslim migrants and refugees. in new zealand and canada, white supremacists viebles has targeted muslims including at their places of worship and of course we in the united states are not immune to this hatred. it is no secret that the previous president of the united states explicitly vowed and i quote, a complete and total shutdown of muslims entering the united states. but trump was simply taking advantage of a deeper culture of islamaphobia that has existed for the past two decades. from the patriot act, the c.v.e. program, to abu ghraib. none of these things are happening in isolation. we must understand that these problems are interlinked.
in fact, earlier this year, the united nations commissioned a report and concluded that islamaphobia has reached, i quote, epidemic proportion. and urged nations around the world to take all necessary measures to combat it. as a country that was founded on religious liberty, our leadership on international religious freedom depends on recognizing that islamaphobia is global in scope and we must lead the global effort to address it. that's why we have interviewed this bill, to createal special envoy for combatting islamaphobia at the state department. this bill adds violence to muslims to the state department annual human rights report.
there are people who want to see us divided on ethnic, gender and religious lines because it suits their political agenda. i believe as americans which should stand united against all forms of bigotry. in fact this legislation is to combat anti-semitism and i was proud to co-sponsor and vote last congress on legislation to elevate that envoy to a cabinet-level position. because it is important that we live in a world where everyone is free of persecution based on their religious backgrounds and beliefs. and until everyone is free to practice their religion, no one is.
i want to thank the koa leader on this bill, representative jan shah cows sky and chairman meeks and speaker pelosi to their commitment on this legislation and i thank the counsel on islamic and all the groups of cross-section of civil rights and safe coalition who fight for religious rights for everyone around the world. and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from ohio, mr. chabot. mr. chabot: i rise in opposition to h.r. 5665. all americans can agree that persecution against any person or any group is wrong.
religious tolerance is a fundamental value upon which this nation was founded, which is why the free exercise of religion is protected in the first amendment of our constitution and that same fundamental principle is why i supported the muslims who suffered genocide at the hands of the burmese military and the ambassador-at-large and two other human rights at the state department are doing the work called for in this legislation. however, the reasons to oppose this bill go beyond mere redundancy and democrats have refused to include a deficient figs of islamaphobia, the very subject matter that the bill purports to address. democrats voted down an
amendment to exclude legitimate criticism of what counts as islam -- islam fa phobia. or calling out the persecution of christians. is it islam phobic to oppose laws or criticize those who call for the destruction of israel? what about taliban's repression of women or those who deny the holocaust. while clearly none of these criticism should be considered islam phobic, this bill's supporters have refused to protect free speech. this legislation could label any criticism.
and almost as if this goal is to shut down all debate and protect islam. thus we get to the core problem of this bill and treats the persecution of muslims as uniquely unacceptable. every religion faces persecution as anyone who has studied history. christians faced it. behind u.s., and many others have expressed it. and they face it in china and burma, they face genocide at the hands of the islamic state not long ago. this legislation ill-advise he hadlier persecutes muslims similar to the legislation.
but unlike alleged islamaphobia, this is a unique problem. the world realized how per gnashous anti-semitism was. putting islamaphobia in the same category dramatically understates the historic and pervasive nature tay makes anti-semitism such a difficult problem to overcome. such a false equivalent might be used by exeement. the speaker pro tempore: to further activity. i urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation. mr. meeks: the anti-semitism legislation was interviewed on
january 3 of 2019, passed the house on january 11 of 2019 and no hearings that were held that led congress before we passed the vote and no markup at all. i now am proud to yield two minutes to the co-sponsor of this legislation, representative jan schakowsky of illinois. ms. schakowsky: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise as air proud co--lead of combatting international islamaphobia act. in the united states alone, nearly 70% of american muslims have reported personally experienced anti-muslim hate, bigotry and even violence. and this anti--muslim hate isn't
just confined to certain communities and areas of this country. it has reached out in ugly ways, including in my own community, in my own district, to a member of my staff and her family. my colleagues and friends and congress know that congresswoman i will han ohma, the chief chair of this sponsor of this legislation knows about this and far too personal away. she has been subjected to relentless attacks and horrifying attacks not just from her fellow americans but even within the halls of congress and enough is enough. this should not be a
controversial bill. we have had a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism for years and i proudly support that and as a jo myself, i see the parallels quite directly between anti-semitism and islamaphobia, and we need to be combatting both. as a nation that prides itself on defending human rights, creating a special envoy to monitor and combat islamaphobia makes perfect sense and i urge my colleagues to do what is right, which is to vote yes on the combatting international islamaphobia act. and i yield back.
