A group of US House members led by Indian American lawmaker Pramila Jayapal has introduced a resolution calling out the hatred, xenophobia, and racism that plagued Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities across America after 9/11 attacks.
The resolution which also recognized the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks, was introduced by Jayapal with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Judy Chu and André Carson on Sep 8. It’s sponsored among others by Indian American Shri Thanedar.
“On September 11th, 2001, we lost thousands of lives to the worst terrorist attack to ever happen on American soil. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost in the attack and more than 4,500 others have died since from related illnesses – this day irrevocably changed our country and its impact is still felt,” Jayapal stated in a press release.
READ: ‘South Asian, Sikh, other communities facing xenophobia since 9/11’ (September 14, 2021)
“As we mark this tragic day, we must also reflect on the lasting damages faced by Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities in the aftermath,” she stated.
“The murders of Balbir Singh Sodhi, Waqar Hassan, and Adel Karas in the days following the attack were shocking displays of hatred,” Jayapal added.
“Xenophobia and racism have no place in this country, and today we recognize the shared trauma that these communities faced as they experienced stigma, discrimination, and losses of liberty.”
The resolution puts forward a series of recommendations to support those affected by the hateful profiling and targeting that has occurred during the 20 years since the Sep 11, 2011 attack, including:
Calling for the creation of an interagency task force to work with community-based organizations to review government policies, investigate and document their impact, and dismantle those policies that continue to profile and unfairly target these communities;
Calling for hearings by congressional and civil rights bodies to explore the findings and recommendations of this interagency task force in consultation with and centering community-based organizations;
READ: Hate crime, xenophobia could hit US with at least $5 billion loss (February 26, 2017)
Supporting allocating resources to community-based organizations outside and independent of law enforcement that center the experiences and demands of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities to both support hate crime prevention and the needs of victims of hate and State violence, including language support, mental health, comprehensive support, system navigation, and crisis response and recovery; and create alternatives to law enforcement and transformative justice programs that are culturally and linguistically accessible and focus on vulnerable populations within these communities; and
Calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation to work together to study the impact of hate, government targeting, political rhetoric, and profiling on physical and mental health.
Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities have long experienced discrimination and violence in the US, which intensified after the attacks, according to the press release.
Just during the first month after the attack, community organizations documented 945 incidents of bias and hate against Americans perceived to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent, it noted.
“This climate of hate also led to bullying and violence in their everyday lives and in their workplaces, businesses, community centers, and houses of worship,” the release noted.
“The government also targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities with overreaching policing, surveillance, and criminalization policies that resulted in wrongful interrogation, coercion, detention, deportation, arrest, and incarceration,” it alleged.
READ: Defying xenophobia, untold miseries to forge a livelihood in America (April 21, 2013)
Principles like due process, presumption of innocence, and evidence of wrongdoing were replaced with humiliation, mob mentality, and guilt by association. Border officials and government authorities also cast aside constitutional rights and engaged in discriminatory searches and seizures, the release stated.
Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and immigration authorities arrested and detained as many as 1,200 Muslims immediately after the Sep 11 attack, and none of these “special interest” detained people were ultimately indicted for terrorist activity, the release noted.
This hate and government targeting impacted the ability of these communities to exercise their constitutionally protected rights including to organize, speak, travel, and worship freely, it said.
The resolution is endorsed by Muslim Justice League; The Sikh Coalition; Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC); Defending Rights & Dissent; Asian Law Alliance; Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Minnesota ; Emgage; National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA); Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) WA; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO; South Asian Network; UNITED SIKHS; Bend the Arc: Jewish Action; National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD); Poligon Education Fund; Hindus for Human Rights; Muslim Advocates; Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Asian American Federal Employees for Nondiscrimination; Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign; Stop AAPI Hate; Chinese for Affirmative Action; AAPI Equity Alliance; American Humanist Association; OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates; Interfaith Alliance; National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC); United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries; New York Immigration Coalition; The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote); Coalition on Civil Freedom ; Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF); Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign; Legacies of War; American Atheists; American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN); Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA); Church World Service; and Restore The Fourth.