The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today released a snapshot report on incidents of Islamophobia in the 2014 midterm election.
Highlights of the report include:
- The most significant anti-Islam action of the 2014 midterm election, Alabama’s Amendment 1, was approved by voters. Alabama is the eighth state to approve a law intended to vilify Islam. The measure was inspired by Islamophobe David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts legislation, which stigmatizes Muslims as a group from which the United States needs protection. In Alabama, two organizations – Christians against Amendment One and the Christian Coalition of Alabama – organized opposition to the measure citing its threat to international adoptions, marriage law and religious liberty.
- A Harris poll conducted prior to the election found that “just over half” of Americans would not vote for a Muslim candidate.
- Prior to election day, Republicans in New Hampshire modified their state party platform, signaling their intent to push a legal measure intended to vilify Islam.
- Georgia Islamophobe Jody Hice handily won a U.S. House seat. Hice believes the First Amendment does not apply to Islam. He also claims in that women should only be able to run for office “if the woman’s within the authority of her husband.”
- Larry Kaifesh, a Republican who sought a U.S. House seat representing Illinois was defeated. Kaifesh told the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, “I think if you follow Islam the way Muhammad wanted you to, you will be intolerant of nonbelievers, you will support aggression and you will believe that there will only be peace in the world if the world is Islam.”
- In Texas, Republican Larry Smith, who called Islam the “death of humanity,” lost his bid for a U.S. House seat.
“It is deeply troubling that Alabama voters would cast aside First Amendment principles and pass a law intended to interfere in religious liberty,” said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor. “However, Alabama’s Christians Against Amendment One, which opposed the anti-Islam law, reminds us of how great our country is when it is driven by its ideals and not its fears.”
Saylor also expressed concern that many voters contradicted the U.S. Constitution’s Article VI, which prohibits “religious tests” for public office when they said they would exclude a Muslim candidate based purely on that person’s faith.