mr. mccaul: i yield four minutes to the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. perry. mr. perry: i thank the ranking member for the time. i'm proud to represent south central pennsylvania where there is a large population of the most persecuted in the muslim faiths and nothing in this bill to safeguard them. many of my colleagues will speak about the lack of definition, it's going to be made up based on your political pro cliffities. and let's face it, aside from the attempts to blake ate an anti-semitic member, house democrats are did he flicting from the real issue from the house of representatives and the maker of this bill has no
business of sitting on house committees or house chamber making those comments. we are not going to deal with that. let's not forget the moment, the author of that levered to the murder of 3,000 americans. during last week's markup, i was assailed by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and told me i was nasty, mean and rude, why? because i offered amendments that would have prevented american taxpayer dollars going to money to ties to trim. we all agree that nobody should
be persecuted on their faith. but they shouldn't be forced to pay terrorist organizations, organizations that the maker of this bill was affiliated with like the unindicted co-con spirit tire. and by intentionally leaving the definition blank, the gentlelady and my friends on the other side of the aisle are creating an office in the state department that will spew hatred and attack western ideas throughout the world under the far as of protecting islam. as you can see by this debate. this is to silence critique and to sealens it. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentleman will suspend. the gentlewoman from michigan. >> i ask that words be taken down. the speaker pro tempore: the request of the words be taken down. the gentleman f the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the words. the clerk: mr. perry, you're either going to be persecuted or you're not, depending on who you are and who you vote for. let's face it, aside from the attempts to placate an anti-semitic member of this chamber all that is really happening here is house democrats are deflecting from the real issues confronting the house of representatives and that is that the maker of this bill has no business sitting on house committees, has no business in this chamber, a
myriad of anti-semitic comments and those of support of violence and terrorism against the united states are totally unacceptable but we're not going to deal with that because we're going to deal with this. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will further report the words. the clerk: but american taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay terrorist organizations, organizations that the maker of this bill is affiliated with, like the one that is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror finance case in the united states of america's history, not because i say so, because the judge says so. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk -- the chair is prepared to rule the words from the gentleman from pennsylvania contained an allegation that the maker of the bill is affiliated with a terrorist organization. this remark impugns the patriotism or loyalty of a member of the house which is not
in order as stated in section 370 of the house rules manual. the gentleman from pennsylvania also alleges that the maker of the bill is anti-semitic. this remark constitutes an allegation of discrimination which is not in order as stated in section 370 of the house rules and manual. the gentlewoman from minnesota is the sponsor of this measure, h.r. 5665, as reflected in the official records of the house. therefore the chair finds that the remarks constitute personalities directed toward an identifiable manner. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> parliamentary inquiry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will state his inquiry. >> i have several inquiries. i'm not trying to press, i'm trying to understand. the first one is, did the speaker and parliamentarian distinguish or identify between the bill author of the bill, maker of the bill, or sponsor of
the bill when making its ruling in this case? the speaker pro tempore: the chair has addressed that in the ruling. does the gentleman want to request an additional inquiry? >> yes, i do, thank you. the speaker pro tempore: state your inquiry. >> my question is, regarding the determination that these words were not parliamentary, what's the extent of protection of the debate and speech clause vis-a-vis for instance when we've had a resolution to strip a member of committee, another resolution to strip a different member of committee this year and during the debate of that we had all kinds of aspersions and comments and if these allegations which were put forward by the gentleman from pennsylvania were accurate and can be defended, was that taken into account both in the context and his terms, taken into
account when you made the determination that his speech was not parliamentary? the speaker pro tempore: the chair is not going to provide an advisory opinion. on a prior proceeding. >> i'm not asking for an adrisery reason i'm asking what you took into account with the parliamentarian to determine that his words were nonparliamentary. that's what i'm asking. i'm giving you context. and relationship of previous actions and i've asked for specifically how you limited the speech and debate clause here and whether the fact that he has documentation to prove his assertions or not, whether they're relevant. the speaker pro tempore: the chair reride on section 370 of the house rules and manual as stated in the ruling. >> thank you.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. >> i'm proud to yield one minute to the gentleman from illinois on the ways and means committee, mr. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. davis: thank you, madam speaker. i rise in strong support of passage of 5665, commend the sponsor, representative omar and my colleague from illinois, representative schakowsky, for its introduction. you know, i was taught early in life to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don'ts me around with mr. in between. this resolution reaffirms many of the principles and practices we have been taught and learned that religion is sack are cant, that religion is sacred, and every person deserves to have their religious thoughts, ideas,
