Mus­lim ad­vo­cacy groups praise tol­er­ant fed­eral law­mak­ers.

Hon­ors a part of Ra­madan celebrations

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAURA KELLY

Mus­lim ad­vo­cacy groups in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., hon­ored fed­eral law­mak­ers on both sides of the aisle Thurs­day for pro­mot­ing re­li­gious plu­ral­ism and tol­er­ance at a time of sim­mer­ing po­lit­i­cal and so­cial ten­sions in the U.S. to­ward Is­lam and Mus­lims.

Just over a week into Ra­madan, celebrations are over­shad­owed fol­low­ing at least five ter­ror­ist at­tacks across the globe that have killed hun­dreds and left even more in­jured.

“Un­for­tu­nately, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this hap­pen,” said Rabiah Ahmed, me­dia and pub­lic af­fairs di­rec­tor of the Mus­lim Pub­lic Af­fairs Coun­cil (MPAC), which co-hosted the con­gres­sional if­tar [evening meal] with the Pak­istani Amer­i­can Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Comi­tee (PAKPAC).

“Last year dur­ing Ra­madan it was a pretty vi­o­lent month as well. … What we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing now with these at­tacks and uptick [was] seen be­fore. Mus­lims are con­cerned, and we’re per­haps more con­cerned than any­one else be­cause of the way it im­pacts us.”

Ra­madan is the month­long Is­lamic hol­i­day marked by daily fasts, prayer and con­tem­pla­tion that cul­mi­nate in evening feasts.

Ter­ror­ist at­tacks have been car­ried out in the United King­dom, Egypt, Bagh­dad, Kabul and Tehran over the past week.

The Is­lamic State has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for al­most all of the at­tacks, but the ve­rac­ity of its claims has not been con­firmed.

Yet what is clear is that at­tack­ers fre­quently in­voke the name of Al­lah, link­ing their ac­tions to Is­lam and sow­ing fear and dis­trust among gen­eral pop­u­la­tions to­ward Mus­lims.

It is im­por­tant to honor those gov­ern­ment lead­ers who stand up for the rights of re­li­gious mi­nori­ties and share tra­di­tional Ra­madan celebrations and ex­pe­ri­ences, Ms. Ahmed said.

“When these ter­ror­ists com­mit these acts of vi­o­lence, they’re try­ing to cre­ate fear among Mus­lims and Is­lam,” she said.

“With each at­tack they com­mit, they cre­ate this false nar­ra­tive that Is­lam and Mus­lims are at war with the West. With each at­tack they seem to con­vince more and more peo­ple — in terms of pub­lic per­cep­tion — that drive anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. That in­creases the hate crimes that we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in this coun­try.”

Thurs­day’s con­gres­sional if­tar was the first hosted jointly by the Mus­lim Pub­lic Af­fairs Coun­cil and the Pak­istani Amer­i­can Po­lit­i­cal Ac­tion Comi­tee.

Lead­ers hon­ored as “Cham­pi­ons of Re­li­gious Free­dom” in­clude Reps. Mike Quigley, Illi­nois Demo­crat; Grace Meng, New York Demo­crat; Brian K. Fitz­patrick, Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can; and Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mark Her­ring, a Demo­crat.

Of those hon­ored, Mr. Quigley was rec­og­nized in part for his co-spon­sor­ship of the SOLVE Act, which sought to block the use of fed­eral funds from en­forc­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s orig­i­nal ex­ec­u­tive or­der on a tem­po­rary travel ban for peo­ple from seven Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tions.

The bill was largely sym­bolic as the ex­ec­u­tive or­der was blocked by fed­eral ap­peals courts. When the re­vised travel ban was is­sued, Mr. Quigley joined 50 other rep­re­sen­ta­tives to of­fer am­i­cus briefs to fed­eral ap­peals courts, of­fer­ing in­for­ma­tion in fa­vor of up­hold­ing the block of the or­der.

“The Amer­i­can Mus­lim com­mu­nity rep­re­sents our fam­ily, friends, neigh­bors, and al­lies, and I thank them for their vi­tal con­tri­bu­tions to all as­pects of our so­ci­ety and cul­ture,” Mr. Quigley said in an email to The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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