A California State Assembly resolution recognizing the month of August as “Muslim Appreciation and Awareness Month” has already sparked controversy and hostile statements toward the resolution’s author. “I put on my Facebook page that I was doing this resolution,” Assemblyman Bill Quirk, a Democrat from Hayward, told local NBC news affiliate KCRA Monday. “I got comments calling me a traitor. I got comments saying that I was working with terrorists.”
Quirk introduced HR-59 in June after speaking with community activists. The resolution was passed Monday with bipartisan support and is meant to recognize and educate Californians about Muslims and their contributions to the U.S.
“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,” the resolution reads.
Basim Elkarra, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director for Sacramento Valley, told NBC News the resolution offers hope for the community during a tumultuous election season.
The California resolution comes at a moment when Muslim-Americans are again in the spotlight. During the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of Humayun Khan a Gold Star Army captain killed in Iraq, appeared on stage and urged voters to throw their support behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Khizr Khan described himself and his wife as a “patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.”
“Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims,” Khizr Khan said in his remarks. “Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you ever read the U.S. Constitution?”
Trump has hit back at the Khan family questioning why Ghazala Khan did not speak while on stage with her husband and has declined to support Republicans who criticized his remarks including Sen. John McCain and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
The resolution is not a first in California. The city of Los Angeles declared July 2014 as Muslim American heritage month.