Washington, D.C. | www.mpac.org | February 2, 2023 — The Muslim Public Affairs Council joined a coalition of American Muslim, Arab-American, Jewish, and Iranian-American groups to respond to the removal of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee following a vote held by House Republicans.
Today, 218 House GOP members under the direction of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy voted to oust Rep. Omar from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Following the vote, representatives from American Muslim, Arab-American, Jewish and Iranian-American groups held a press conference in front of Congress responding to the vote.
The organizations present at the news conference were:
In a statement, MPAC Director of Policy and Government Affairs Mohammad H. Ali said:
“Censorship is a hallmark of authoritarian governments, and what the House of Representatives just voted in favor of is just another form of that. By stripping Representative Ilhan Omar of her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, her unique perspective, specifically as a refugee, will weaken the panel from achieving its core mission. Given that, we demand the Speaker reverse the silencing of Rep. Omar’s voice.”
CAIR Deputy Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:
“We join other civil and human rights groups in strongly condemning the removal of Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Make no mistake. This vote had no legitimate basis. If Kevin McCarthy wanted to fight real anti-Semitism, he would condemn Donald Trump, kick Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar back off their Committees, and apologize for embracing the far-right. Instead, he uses bad-faith attacks to smear and silence the first Black Muslim woman elected to Congress.
“Today’s baseless and Islamophobic vote is not only an attack on Ilhan Omar, but the broader American Muslim community, our right to engage in the political process, and our dedication to speaking up for all victims of injustice, including the Palestinian people.
“Today’s vote is not only an attack on Ilhan Omar, but the broader American Muslim community, our right to engage in the political process, and our dedication to speaking up for all victims of injustice, including the Palestinian people. We will, God willing, not be deterred from pursuing a just and humane American foreign policy. Neither will Ilhan Omar.”
National Organizing Director of NIAC Action Donna Farvard, said:
“Representative Omar knows what it is like to flee a war-torn country and live in a refugee camp. She knows that foreign policy isn’t just a political game – it has real consequences for real people. If the U.S. supports a dictator or sanctions that harm ordinary people, that has real world effects. Representative Omar has been consistent in standing up for justice and against militarism at every turn. That’s what makes her an invaluable voice on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and why it is outrageous that Speaker McCarthy launched this McCarthyite witch hunt to remove her from the committee.”
Poligon Education Fund Executive Director Hazem Bata said:
“As the only Black woman, the only Muslim, and of the few immigrants on the Committee, Rep. Omar brings diversity and perspective that would otherwise be absent. The diversity of the U.S. should be represented in government, including the Foreign Affairs Committee. Considering how much of our foreign policy impacts Muslim countries, and Muslim Americans, removing the only Muslim from the Committee is unwise.”
Emgage Action CEO Wa’el Alzayat said:
“This is an unacceptable move on the part of the House. These attacks by Speaker McCarthy are based in bigotry and the muzzling of free speech. As the first Black, Muslim, refugee woman elected to Congress, Rep. Omar would have been an asset to continue to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee and its subpanel overseeing Africa. We need diverse voices when crafting impactful foreign policies and we should not cancel those voices because of partisan reasons.”
ADC Communications Manager Jasmine Hawamdeh said:
“Today’s vote is not only an attack on Ilhan Omar, but an attack on defenders of human rights and Rep. Omar’s dedication to speaking up for all victims of injustice. We join other civil and human rights groups in strongly condemning this unjustified and hypocritical decision”