US Muslims lobby Congress to tackle issues

Advocates to address Islamophobia, wealth disparity

US Muslims lobby Congress to tackle issues

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hundreds of Muslim Americans gathered Monday on Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying aimed at getting lawmakers to address Islamophobia and growing wealth disparity in the U.S.

“The Muslim American community is under a lot of stress because of the political rhetoric,” said Naeem Baig, president of the Islamic Circle of North America.

This election year has been marked by heated anti-Muslim rhetoric, with Republican candidates calling for a ban on Muslim entry to the U.S., and for increased surveillance of Muslim communities.

Baig said he hopes that lawmakers understand that “they don’t work for Wall Street, or lobbying firms -- they are here to represent their constituencies, people who have elected them, put them into these offices”, including Muslims.

This year’s Muslim Advocacy Day is the second gathering of its kind, and roughly 300 participants from across the U.S. are expected to lobby lawmakers during a series of more than 200 meetings, according to Baig.

In addition to a bill that recognizes and condemns Islamophobia, the advocates will seek to press lawmakers on three other resolutions that span a wide range of topics from access to credit to a lack of food access in urban communities and the government’s efforts to combat violent extremism.

“We’re here to support the middle class,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“As American Muslims we are part of this class, and we advocate on behalf of other segments of our society.”

Regarding U.S. efforts to combat violent extremism, Awad said that the issue "needs to be put in the right context".

“There are many extremist organizations in America who are not Muslim, and we have to pay attention to them," he said.

"There are very few people who are violent in our community," he added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Nisan 2016, 12:27