and ideologies protected. i urge support and passage of this legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from tennessee, a member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. burchett. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. burchett: thank you, leader mccaul, i oppose this bill, madam speaker, because it's redundant and will grow a state department bureaucracy that's already overgrown. this is the same state department that has two bureaus tasked with this issue. i wish someone would tell me what exactly is it these bureaucrats are doing since they now need a third department to help them do their job. these are the same state department bureaucrats who spent four years undermining the foreign policy of a republican president from deep within the government. now they're getting a pass from the biden administration to be soft on china, soft on russia and soft on iran. the democrats in the house want
us to spend even more taxpayer money on this already-bloated bureaucracy, madam speaker. for my friends across the aisle, the solution always seems to be throwing more money at a problem. after three years in the house, aisle beginning to realize for democrats in congress our tax dollars are nothing more than political duct tape. the problem with duct tape is it doesn't actually fix anything, contrary to what some people believe. like growing money and spending more, duct tape is not a solution. i wish my friends across the aisle president biden would consider, let's cut the state department's budget until the bureaucrats within decide to get back to work for the american people. secretary of state blinken needs to call his workers back to the office rather than letting them continue to stay home while passports and visa applications go unprosycessed for american citizens and visitors. let's not waste our constituent's hard-earned tax dollars pay paising -- playing politics.
we can do without another dadgum bureaucracy at the state department. thank you, i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will receive a message. the messenger: madam speaker, a message from the senate. the secretary: madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: pa dam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has passed, with amendment, h.r. 5746, an act to amend title 51, united states code, to extend the authority of the national aeronautics and space administration to enter into leases of nonaccess property of the administration. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. meeks: thank you, madam speaker. i yield one minute to representative from michigan, a member of the house foreigns affairs committee, mr. levin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. levin: madam speaker, islamaphobia is a problem across the world. including in my own district. where one of the many mosques that i represent was vandalized last year. it's a problem in this body,
where only four muslims have ever served. and where the most visible among them, congresswoman omar, has been the subject of horrible anti-muslim attacks. and it's obviously a problem abroad. even rising to the level of genocide in burma and china. i'm a jewish member of congress who considers fighting all forms of oppression and all instances of religious discrimination core to my faith. mr. speaker, let's all come together and reaffirm that cardinal american value, freedom of religion. let's pass this law as a step toward protecting the rights of the world's 1. # million muslims. and an integral part of our work to win free dom and security for all people everywhere. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: i'm pleased to yield
six minutes to the gentleman from kentucky, a member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. barr. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky is recognized for six minutes. mr. barr: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you to the ranking member of the foreign affairs committee. i rise in opposition to this legislation. mr. speaker, islamaphobia is wrong. just as anti-semitism, anti-christian hatred and all forms of discrimination based on race or religion are wrong. but this bill, despite whatever the author and defenders of this legislation claim, as its purpose or their intent, is not targeted to counter actual islamaphobia. in fact, this bill is so poorly drafted any objective analysis of it raises serious concerns about what the true intentions of the bill are because it specifically does not define
islamaphobia. this lack of definition not only risks confusing u.s. foreign policy, but it also would compromise u.s. counterterrorism efforts and undermine our national security. what we need, mr. speaker, and what this bill fails to provide, is moral clarity. we don't need nuance or political correctness. or silencing debate. or censorship. on the issue of radical islamic terrorism. what we need is intellectual and moral clarity. before 9/11, radical islamic terrorists were at war with the united states. that was before 9/11. and since then, radical islamic terrorists have been at war with the united states. you may wish that wasn't the case. but it is and historical fact. if you cannot even acknowledge who the enemy is or what we are
at war with them, then how can you expect to defeat that enemy. we must face the truth. the truth that there is a very real struggle within the islamic world between religious tolerance, the purported goal of this bill, and an evil, toxic, intolerance. the potential byproduct of this bill, that says that if you are a christian or if you are a jew or if you are a moderate muslim, then you must be destroyed. and this bill gives voice to this toxic religious intolerance by failing to exclude from the definition of islamophobia any policy or viewpoint that rejects radical islamic terrorism. this ideological of evil and extreme religious intolerance must be confronted with clarity.
