The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Rep. Honda: Slander of Muslims Is ‘Slander Against Democracy and Religious Freedom’

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 10/16/2009 08:00
news
Paolo Reyna

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, just released this statement blasting recent Republican accusations that the Council on American-Islamic Relations has sent interns to Capitol Hill to spy on the U.S. government and advance a radical Islamist agenda.

At the heart of this issue is whether or not diverse populations are given a fair shot at representing their legitimate political interests in Congress, either as interns, as staff or as Members.  The climate in Congress is clearly not as conducive as it should be in encouraging democratic representation, as exemplified by recent fear-rousing antics.As a result of the innumerous obstacles facing Muslim-Americans in this post-9/11 environment, their political participation is stifled and often stymied.  More channels for Muslim participation are sorely needed, as well as a friendlier climate that embraces, not discourages, diversity.   These fallacious allegations implicate the existence of a society still struggling with anti-Muslim sentiment.  My Muslim colleagues in the House of Representatives, along with the highly qualified, patriotic and committed Muslim staffers and interns that have worked with my office and with CAPAC, contribute mightily to our democratic process. Any slander against these fellow patriots is slander against democracy and religious freedom.

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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