FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
12/14/2015 3:00:00 PM
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City adopts resolution to support Muslim community
SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council today adopted a resolution in support of Seattle’s Muslim community and speaking out against the rise in hateful rhetoric and violence targeting Muslims.
“We must never allow a religious test for families seeking refuge in the United States or in Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “Since our nation was founded, America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and religious pluralism. We stand united in opposition to racism and bigotry that targets any faith community.”
Approximately 100,000 Muslims call Washington State home, where they serve our community in every walk of life — as doctors, police officers and school teachers.
“Elected leaders hold a responsibility to speak truth against the anti-Muslim hate rhetoric and violence increasing in the national discourse,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The City of Seattle welcomes and affirms our Muslim residents, both native born and immigrant, and recognizes the enormous value they add to the cultural and economic life of this city. When we respond from fear, we respond from weakness. We all want our community to be safe, but fear does not lead to safety.”
The resolution encourages Seattle residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors, and encourages all City departments to direct appropriate resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.
“I came to this country as a refugee from Viet Nam with my family in 1975, fleeing war like today’s Syrian refugees,” said Cuc Vu, director of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. “This resolution truly reflects who we are as a city. Seattle and Washington State have long been a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees, benefiting our economy and our culture. It is very important that government do all it can, now as we have for centuries, as a beacon of home for those in need.”
A RESOLUTION declaring support for Muslim communities, affirming the religious pluralism of the United States, and urging Seattle residents to stand together for peace and understanding.
WHEREAS, Muslims are part of our society and, inspired by their faith, give back every day as U.S. military personnel, police officers, doctors, nurses, caregivers, teachers, and in many other roles contributing to the success of the United States of America and the City of Seattle; and
WHEREAS, our nation’s founding documents emphasize the freedom of religion and a society that embraces religious pluralism; and
WHEREAS, The City of Seattle values the many different cultures, religions and traditions our residents embrace; and
WHEREAS, The City of Seattle continues to work toward a more inclusive society and welcomes cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity; and
WHEREAS, Muslims, both native born and immigrant, represent an increasingly important thread in the tapestry of American society; and
WHEREAS, the Muslim population in Washington State is estimated to be approximately 100,000 people, many thousands of whom live in Seattle, and who share the same American values and freedoms that we all cherish; and
WHEREAS, a significant percentage of Seattle’s immigrants and refugees are Muslim and have come to Seattle seeking a safe place to work, study or raise a family; and
WHEREAS, throughout history the United States has welcomed wave after wave of immigrants and refugees who add enormous value to the economic and cultural life of our nation; and
WHEREAS, presently, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased in the national discourse and rates of hate violence targeting Muslim families and children are at record highs across our nation, which is detrimental to all people who cherish freedom and liberty; and
WHEREAS, some of the darkest moments in our nation and our city’s history have emerged from similar climates of fear; and
WHEREAS, this fear-based rhetoric distorts the reality of terrorism in the United States, where more individuals have been killed since September 11, 2001 by those who espouse other extremist ideologies like white supremacy or antigovernment fanatics than by those who espouse a perverted form of Islam; and
WHEREAS, hateful rhetoric only enables extremist ideologies to flourish in the dark corners of global society; and
WHEREAS, The City of Seattle finds this anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate violence to be against American principles of religious freedom and fairness and contrary to the vision we hold as a nation that welcomes all people; and
WHEREAS, all of Seattle’s residents deserve to live in a safe environment free of hate and discrimination; and
WHEREAS, The City of Seattle wishes to extend the traditional Islamic greeting of “Peace be upon you” to all of its Muslim residents and visitors; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING, THAT:
Section 1. The City of Seattle does not tolerate anti-Muslim hate speech and violent acts committed against those who are Muslim or perceived as being Muslim, their places of worship, businesses, schools, and community centers. These are in direct contradiction to values of The City of Seattle and our open American way of life. We encourage our residents to recognize and celebrate the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity that is represented in our City. We encourage residents to take extra efforts to ensure the safety of their Muslim neighbors. We encourage all City departments to direct appropriate attention and resources to supporting those targeted by hate speech and hate crimes.