The American public should see a federal government that works inclusively with all groups of people, including American Muslims, according to an effort launched in the House Judiciary Committee.
Reps. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), André Carson (D-IN), and Hansen Clarke (D-MI) have drafted a formal request of their colleagues to co-sponsor a resolution that strikes at the heart of anti-Muslim sentiment in America. They believe the federal government has not taken a strong enough stance to publicly support and defend Muslims, especially in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“We believe that this [resolution] is a logical step toward sending the message that the American Muslim community should be able to enjoy the rights guaranteed under the Constitution to the same extent as all other Americans,” the Congressmen said in the letter.
With support of other lawmakers, they want to turn public opinion away from the hateful rhetoric and unfair bias many Muslims now face for acts they did not commit. According to their letter, a CBS/New York Times poll in September found that nearly 20 percent of respondents have negative views of Muslims because of the 9/11 attacks.
The failed January 24 attack on the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, the largest faith center of its kind in North America, prompted the resolution from the lawmakers. The Detroit area in general is home to a large Muslim population. Reps. Conyers and Clarke both represent districts in southeast Michigan. Rep. Carson is also one of two Muslims serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Conyers is the ranking Democrat on the Committee on the Judiciary.
Aside from the Islamic Center of America incident, Muslims have been singled out around the country in airports, schools, houses of worship, and even in political areas. Images of Muslim extremism abroad have been wrongfully cast upon hardworking, peaceful followers of the faith in the U.S. The 19 hijackers of the planes used in the 2001 attacks were Muslim, adding a level of scrutiny not seen against the group in quite some time.
The Congressmen hope the federal government will push for equality since they have a hand in a lot of the policies, i.e. anti-terrorism measures, where Muslims are targeted. They believe this is an important leadership and civil rights issue for the American government.