House passes Omar’s bill to set up Islamophobia czar

Washington: The House voted 219-212 Tuesday to pass Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s legislation to create a special envoy to combat Islamophobia, a week after progressives introduced a separate resolution to strip Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments following her anti-Muslim comments calling the Minnesota Democrat a terrorist.

The bill would address the rise in incidents of Islamophobia worldwide and still needs to pass the Senate before it could go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The legislation was previously sitting in the House Foreign Affairs Committee for months but was cleared last week as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced increasing pressure from members of her own party to take aggressive action against Boebert for her racist remarks.

Debate for the legislation was interrupted Tuesday night following objections made by Democrats against GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who insulted Omar during his remarks. Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, who was serving as chair of the session, ruled that Perry’s comment “impugns the patriotism or loyalty of the member of the House” and ruled his remarks “not in order.”

The Biden administration said in a statement it supported this legislation:  “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. This freedom is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is also part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

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