as much as each individual act of terrorism. and an overinclusive definition of islamophobia threatens to encourage the very extremism that we all say we oppose. is it -- is islamophobia to criticize the taliban, a self-proclaimed islamic terrorism when they commit grave human rights abuses or oppress women? is islamophobia to criticize rejoining the joint comprehensive plan of action when talking about the malign thee accuratic islamic republic of iran, the leaders of which chant "death to america" and promise the destruction of the state of israel? is it islamophobia to condemn hamas when they are firing rockets on innocent israelis from gaza? is it islamophobia to criticize someone who dismissively, dericively, and defensively refers to 9/11 hijackers as people who did some things?
these actions are not islamophobic. these are beliefs motivated out of security and act. however, we are voting shortly on a bill that actually does combat islamophobia, real islamophobia. a bipartisan bill to combat the force labor of uighur people and the systemic genocide of peaceful muslim minorities by the chinese communist party. that bill, mr. speaker, makes a clear, defined difference. this bill does not. simply saying we are against islamophobia, without clearly and correctly defining it, and establishing an office within the state department to combat it without safeguards against the relative views of the politically correct is a way to weaponize our foreign policy against itself. we must deal with this problem as it is, not as we would hope it to be. history teaches us that when islamic extremists and jihadists are not fought, they grow.
their movement metastasizes. the longer they are not confronted, the more they become emboldened, the more they are appeased and tolerated, the more there are overrun territories in the areas they occupy and safe havens which they can launch attacks against the united states and the west. as a member of the foreign affairs committee, i was more than disappointed that my democrat colleagues, many of whom i respect very, very much, rejected a good-faith amendment in our markup to clearly define what islamophobia actually is. we do have an enjoy to monitor and combat anti-semitism who works off an internationally adopted definition of anti-semitism. but the way this bill is structured, it fails to structure a policy of counter jihad has not, never has been and never will be islamophobia. and the bill establishes an office that would actually undermine the very mission of the envoy to monitor and combat
anti-semitism. in sum, this bill, without definition restraint, will invite anti-semitism, anti-christian bias into state department decision-making and will do so under the guise of combating islamophobia. that's what this bill will do without definition. maybe this bill is well-intentioned. but if we don't agree to some kind of definition, and we don't provide some clarity, moral clarity -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mccaul: i yield an additional 30 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. barr: if we don't agree to some kind of definition, if we do not provide some clarity, moral clarity, intellectual clarity as to who the enemy is versus what islamophobia is, then what we have here in this bill is a wolf in sheep's clothing. nuance and political correctness will not help us defeat our enemy, and it leaves peaceful prags particularsers of -- practitioners of islam robbed
for the reasons they deserve. i urge opposition and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. meeks: we are not here to talk about criticism. we're here to talk about persecution, anti-muslim hate. we are here to talk about genocide and we should know it when we see it. i yield one minute to the gentlelady from the great state of california, barbara lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for one minute. ms. lee: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong support of h.r. 5665, the combating international islamophobia act. i want to thank my friend, congresswoman ilhan omar, for her leadership on this issue, as well as chairman meeks and the speaker for bringing this bill to the floor. the bill creates mechanisms tore the state department to monitor and combat international islamophobia. there are approximately 1.8 billion muslims in the world, including 3.5 million muslims in the united states. now, the truth is, while
islamophobia is not a new phenomena, anti-muslim violence has increased significantly over the past 20 years. just ask any muslim what islamophobia is. we've seen incidents such as the terrorist attacks on mosques in new zealand, atrocities against the uighurs in china, and islamophobic laws in france that prevents girls from wearing the hijab in public. they now say the discrimination and hatred in muslims have -- can i have another 15 seconds. mr. meeks: i yield the gentlelady another 15 seconds. ms. lee: thank you, mr. chairman. as i was saying, whether in the halls of congress, mr. speaker, our districts or across the world, we will not tolerate islamophobia. we know what it is. we must work together to end this bigotry. and so i urge my colleagues to
