Did Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Co-Sponsor a Bill to Recognize Muslim Holidays as Federal Holidays?

A dubious website said the first two Muslim women elected to Congress wasted no time in trying to rearrange the national holiday schedule.

Image via James R. Martin / Shutterstock.com

Claim

U.S. Representatives Rashid Tlaib and Ilhan Omar co-sponsored legislation to recognize Muslim holidays as federal holidays.

Rating

Origin

When Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) took their oaths of office on 3 January 2019, they became the first Muslim women to be sworn in as members of Congress.

A week-and-a-half later, on 12 January, an article appeared on a website called “So Right It Hurts” alleging that Tlaib and Omar had already co-sponsored legislation adding two Islamic observances, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, to the roster of federally recognized holidays and were laying plans to add even more:

Freshman Congressmen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have wasted no time in shaking up the US House of Representatives. Early Friday morning, Omar and Tlaib introduced a bill adding Islamic holidays to the Federal calendar which has traditionally only recognized American holidays.

Omar and Tlaib’s bill would add Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan and the four-day-long celebration of Eid Al-Adha to the list of Federally recognized holidays, potentially granting reasons to banks, schools, and other businesses to remain closed for five additional days per year.

Omar and Tlaib justified their work as making America more inclusive of it’s Muslim-American population and moving us further away from our history as a primarily Christian nation. The women are also considering a last minute addition to their bill that would allow for regular Salah time breaks for school children and workers as well as a designated area in each public business where Muslims could perform Salah, the five daily prayers plus the Friday prayer, unmolested.

However, as of mid-January 2019, neither Tlaib nor Omar was shown on the website of the U.S. Congress as having sponsored (or co-sponsored) any legislation at all, much less legislation pertaining to Islamic affairs. It seems unlikely, moreover, that the first legislative endeavor of any fledgling representative would be trying to create new federal holidays. The last time Congress passed a bill designating a new federal holiday was in 1983 when Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday received formal recognition. No president since Ronald Reagan has signed such a bill.

In point of fact, the story was fabricated from start to finish. A disclaimer on the So Right It Hurts website describes its content as “paradoxical,” and “for parody purposes only”:

“All information on the Site and our mobile app are paradoxical, that is a ‘literary work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule.’ These articles range from misleading to wildly imaginative and are provided in good faith the reader understands that, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site or our mobile application.”

A notice on the site’s “About Us” page phrases it even more succinctly:

“So please, sit back, enjoy our show, and don’t forget; this is parody and nothing but bullshit.”

Sources
  • Parsons, Mary.   “Tlaib and Omar Co-Sponsor Bill to Recognize Muslim Holidays as Federal Holidays.”
        So Right It Hurts.   12 January 2019.

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