Over the last two decades, Senate and House legislatures have collectively attempted to ratify more than an astounding 200 bills that target the rights of Muslim Americans, with varying rates of success. These regulatory measures, protected under the guise of penalizing terrorist acts and prohibiting the presence of “foreign law” in American politics, are redundant in their approach to the issue of Islamic Extremism. Since the Constitution and United States justice system already address these concerns, the existence of this legislation is simply prejudicial. Through loopholes in the policy-making process, members of Congress that harbor Islamophobic sentiments have the capacity to promote these beliefs, further marginalizing a religious minority with unjust sanctions.
The Dangers of Anti-Muslim Legislation
Although these legislative agendas are very evidently unconscionable, their potential to inflict grievous harm upon the Muslim community is a devastating truth. Arbitrarily, those who practice Islam may be subjected to criminal lawsuits and other unfounded allegations that aim to misconstrue the values of the religion. Furthermore, if legalized, these bills will establish a dangerous precedent: discriminatory statutes are acceptable and should be endorsed. White Supremacist organizations and other radical conservatives within Congress will pounce at an opportunity to centralize their efforts, using these rulings as leverage to execute their malicious schemes. If hate groups gain access to these bigoted laws, it endangers the livelihood of all minority people. For a more comprehensive overview of anti-Muslim legislation from a legal perspective, visit the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) where they detail the methods in which intolerant organizations vilify Muslim Americans.
Protection Under the Constitution
The right to religious freedom or lack thereof is a liberty granted by the first Amendment of the Constitution, wherein it states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The foundation of the U.S’ government is built on secular principles; Conservatives that have sought restrictions on this matter are violating an integral piece to the nation’s framework. The heart of the Judicial Branch, it is impermissible to try enacting legislation that is blatantly unconstitutional. Islamophobia, as it pertains to modern politics, is a topic primarily used by Christian Nationalists to fear-monger their subservient followers. Anti-Islamic bills like “Andy’s Law” are spearheaded by devout religious alliances and legislators that support their causes–a fundamental misdeed considering the separation of Church and State. While a majority of these proposed acts are ignored, heavily due to the impractical nature of their contents, several have exited review committees and been passed in states including Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and various others. Muslims residing in southern regions where right-wing ideologies are particularly prevalent face inexpressible danger, meaning providing them with aid is all the more important.
How to Help
The most effective way to communicate concerns of Islamophobic legislation is by directly contacting state representatives. Many congresspeople are open-minded and willing to assist with the problems of their constituents through any means necessary, it’s only a matter of reaching out. Additionally, despite the fact that overturning the rulings of a Congressional committee can be troublesome, advocacy work most optimally encourages reform. Public pressures will increase the likelihood of certain bills being dismissed or nullified, thereby diminishing the threat that such legislation poses. The Council of Islamic Relations (CAIR) specializes in protecting wrongfully convicted Muslims, such as those that will inevitably suffer as a result of the cruel, inequitable bills surfacing in contemporary America. If you become aware of an instance involving Islamophobic rhetoric, consult the CAIR website and report the happening with the given URL. Be the voice of opposition and halt the spread of religious discrimination in our government.