vote yes on h.r. 5665, and i yield back and thank you, again, for the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the gentlelady from texas, ms. van duyne. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized for three minutes. ms. van duyne: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to h.r. 5665. bringing this bill to the floor is nothing more than empty theatrics from democrats. our nation has delivered more freedom, opportunity, and lib rilt to more people -- liberty to more people around the world than any nation in history. we have served as the arsenal of democracy and a liberator of oppressed people because we are a good and just nation founded on fundamental god-given liberties, including among those as part of our very first amendment is the freedom of speech. our nation has lost precious treasure of our fellow countrymen to free people from the horrors of islamic
fundamentalism. we have seen what happened to women in afghanistan since biden's disastrous and botched departure. women are being stoned in the street for having the gall to be educated. women are forced into marriages with blood-thirsty taliban savages to serve as breeders for the next jihad. the fight against these kind of atrocities deserve plain-spoken and hard truths be told. instead, the other side would like to sterilize free speech and determine what words are allowed under their orwellian tyranny. our nation and the world deserve so much better than this ridiculous attempt to stifle free speech. there is tremendous evil in this world. every day that evil is trying to infiltrate and undermine our exceptional nation. i will never shy away from calling out evil ideologies, and i will never back down from speaking against them and how
they are used to oppress women, children, and the vulnerable. we must stay committed to opposing heinous acts of violence directed at any religious group around the world, but the fact is, the state department is already doing this. this bill brought to the floor today is for one purpose only. to apiece the hurt feelings -- to appease the hurt feelings of members who themselves have well-documented backgrounds of anti-american and anti-semitic remarks. i rise against this bill just as i will rise against any attempts to weaken our rights, diminish our liberties, and distract this body from dealing with real issues, to strengthen our nation, and empower our people. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. meeks: yes, mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the representative from the great state of michigan, mrs. dingell.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from the great state of michigan, mrs. dingell, is recognized. mrs. dingell: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of the combating international islamophobia act. this legislation creates an office to monitor and to combat islamophobia at the department of state. in recent years, we have seen tragedies like the 2019 christchurch shooting as well as the state sponsor persecution of uighurs in china. my hometown of dearborn, michigan, has a very large muslim community, and it's also a constant target of islamophobia hate. there are thousands of documented complaints of anti-muslim hate and bias in the united states this year alone. and my community, they are good standing americans. they are fearful of these actions. i have heard from my
constituents who are afraid of visiting their mosques or going to events as a result. passing this bill sends a strong message about our shared commitment to safeguarding religious liberty worldwide. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york reserves. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. meeks: mr. speaker, i yield one minute to the representative from the great state of texas, mr. green. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for one minute. mr. green: mr. speaker, and still i rise as a christian to say peace be upon you. mr. speaker, h.r. 5665 addresses the age-old question -- am i my brother -- and i might add my sister's -- keeper? if the answer is yes, then what
do we do about it when our brothers and our sisters are being victimized by islamophobia, threatened, murdered, killed? you can't be your brother's and sister's keeper, mr. speaker, without keeping your brothers and your sisters. h.r. 5665 addresses this by establishing an office to monitor and combat islamophobia in the department of state. h.r. 5665 does something such that we can be our brothers and our sister's keeper. i am proud to be a co-sponsor of it. and i close with may god protect you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york. mr. meeks: i yield one minute to the representative from california, mr. correa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is -- california is recognized for one minute. mr. correa: mr. speaker, mr. chairman, i also rise in
strong support of the combating international islamophobia act. a recent report in california found fla 56% -- thank 56% of the students feel unsafe in their school because of their muslim religious identity. that's not the america i know. our nation stands for many freedoms, including the freedom of religion, and i am a proud sponsor of this legislation, to create a special enjoy, to fight -- envoy, to fight anti-muslim hate crimes in the u.s. and abroad. i urge my colleagues to support this measure, and with that i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new york. mooeshgs mooeks i yield one -- mr. meeks: i yield one minute to the gentlelady from california, ms. jackson lee -- from texas, ms. jackson lee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee, is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i thank the
