On Monday, the California State Assembly passed a resolution officially making August 2016 “Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month,” NBC News reported.
According to NBC, California Assemblymember Bill Quirk introduced HR-59 after he was approached by an activist on the issue.
The measure officially passed August 1 with bipartisan support.
HR 59 to recognize August as Muslim Appreciation & Awareness Month passes w bi-partisan support! pic.twitter.com/oKFLp7H9Je
— Bill Quirk (@AsmBillQuirk) August 1, 2016
“Muslim Americans have made contributions to education, science, entertainment and medicine both nationally and globally,” Quirk told NBC News in an email. “Unfortunately, the Muslim community has been, and continues to be, the target of harassment, discrimination and assaults.”
He added, “It is appropriate to acknowledge and promote awareness of the myriad invaluable contributions of Muslim Americans in California and across the country, and extend to them the respect and camaraderie every American deserves.”
CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra told NBC News that the passing of the resolution represented a day of hope for the Muslim-American community. He explained that Muslims contribute greatly to the diversity of the nation and the state, carrying various key roles throughout the state of California as engineers, doctors, law enforcement officials, and more.
“Muslims participate in every facet of life in California and for them to be appreciated for their contributions … it’s very hopeful for the community when the community is under siege in this election cycle,” Elkarra said.
Here’s the full text of the resolution:
WHEREAS, Freedom of religion holds distinction as a cherished right and a foundational value upon which the laws and ethics of the United States are based; and
WHEREAS, Enriched by the unparalleled diversity of its residents, the State of California takes great pride in supporting individual religious freedoms and is strengthened by the many varied religious, political, and cultural traditions of its diverse population, including those Americans who practice Islam; and
WHEREAS, The history of Islam in this country dates back to before its founding, originating with African slaves who brought their Muslim beliefs with them to the Americas and who later contributed in numerous ways to the founding of the nation, and there are today millions of Muslim Americans, both immigrant and native-born, of diverse backgrounds and beliefs; and
WHEREAS, The United States benefits greatly from the expertise, patriotism, and humanitarianism of Muslim Americans, who represent 10 percent of America’s physicians, helping to heal hundreds of thousands of Americans each year; who have long distinguished themselves as courageous and dedicated members of the United States Armed Forces, fighting and sacrificing in every major war from the American Revolutionary War to present-day conflicts; and who regularly contribute to the health and vitality of their communities, giving food to the hungry, sheltering the needy, and providing inexpensive or free health services, among other community services; and
WHEREAS, The earliest Muslim immigrants to California mostly worked on farms and made significant contributions to early agricultural efforts, and since the abolition of the national quota on immigration in 1965 by the passage of the Hart-Celler Act, more and more Muslims have migrated to California, with approximately one million Muslim Americans currently residing in communities throughout the state, the highest number in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Similarly, there are currently more than 240 mosques in California, more than any other state in the nation, and the people of California and the greater United States benefit from the several large Muslim religious, educational, charitable, advocacy, and empowerment organizations that operate within the state, as well as from the countless prominent Muslim community leaders who distinguish themselves professionally as business owners, law professionals, doctors, engineers, teachers, and farmers, among numerous other valued professions; and
WHEREAS, Although the majority of Muslim Americans within California and throughout the nation strive to promote peace and understanding between all faiths, identities, and nationalities while upholding those values and principles that define the American people, they have nonetheless been forced to endure harassment, assault, and discrimination since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and during the year 2015 alone, there were approximately 174 reported incidents of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in the United States. It is therefore appropriate to acknowledge and promote awareness of the myriad invaluable contributions of Muslim Americans in California and across the country, and extend to them the respect and camaraderie every American deserves; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly joins communities throughout the State of California in recognizing the month of August 2016 as Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month, respectfully acknowledges the rich history and guiding virtues of Muslim Americans, and commends Muslim communities in California for the lasting positive impact they have made, and continue to make, toward the advancement of the state and the nation; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.
Exit questions: When will the state recognize Christian Appreciation and Awareness Month or Jewish Appreciation and Awareness Month? What about a month dedicated to the victims of Islamic terrorism? Also, why isn’t the ACLU and groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation up in arms over this?
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