It’s been a eventful 2019 in regards to national stories involving or affecting the Arab American community, with President Trump, U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) among those making headlines along with a series of controversies involving the BDS movement, Israel’s occupation of Palestine and more.
The following are the biggest and most important stories of the year by month, as covered by The Arab American News:
Tlaib, hijab-wearing Omar sworn in as first two Muslim American congresswomen – Tlaib and Omar were sworn in on copies of the Qur’an as a 181-year old law was changed allowing Omar to wear her hijab.
116th Congress most diverse in U.S. history— A record number of women, 126, were included, along with a record 43 women of color.
Trump reaches deal to end shutdown, threatens another if wall is not built— Government employees head back to work after a 35-day shutdown.
Two militia men plead guilty to bombing Minnesota mosque— Two men plead guilty to bombing the mosque and a women’s health clinic in Illinois.
House backs measure to end U.S. support for Saudis in Yemen war— House supports war powers resolution for first time, votes 248-177 to end U.S. support.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar fires back at Trump as AIPAC controversy continues— Omar sparks controversy with “all about the Benjamins” comment about AIPAC lobbyists’ spending in Congress.
Feds share private watchlist with over 1,400 private groups, report says- Federal class action suit uncovers list of 1,441 companies allowed to view controversial list.
Number of hate groups increases amid rise in White supremacy— Number of active hate groups rose to its highest level in two decades in 2018, report finds.
The shameful senate vote that endangers our free speech— Senate passes S.1, the “Middle East bill” that included the “Combating BDS Act of 2019.” Peters, Stabenow vote “Yes.”
West Virginia lawmakers nearly come to blows over GOP display linking Rep. Omar to 9/11 terrorist attacks— A photo of the World Trade Center on fire with an inciteful picture of Ilhan Omar displayed at state capitol leads to the resignation of a key state official.
After heated debates, House passes resolution condemning both anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim hatred— The resolution overwhelmingly passes, condemning anti-Muslim statements and bigotry.
Facebook bans White nationalism, separatism on its platforms— Social media platform decides to ban all praise, support and representation of White nationalism and White supremacism.
U.S. Census to collect responses in Arabic for first time ever, among 13 other languages— Arabic speakers allowed to submit responses to 2020 Census in their native language.
Muslim soldier suing U.S. Army alleges she was called a terrorist and forced to remove her hijab— Cesilia Valdovinos announced she would sue the United States Army after her command sergeant major allegedly forced her to take off her hijab in front of her colleagues.
Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end U.S. support of Saudi-led war on Yemen— Trump vetoed a resolution passed by both the Senate and the House that sought to end U.S. involvement with the Saudi-led war with Yemen.
Muslims observe Ramadan as local, state and national leaders extend well wishes— Whitmer, Dingell and Trump among those extending wishes at time of heightened security.
Tlaib becomes first Muslim woman to preside over U.S. House of Representatives— Tlaib presides over a vote on Native American tribal land status on Capitol Hill.
Four Arab Americans killed in high speed California crash— Four Arab American men were killed near Los Angeles while returning from an iftar dinner.
Arab American group sues Illinois State Police over “discriminating” surveillance and recording tactics— Chicago-based Arab American Action Network sues for release of “Suspicious Activity Reports.”
Chapel Hill man gets three life sentences for murdering Muslim neighbors— Craig Stephen Hicks, 50, pleads guilty to three counts of first-degree murder more than four years after the February 2015 killings.
New analysis shows AIPAC has spent millions to fund U.S. Congressional trips to Israel— Report finds the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spends millions in all-expense paid trips for members of the U.S. Congress to visit Israel.
Oscar winner Rami Malek refused to play Arab terrorist in new James Bond film— Historic Oscar winner turns down stereotypical role.
Trump gives up on citizenship question on 2020 Census- Trump abandons plans to include controversial question.
Tlaib and colleagues spar with Trump over racist tweets— Tlaib, Omar and colleagues speak out against Trump’s comments that they “go back” to “crime infested places they came from.”
First major legal win for BDS activists achieved at Fordham University after two-year battle— Fordham University students win rights to establish a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club after two years of legal battles.
Netanyahu’s ban on Omar, Tlaib backfires, plays right into the hands of BDS movement— Travel ban on Tlaib, Omar emboldens the BDS movement, highlights growing rift among Congress and AIPAC.
Judge rules federal government’s terrorist watchlist is unconstitutional— A judge in the Eastern District Court of Virginia sides with 23 Muslim Americans in class action case against federal officials.
Trump’s Middle East envoy Greenblatt, architect of “peace plan,” set to leave post— “The vision is now complete and will be released when appropriate,” Trump administration says about controversial plan.
Former top U.S. officials: Israel planted mysterious spy devices near the White House— Top U.S. officials say Israel has likely planted surveillance devices for two years to spy on Trump.
Rep. Ilhan Omar files for divorce from her husband, Ahmed Hirsi— Congresswoman cites an “irretrievable breakdown” of her marriage.
Report shows how tech companies profit from anti-Muslim violence and bigotry— The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) releases a report showing the role that Big Tech platforms, Wall Street firms and right-wing media plays in fanning the flames of anti-Muslim bigotry.
U.S. vaping-related deaths rise to 47, cases of illness to 2,290— U.S. health officials report 2,290 confirmed and probable cases and 5 more deaths from a mysterious respiratory illness tied to vaping, bringing death toll to 47.
Muhammad makes the list of top 10 U.S. baby names for first time ever— Name takes the number 10 spot after coming in 14th in 2018.
President Trump impeached on abuse of power and obstruction of congress charges— President Trump was impeached on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third president in history to face possible removal by the Senate.