gentleman for yielding. i rise in strong support of h.r. 5665, combating international islamophobia, and i've listened to my friends on the other side of the aisle -- and they are my friends. i hope we will have the opportunity to work together for what the values of america stands for. i've heard my colleagues recount the various efforts of inhumane treatment to muslims around the world. this is an important statement made by america, to create the position of special envoy for monitoring, combating islamophobia, will be responsible for tracking, coordinating efforts to combat islamophobia. but also, it will require the department of state's annual country reports on human rights to include the acts of islamophobia. with a billion muslims, the reason why i support this legislation is a statement it makes to the world about the
values of this country and the values of this country should be grounded in the fact that the religious freedom of all should be respected and then, finally, i am really overwhelmed by the constant battering of our colleague, ilhan omar. to make her the center point of opposition in this place, it is beneath the dignity of this house. and so by passing this legislation, let the world know that america's values are valuing religious freedom and that we stand against the abuse of muslims around the world as well as here in the united states. this is an important piece of legislation. i thank the chairman for his leadership, and i ask my colleagues, republicans and democrats, to support h.r. 5665. thank you. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. does the gentleman from texas continue to reserve? . mr. mccaul: i continue to reserb. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york.
mr. meeks: i yield one minute to the gentlewoman from michigan, ms. tlaib. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. tlaib: thank you so much. i have a lot of emotions as i stand here before you today. this bill is a strong step toward combating islamaphobia but it's only a start. if the reality today is that muslim americans still face constant abuse here at home. while it's great to fight islamaphobia abroad, we need to address how widespread this disgusting hate is here in my country. simply put, my two sons and children across the country deserve to grow up in a country where their religion, their faith, won't be used to target them and endanger their lives and freedoms. must rim americans deserve representatives on beth sides of the aisle who will embrace them and love them for who they are, not those who encourage religious violence for their own political gain. mr. speaker, i would say to my fellow americans who believe in
free, inclusive, and accepting country know that we will win this fight. the actions of a hateful group of individuals in our country and this body are out of touch from the vast majority of our americans and neighbors who are good, decent people who reject this violent, white nationalist hate and will put that aside to defend each other from this bigotry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas continues to reserve. the gentleman from new york. mr. meeks: i yield one minute to the distinguished speaker of the united states house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california, the speaker of the house of representatives, is recognized. the speaker: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank him for his leadership, mr. chairman. chairman meeks, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, for his leadership bringing this important issue of legislation to the floor which addresses an issue of faith, of values, and of our country. the house comes together hopefully in a spirit of unity, i would have hoped, and
patriotism, to condemn and combat islamaphobia and all forms of racism, prejudice and discrimination. listening to the debate i heard mr. danny davis earlier as he was saying don't mess with mr. in between talking about religion and how it should be offlimits. people's religion should be respect. i know and probably it is true of everyone here the respect we have for our own faith, our own religion, enables us to appreciate the faith, respect people have for their faith. that's why this is so sad because it's an attack on the faith of one of our members. sadly but clearly, islamaphobia is a sinister growing and for too many american muslims a constant presence in our nation. to just review some figures,
nearly 70% of american muslims have personally experienced anti-muslim discrimination since september 11. thousands of documented acts of anti-muslim bigotry and violence are recorded each year with many thousands unreported. attacks are growing more common and more brazen from vandalism on mosques to physical assaults on women wearing hijabs, hate speech and from public officials to bullying and violence of children at school. think of how the children hear this. and as we all know, the bigotry is targeted at one of our own, shamefully from within this congressional community. racism and bigotry of any form, including islamaphobia, must be called out and condemned in any place it is found. this is particularly true in the halls of congress, the heart of our democracy, and where we have a responsibility under the rules of the house to behave in a way
