Wednesday, the House passed on a party-line vote a bill sponsored by Rep. Ilhan Omar that would require the Secretary of State to create an “Office to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia” worldwide led by a presidentially-appointed “special envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia.”
I can see a few problems with this. First of all, I doubt it will pass the Senate. Second, there’s no clear definition of what “Islamophobia” is. Omar herself uses it as a convenient word to throw at anyone who aims deserved criticism at her. She cited as an example President Trump’s “Muslim ban,” which didn’t actually exist. That was a propaganda term designed to assign vile motives to a reasonable security measure.
For those not up on their history, Trump temporarily blocked travel from a handful of nations that were known hotbeds of anti-American terrorism and that couldn’t properly vet people coming here. Some were majority Muslim but others were not, while many majority Muslim nations weren’t on the banned list. If he was banning Muslims, it sure was a weird way to go about it.
Another problem is that if you’re going to call all violence against Muslims Islamophobia, how do you account for the fact that the worst violence and oppression against Muslims is committed by other Muslims (case in point: the Taliban in Afghanistan.)
Finally, if we’re going to make policing Islamophobia a federal concern, then we should also police Anti-Semitism. And if we create an office to crack down on that, its first action should be to remove Ilhan Omar from Congress.