Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal along with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Judy Chu introduced a resolution in the US Congress condemning the racial profiling, bias, hate and violence against people of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh descent soon after the 9/11 attacks. The resolution also provides relief for those targetted.
The resolution acknowledged that a week after the 9/11 attacks, community organisations reported 645 incidents of bias and hate against these communities at workplaces, schools, residential spaces, and even places of worship. The resolution mentioned excess scrutiny, suspicion, and heightened discrimination even by public officials against people from these communities.
Policy implementations from the federal and state governments too have been based on xenophobia and stereotyping. The horrors of the 11 September attacks led to discriminatory behaviour against Americans and non-Americans belonging to South Asian and Arab communities. Many have been wrongly detained, questioned and talked about by American people and policy implementers.
The resolution mentioned that the National Security Entry-Exit Registration Systems of 2002 and 2003, required men and boys from 25 Muslim countries to register at local immigration offices with biometrics. This caused rounding up and questioning of these men and boys by the FBI, which never led to any terrorist conviction.
"We must fully condemn all manifestations and expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious bigotry while also finally acknowledging the climate of hate that Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities have experienced in the two decades since 11 September 2001. As we acknowledge that our own government implemented harmful policies that unfairly profiled and targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities, we must also celebrate that these very communities have met these challenges with unwavering courage, strength, compassion, and resilience while uniting in the aftermath to advocate for civil and human rights — work which continues to this day to benefit all Americans."Congresswoman Jayapal, press release
What Does the Resolution Aim To Achieve?
The resolution alongside acknowledgment, asks for condemnation of expressions of racism and xenophobia and the hostile environment Sikhs, Muslims and nationals of South Asian and Arab countries have had to live in, in the US. It calls for relief for the ones wronged.
It calls for:
1. Creation of a Task Force and for it to work with community-based organisations to review government policies, investigate their impact. It calls for dismantling policies based on racial profiling that target individuals wrongly based on bias.
2. Hearing by congressional and civil rights bodies to discuss and explore the findings by the Task Force.
3. Allocation of resources to independent community organisations that can bring forth demands and grievances of people from the wronged communities. This in turn will create a support system for victims of hate and will open channels of justice more accessible to them.
4. A study to understand the impact of hate, government targeting based on profiling on the mental and physical health to be undertaken jointly by the secretary of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.
The resolution has been widely appreciated. It was endorsed by many local, state, and national organisations including American Friends Service Committee; American Immigration Lawyers Association; American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; API Equality-LA; Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC); Armenian-American Action Network; Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF); and Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
The resolution was called "a critical step in acknowledging the government targeting of our communities, which predates 9/11 but exponentially grew afterwards" by Fatema Ahmad, the Executive Director of Muslim Justice League in the press release by the office of the Congresswoman.
Nikki Singh, the Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager at Sikh Coalition in the press release talked about how Sikh, Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities in the United States had to not only go through the horrors of the 9/11 attacks but also "an additional wave of targeted hate and discrimination for weeks, months, and years afterwards". "This resolution is an important recognition that our communities have persevered in the face of harmful bias from individuals and institutions over the past two decades, and that concrete policy action is still needed to even begin to repair the damage done," she added.
"While we reflect on the pervasive hate and Islamophobia that has only deepened over the last 20 years, we must acknowledge the ways our own government has fueled harmful stereotypes and actively and systematically targeted Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities. In the face of state-sponsored surveillance, profiling, racism, and exclusion, we will continue to defend our communities and work to dismantle the unjust policies that dehumanise and harm them."Hammad Alam, the Staff Attorney & Program Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus in the press release