that brings dignity to this body. our first president, george washington, there he is, looking over us, over 230 years ago, in a letter to the hebe rue congress re-- hebrew congregation in new port, george washington wrote, happily the government of the united states which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under the protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectule support. he himself defining what is the right way to live. indeed, bigotry and persecution have always been un-american as demonstrated by our patriarch, george washington. anti-mustalism bigotry affects not only members but many other
members of our congressional community. as hundreds of muslim staffers wrote last week, mr. speaker, they wrote this letter. they said, quote, hateful rhetoric by public officials directly impacts us and pours safety at risk. both at the workplace and in our everyday lives. they further went on to say, the muslim staffers whom we value here, we must now come to work every day knowing that the same members and staff who perpetuate islam phobic tropes and insinuate that we are terrorists also walk by us in the halls of congress. that's really frightening. disturbingly, islamaphobia is not a unique american experience but a global scourge and as other members have indicated, it is global. earlier this year the u.n. human rights council declared discrimination against muslims
has risen to epidemic proportions. around the world we see tragedy and tragic consequences of anti-muslim attitudes. the genocide against the uighur people and other muslim minorities in china. atrocities committed against rohingya in burma, attacks on muslim refugees in central europe and white supremacist violence against muslims in new zealand and canada. targeting of must him -- muslim minority communities in western asia and the middle east. we must confront islamaphobia or any form of racism wherever it is found around the world, in our country or even in these very halls. this legislation will not only address the rise in incidents of islamaphobia worldwide but launch a plan to combat this
bigotry. thank you, congresswoman schakowsky and congresswoman ilhan omar for your work advancing equity, justice and dignity in our congress, in america and the world on this action. thank you also to the foreign affairs committee chairman, gregory meeks, for your support of this important action. with this bill's passage, mr. speaker, a special envoy for monitoring and combating islamaphobia will be created just as the state department has special envoys on anti-sesmtism -- anti-semitism and international religious freedom. that's something we have always shared in this body, across the aisle and down across the capitol in a bipartisan way, support for -- and respect for religious freedom. at home and internationally. this envoy, the special envoy created here, will be charged with establishing a comprehensive strategy to combat
islamaphobia worldwide. the state department annual human rights reports will be expanded to include state sponsored us lap -- islam phobic violence and impunity. as a nation that prides itself on the defense of human rights and dignity we must be leaders both on the global stage and at home by example. to combat violence against muslims. again, islamaphobia in any place is offensive, dangerous and must be condemned. islamaphobia in our own congressional community, specifically the repeated ongoing targeted islam phobic actions against another member as we witnessed this past year is appalling and totally unacceptable. that language and behavior are far beneath the dignity of integrity, dignity and decency with which the constitution and our constituents require that we
act in this house. these actions must be called out and not tolerated. mr. speaker, every day we're in session we begin with a prayer. because we believe, we believe in our own way. some don't believe but by and large most people here believe. we do so with reverence for our own real jus beliefs, with respect for the briefs of others. if we didn't have such strong briefs in ourselves and our own religion it would be ok, easily to believe, somebody might be frivolous about respecting someone else's devotion. but we do. we all profess to be people of faith. the house will continue to look into an array of options to address this priority and take real action to combat islamaphobia as we have many
times taken action to condemn anti-semitism and other forms of bigotry. i thank you, chairman, again, and thank you, mr. speaker. makers of this motion. congresswoman schakowsky who was very much a part of this, and congresswoman omar, i yield back the balance of my time and urge a strong bipartisan vote on this important legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from texas reserves. the gentleman from new york. mr. meeks: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: if the gentleman from new york is prepared to close i'm ready. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. mccaul: let me first say all of us deplore anti-muslim persecution. we're seeing a lot of that in afghanistan today. especially small children. we deplore violence on violence. sunni against shia.
