Why I'm Opposed to Ilhan Omar's Bill Against Islamophobia

(Washington Post) Masih Alinejad - As someone who has been repeatedly targeted by a vicious authoritarian regime - like countless others - in my home country of Iran, I worry that other Americans might be creating precedents that could undermine our freedom to speak out. In December, the House passed the Combating International Islamophobia Act by a vote of 219-212. There is no question that the U.S. government should act to defend Muslims overseas wherever it sees crimes being committed against them - as in the cases of the Uyghurs in China or the Rohingya in Myanmar. But the U.S. government is already doing these things, and without needing to establish a new office. The bigger risk is that creating a mandate to monitor Islamophobia comes with its own risks. The legislation does not provide a clear definition of Islamophobia, nor does it make any clear effort to exempt the crimes of Islamist states against their own people. Is criticism of the Taliban a form of Islamophobia? What about criticism of the Islamic Republic of Iran? Can one criticize Hamas or Hizbullah as terrorist organizations? Many women who live in countries such as Iran, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia have a rational fear of sharia laws. To call out laws that treat women as second-class citizens is not Islamophobia. The writer, an Iranian journalist and women's rights campaigner who was thrown out of Iran after launching a campaign against compulsory hijab, hosts a talk show on Voice of America's Persian service.

2022-01-27 00:00:00

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