Muslim American Heritage Month Planned in Utah

10:34 - July 24, 2022
News ID: 3479816
TEHRAN (IQNA) – The governor of the US state of Utah declared July as Muslim American Heritage Month, joining only a few states that recognize the month.

Muslims in Utah


"Today Utah is enriched by its Muslim American people and culture in the arts, cuisine, business, government and sports," reads a declaration from Gov. Spencer Cox on Friday. "For over a century, Muslims have been making valuable contributions to virtually every aspect of American society."

The declaration, announced by the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, also recognizes that bigotry, stereotypes and anti-Muslim hate speech and actions have resulted in Muslim American history being neglected and says such abuses must be combated with education and awareness.

The division expressed gratitude for the advocacy work of the Utah Muslim Civic League on social media.

"We are extremely thankful," said Luna Banuri, the league's executive director. "The reaction from the community has been varying. Some had not heard about it and some had looked at it as the gateway to solutions for every issue the Muslims face in their daily life to be solved by this proclamation."

Banuri added that the Utah Muslim Civic League is planning a celebratory event and hopes to have a monthlong celebration in 2023 that would highlight various ethnic communities within the Muslim community through food and culture.

She said ideas for a month recognizing Muslims in Utah stretch back to 2020 when the league's advocacy efforts for the state's Bosnian community resulted in then-Gov. Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson issuing proclamations marking the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. According to Amnesty International, 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed during the massacre by the Bosnian Serb Army in what was a designated United Nations "safe area." Banuri said active conversations with Cox's team about the month then began at the beginning of this year.

Muslim American Heritage Month certainly isn't the only month in the U.S. dedicated to celebrating an ethnic heritage, but it may be the newest (although Arab American Heritage Month, which gained federal recognition last April is a close second).

Black History Month, celebrated in February; Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated in May; and Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated from Sept.15. to Oct. 15, have had federal recognition since 1976, 1989, and 1990, respectively. But it wasn't until last year that a congressional resolution was introduced in support of recognizing July as Muslim American Heritage Month. That resolution has not yet moved out of committee.

It also appears that Utah joins only a handful of states that have recognized Muslim American Heritage Month, including Illinois, which celebrates the month in January, and Washington. Both states began recognizing the month in 2022.