House Reps Ilhan Omar and Jan Schakowsky, both Democrats from Minnesota and Illinois respectively, spoke out via an Op-Ed published by CNN, about standing up to the threat of white nationalist violence.
The pair, one a Muslim and one a Jew, cited the synagogue shooting in California as well as the Mosque shooting that took place in Christchurch New Zealand as examples of the devastation that white nationalist violence brings.
“As a Muslim American and a Jewish American elected to the United States Congress, we can no longer sit silently as terror strikes our communities,” the Op-Ed read. “We cannot allow those who seek to divide and intimidate us to succeed. Whatever our differences, our two communities, Muslim and Jewish, must come together to confront the twin evils of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic violence.”
“We’re not alone. Violence against minority groups is increasing in our country. In the months leading up to the Poway shooting, three black churches in Louisiana were set on fire, a civil rights center in Tennessee burned down — with a white power symbol found nearby, a Hindu temple in Kentucky was vandalized, and a Hindu priest was attacked in what police are investigating as a possible hate crime. Of the more than 7,100 hate crimes reported in 2017 — the last year data was available — nearly four out of five were motivated by race, ethnicity, ancestry or religious identity.
“As a nation, we cannot afford to be silent on the source of this violence. Far-right terrorists were linked to every single extremist-related murder in 2018 — the most in any year since 1995, according to the ADL. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports a 50% increase in white nationalist groups from 2017 to 2018, and according to SPLC, 81 people were killed by those influenced by the alt-right since 2014.”
According to the pair, the goal of the terrorists’ attacks are to create a “white ethno-state that excludes religious, ethnic, and racial minorities.”
“Addressing this hate should not be a partisan issue in the United States,” the Democratic congresswomen said in their opinion piece.
“Yet the current administration has manifestly failed to address its rise.”
The pair went on to highlight other times that white nationalism has caused fear or mayhem as well as policies that could have been kept in place, but that President Donald Trump ended after he took office.
The article ended with the pair admonishing their constituents, and all Americans to take a stand against white nationalism:
“We may not see eye to eye on all issues, but we must acknowledge that attacks on our faiths are two sides of the same bigoted coin. As Americans, we must all stand together in rejecting hate and embracing one another in order to create a country and a culture of unity and justice. White nationalism is on the rise. And we must defeat it — together.”