On Thursday, November 10, 2022, the Cities Association of Santa Clara County adopted a landmark resolution Denouncing Islamophobia that the team at Islamic Networks Group (ING) helped to draft, which you can access here. Below is the original resolution submitted by ING. We encourage other cities to adopt the same resolution for all of the reasons we state in the resolution.
Draft Resolution Denouncing Islamophobia
Maha Elgenaidi (Bio) and ING team
Whereas, Islam is a major world religion based on peace, charity, and community, with 2 billion adherents worldwide and approximately 3.5 to 6 million Muslims in the United States, comprising 1-2% of the total United States population; and
Whereas, approximately 250,000 Muslims live in the San Francisco Bay Area[i] and make up at least 3.5% of the population[ii] and are represented in all aspects of the community, professions, and businesses; and
Whereas, Muslims are an invaluable part of the Silicon Valley due to the substantial number of Muslim computer engineers and numerous Muslim-owned businesses and start-ups which contribute to the Bay Area economy; and
Whereas, Muslims continue to be the victims of Islamophobia with 68% of Muslim Americans saying they have experienced Islamophobia and of these, 76% experienced it recently:
- Muslim women report higher rates (77%);
- 94% report that Islamophobia affects their emotional and mental well-being;
- 88% censor speech or actions out of fear of how people might react to them, with Muslim women reporting a higher rate (92%);[iii] and
Whereas, Muslims experience higher levels of religious discrimination than any other group, with 62% of Muslim Americans reporting religious discrimination;[iv] and
Whereas, Muslim job applicants received 32% fewer emails and 42% fewer call backs;[vii] and while Muslims make up 1-2% of the workforce, they file over 20% of religious discrimination claims;[viii] and
Whereas, Islamophobia is structural racism in various societal institutions which continue to promote negative images of Islam and Muslims; and
Whereas, Islamophobia is anti-Muslim racism and connected to other racisms, including anti-Black racism, antisemitism, and other forms of bigotry; and
Whereas, media coverage of Muslims is worse than any other group, and almost 80% of articles mentioning Muslims or Islam are negative;[ix] and
Whereas, in education, textbooks and other resources often cast Muslims as antiquated and incompatible with modernity, sexist and oppressive towards women, or violent terrorists;[x] and
Whereas in literature, both fiction and non-fiction, Muslims are portrayed as backwards and sexist;[xi] and
Whereas, Hollywood representations of Muslims have consistently been stereotypical and negative, casting them as bad guys, violent, foreigners, or terrorists;[xii] and
Whereas, popular video games are often based in the Middle East and target Muslims as villains or terrorists;[xiii] and
Whereas, Islamophobic campaigns across the country have opposed the building of new mosques in recent years and mosques nationwide have been vandalized, including in California;[xiv] and
Whereas, discriminatory government policies such as the 2017 travel ban have singled out Muslims based on a view of them as all being a security threat; and
Whereas, recent events and attitudes expressed in the United States have spotlighted a critical misunderstanding of Islam and its teachings, and highlighted the erroneous conflation of a particular country’s civil and human rights abuses with the teachings of Islam; and
Whereas, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects freedom of religion, and it is the responsibility of the government to protect citizens and uphold their civil rights; and
Whereas, diversity, inclusivity and equity are values shared by the cities of Santa Clara County.
Now Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Cities Association of Santa Clara County stands in solidarity with its Muslim communities, upholding their safety and rights, and condemns any bigotry, bias, or acts of violence against them, especially acts that are predicated on religious intolerance. We are committed to fighting ignorance with education, to meeting inaction with action, and creating safe spaces for fostering understanding, and implementing policies promoting cultural competency, awareness and appreciation of Islam and our Muslim communities.
[i] Farid Senzai and Hatem Bazian, The Bay Area Muslim Study: Establishing Identity and Community (Dearborn, MI: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 2013), https://www.ispu.org/public-policy/the-bay-area-muslim-study/.
[iii] Elsadig Elsheikh and Basima Sisemore, Islamophobia through the Eyes of Muslims: Assessing Perceptions, Experiences, and Impacts (Berkeley: Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, 2021), https://belonging.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/2021-09/Islamophobia%20Through%20the%20Eyes%20of%20Muslims.pdf.
[iv] Dalia Mogahed, Erum Ikramullah, and Youssef Chouhoud, American Muslim Poll 2022: A Politics and Pandemic Status Report (Dearborn, MI: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 2022), https://www.ispu.org/public-policy/american-muslim-poll-2022/.
[v] Dalia Mogahed and Erum Ikramullah, American Muslim Poll 2020: Amid Pandemic and Protest (Dearborn, MI: Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 2020). https://www.ispu.org/american-muslim-poll-2020-full-report/.
[vi] Examining Islamophobia in California Schools (Anaheim, CA: CAIR California, 2021), https://static.ca.cair.com/reports/islamophobia/downloads/cair-ca-bullying-report-2021.pdf.
[vii] Tom Breen, “Great Resume, Too Bad About Your Religion,” UConn Today, June 16, 2014, http://today.uconn.edu/2014/06/great-resume-too-bad-about-your-religion.
[viii] “Religion-Based Charges Filed from 10/01/2000 through 9/30/2011 Showing Percentage Filed on the Basis of Religion-Muslim,” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accessed November 3, 2022, http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/events/9-11-11_religion_charges.cfm.
[ix] Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen, “Newspaper coverage of Muslims is negative. And it’s not because of terrorism,” The Washington Post, December 20, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/12/20/newspaper-coverage-of-muslims-is-negative-and-its-not-because-of-terrorism/.
[xii] Anousha Sakoui, “Riz Ahmed wants to end Hollywood’s misrepresentation of Muslims. Here’s how,” Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2021-06-10/riz-ahmed-calls-time-on-hollywood-harmful-portrayals-of-muslims.
[xiii] Ahmet Ali Akbar, “I Avoided ‘Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’ Because I Didn’t Want To Be The Villain,” Buzzfeed, April 29, 2017, https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ahmedaliakbar/playing-call-of-duty-while-muslim.
[xiv] “Nationwide Anti-Mosque Activity,” The American Civil Liberties Union, updated January 2022, https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/discriminatory-profiling/nationwide-anti-mosque-activity.
[xv] “Anti-Muslim,” The Southern Poverty Law Center, accessed November 3, 2022, https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/anti-muslim.
[xvii] “FBI Releases Updated 2020 Hate Crime Statistics,” The Federal Bureau of Investigation, October 25, 2021, https://www.fbi.gov/news/press-releases/press-releases/fbi-releases-updated-2020-hate-crime-statistics.
[xviii] Christina Carrega and Priya Krishnakumar, “Hate crime reports in US surge to the highest level in 12 years, FBI says,” CNN, October 26, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/30/us/fbi-report-hate-crimes-rose-2020/index.html.