State lawmakers take legislative aim to honor Muslim and Jewish Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG, March 14 – A diverse group of lawmakers proudly joined together today to unveil legislation honoring the heritage and contributions of Jewish and Muslim Pennsylvanians.

“Growing up as a Muslim kid in a Jewish neighborhood with a Catholic mom, I saw every day how diversity makes us stronger, better and more empathetic,” said state Rep. Tarik Khan, D-Phila., lead sponsor of the resolution to designate July 2024 as Muslim Heritage Month. “To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, ‘different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden,’ and are equally true and majestic. Today’s resolutions are about celebrating these two equally beautiful and magnificent faiths.”

The Muslim American Heritage Month measure will be introduced alongside of a resolution by state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, to designate May 2024 as Jewish American Heritage Month.

“These two great faiths and cultures helped shape the world, and they also help shape almost every community in this commonwealth,” Frankel said. “At a time when conflict abroad has Jewish and Muslim Pennsylvanians feeling vulnerable, it’s more important than ever to create space for cultural education and appreciation.”

Khan and Frankel were joined by several colleagues in the introduction of the two pieces of legislation: Reps. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton; Matt Gergely, D-Allegheny; Jose Giral, D-Phila.; Roni Green, D-Phila.; Carol Kazeem, D-Delaware; Abigail Salisbury, D-Allegheny; Ben Sanchez, D-Montgomery; Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh; Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester; Josh Siegel, D-Lehigh; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; Jared Solomon, D-Phila.; and Ben Waxman, D-Phila.

In the same spirit of interfaith appreciation, Schlossberg and Khan will deliver a prayer together before the Pennsylvania House on March 26.

The lawmakers circulated the resolutions as Muslim Pennsylvanians observe Ramadan, a month-long practice of fasting and prayer, and Jewish Pennsylvanians prepare to celebrate Purim, a joyful celebration of survival.