no one should ever be attacked, though, or deny their human rights of dignity because of their faith. i believe both sides of the aisle agree on this. and i personally agree with he intent and spirit of this bill. the united states government is rightly committed to opposing these act os violence that we have seen directed at muslims around the world. state department has an office to do so. what i do object to, mr. speaker is the unfortunate circumstance that the bill before us abandoned the usual statutory language about violations of internationally recognized human rights. instead, it uses this vague term islamaphobia. look it up on wikipedia, it says it can mean many things. this islamaphobia is not designed, it's not -- you know,
we're against the anti-muslim persecution or against international human rights violations against muslims. rather this islamaphobia. in connection with that i'd like to quote a 2016 article from columbia law review that states, quote, there's no singular cogent or consensus definition of islamaphobia. end quote. the university of oslo center for research calls islamaphobia a, quote, contested term. these are law review article, not mine. it goes on further to say the term conflates opposition to islam with prejudice toward muslims. these expert descriptions underscore the need for due diligence that this text has not yet received. i wish the minority had been given the opportunity to discuss
this bill before it was thrown in on the markup. we all oppose religious persecution, against muslims or any other faith. i'm a catholic. any other believers in any faith should be protected from this hate speech and violence. so for those reasons, because the definition is not provided, islamaphobia is a very broad term that can be subject to many interpretations, if we don't define that in the congress through legislative intent who will? that means we cede our authority over to the executive branch and then they write what is islamaphobia means. i wish we had used different terms, terminologies that are in statute under law rather than something that's sort of born of a wikipedia page. to me that's not the way we
legislate here. and i've done a lot of great legislation with the chairman, and the previous chairman of this committee. and i intend to keep doing that with him and i appreciate our joint efforts, though, to advance strong responsible bipartisan legislation to protect religious freedom. we're going to have one of those bills coming up right after this one on the uighur muslims and i appreciate that. . i know it's been a heated debate and some things said some things that could be offensive and this is not about one member of congress. this is about our ability to come together as americans and come out with a strong bipartisan bill that makes sense so we can send the message around the world that this will not be tolerated just as we're standing up for the uighur muslims with the genocide bill
and with the bill that's going to follow this debate that we're having here today. with that, mr. speaker, i want to thank you for the time. mr. chairman, it's been a rig with us debate. we expected this. -- rigorous debate. we expected this. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. meeks: thank you, mr. mccaul, for your statements. we work very closely together, as well as many members in this house, especially in the house foreign affairs committee. strong fighters for human rights. but the question that presents itself with this plain and simple bill that simply calls for us to establish an office to monitor and combat islamophobia at the state department, the question is -- do we all agree? i think i heard my colleagues on the other side say islamophobia is wrong.
that means you know that islamophobia exists. you know it when you see it, you know it when you feel it, you know when you talk about the uighurs, the rohingya, or those muslims in the united states of america. there is the definition right there. you see it. they've said it. we've said it. islamophobia exists. so what we need to do is call it out. what we need to do is lock arms and stand together. this is a important bill. the camera of history is rolling on us. it's an important bill, and it's a bill of consequence. it's of consequence -- should be of consequence to every human being on the planet no matter what your religion and no matter what your race.
it's important to nearly two billion muslims in the world. so we need to focus on what this bill does. you know, some of the proudest moments of mine -- i represent one of the most diverse districts in all of the united states in the most diverse county in the united states. and i've seen ugliness raise its ugly head, whether it's racism, anti-semitism, or islamophobia. but the proud moment is when i see muslims and jews walking arm in arm against islamophobia and against anti-semitism. when i see people of all races and nationalities standing together, not being silent. inaction is unacceptable. we cannot stand idly by as
atrocity after atrocity is inflicted on people of the muslim faith. or any faith. for no reason other than bigotry against their religion. freedom of religion is a human right. we can and we must do better at combating islamophobia. here at home and abroad. so i look, and i wish it was today, but i keep dreams and hope alive that we will lock arms. we have good people here. and say in unison, as i've seen people do in my district, we will call islamophobia whenever we see it, the same with racism,