Flagrant Anti-Muslim Bias Weaponized Against SBA Nominee

Contact: Stephen Peters, [email protected], 202.466.1887
Alex Goldman, agoldman@bendthearc.us, 240.253.7095

Civil rights, Jewish, and faith-based organizations strongly condemn anti-Muslim animus, call on Senate committee to vote on nomination of Dilawar Syed

WASHINGTON — The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, and prominent civil rights, Jewish, and faith-based organizations and leaders today strongly denounced flagrant anti-Muslim animus targeting Dilawar Syed and his historic nomination for deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In a letter to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee (SBC), the organizations and leaders called on the committee to take swift action and vote on Mr. Syed’s nomination.

“Because of the incontrovertible evidence affirming Mr. Syed’s business acumen and qualifications to serve in this role, it appears that committee Republicans have, sadly, turned to character assassination in the form of anti-Muslim bias and bigotry to stymie his confirmation,” wrote the organizations and leaders. 

In the letter, the organizations and leaders outline a deeply troubling set of facts revealing that Republican Senate staff are attempting to weaponize Mr. Syed’s Muslim religion and place of birth against him, as well as falsely argue that he is unqualified for the position. The organizations highlighted a barrage of denouncements from across the country, including from Jewish communities, against deeply offensive and unsubstantiated allegations against Mr. Syed, saying “notable Jewish groups from across the spectrum, including the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League, among many others, continue to support Mr. Syed because they recognize that the anti-Muslim bias against him stems from the same white nationalism that was on display, and encouraged the insurrection against our nation’s democracy, on January 6, 2021.”

Calling on the Senate committee to move swiftly in bringing Mr. Syed’s nomination to a vote, the organizations and leaders wrote, “Unfortunately, the delay of this confirmation has come with concrete losses to American small businesses — including tens of thousands of minority-owned businesses devastated by the pandemic.” They added, “The longer the Senate delays its consideration of this nomination, the more that hard-working Americans will suffer irreparable damage at a time when they need your help the most.”

If confirmed, Mr. Syed would become the highest-ranking Muslim American in the Biden administration to date.

Read the full letter here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

Bend the Arc: Jewish Action is uniting a movement of tens of thousands of progressive Jews across the country who are fighting for justice and equality for all. We are the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on social change in the United States.