The United States House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to approve a Democratic proposal for a U.S. State Department office to address Islamophobic bias after a Republican congresswoman used an anti-Muslim slur against a Democratic colleague.
The bill, authored by Representative Ilhan Omar, would create a special envoy for monitoring and combating Islamophobia and include state-sponsored anti-Muslim violence in the department’s annual human rights reports.
“We are in the midst of a staggering rise of anti-Muslim violence and discrimination around the world,” Omar said on the House floor.
She said: “Islamophobia is global in scope and we must lead the global effort to address it.”
The House backed the bill in a party-line vote of 219-212.
This comes a few weeks after a video emerged showing first-term Republican lawmaker Lauren Boebert calling Ilhan Omar, a member of a “jihad squad.”
“The passage of this legislation in the House of Representatives is a huge milestone for Muslims around the world and a powerful signal that Islamophobia cannot be tolerated anywhere,” tweeted Ilhan after the passage of legislation.
In introducing the debate, Representative James McGovern, the Democratic chairperson of the House Rules Committee, cited surveys showing an uptick of anti-Muslim sentiment nationwide and around the world – and the need for an energetic U.S. response. McGovern said the House had arrived at this moment because a colleague has “told a completely fabricated story, again and again, that implies a Muslim colleague is a terrorist … just because they are Muslim.”