On Friday, an anti-Islam amendment in the annual military spending bill was narrowly defeated in the House. Introduced by Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ-8), the amendment allowed US authorities to survey Muslim religious leaders and determine if their teachings were acceptable ways to practice Islam. Based on the assessment, the Department of Defense could then arrest those Muslim religious leaders if they were found to be “unorthodox.”
Specific authorizations included:
Why this matters: It is clear this amendment was crafted to unfairly target one faith: Islam. By feeding into the Islamophobic narrative, it perpetuated fear, stigmatized the religion, and risked exacerbating hate crimes against Muslim Americans (and those perceived to be Muslim). It also opposed the fundamental principle that government should not have the authority to define what constitutes "unorthodox" religious practices.
Although this unconstitutional amendment ultimately failed, it was just 5 votes short of passing. And it will happen again if Muslims and their allies don’t speak up.
Click here to see how your representatives voted on the measure. Call them TODAY and tell them where you stand on it and any similar amendments that could be introduced in the future.
Option 1: If your Representative opposed the amendment
“Hi my name is ______ and I’m a constituent of Rep ________. I’m calling to express my appreciation for his/her opposing Amendment 13 (the anti-Islam amendment) introduced by Congressman Trent Franks for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Friday. I’d like to hear him/her speak out in the media or the House floor against what the amendment represented for the American-Muslim community. She/he needs to make it clear that she/he wants to protect those of all faiths, including Muslims. This is extremely important to me and my community, and I look forward to her/his public statements in opposition. Thank you for your time.”
Option 2: If your Representative supported the amendment
“Hi my name is ______ and I’m a constituent of Rep ________. I was very disappointed to learn that he/she supported Amendment 13 (the anti-Islam amendment) introduced by Congressman Trent Franks for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Friday. This bill would have unfairly targeted the Muslim community. Furthermore, it ran against the fundamental American principle that the government should not have the authority to define what constitutes "unorthodox" religious practices. My [family/community] and I would have been directly targeted by this amendment. My civil liberties depend on Rep.___ defending them, and not supporting amendments or legislation like this one. I urge him/her to keep this in mind in the future.”
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