Orange County Supervisors last week signed a proclamation declaring August as Muslim American Appreciation and Awareness month.

Except for Supervisor Andrew Do. 

Masih Fouladi, Deputy Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations – Los Angeles, said the district Do represents encompasses cities like Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove and Fountain Valley, which have more Muslims than any other part of the county.

“Community members when they saw he didn’t present at the Board of Supervisors meeting they were just asking why,” he said in a Wednesday phone interview.

Do did not return requests for comments Wednesday.

Fouladi said his group has reached out to Do’s office to find out why.

Proclamations like these are regularly made at the local, county, state and federal levels recognizing different communities during different months of the year.

City officials in Irvine and Anaheim have already proclaimed August as Muslim American Appreciation month.

At last Tuesday’s county supervisors’ meeting, Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento brought forth such a proclamation with signatures of support from the rest of his colleagues on the board except Do.

Do also did not show up when Sarmiento and all other board members spoke in support of and presented the proclamation to members of the Muslim community at their Tuesday Supervisors meeting.

Supervisor Chair Don Wagner said at the Aug. 8 meeting that he has attended services at mosques in Irvine and Yorba Linda.

“I can tell you beyond question these are folks dedicated to themselves, their families, their communities and the wider Orange County community. Celebrating them is the right thing,” he said.

In a Wednesday phone interview, Sarmiento said he didn’t know why Do didn’t sign the proclamation but said the proclamation was sent and circulated to every supervisor’s office and Do’s office contacted his staff with questions on one of the clauses.

The clause in question, Sarmiento said, had to do with Muslims’ role in the founding of the nation and growth. The clause points to slaves bringing their Islamic beliefs to the U.S. and contributing to the founding of the nation.

“They asked our staff if we had any proof or evidence of that,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said other resolutions and numerous articles supported those findings.

“We felt comfortable with the way it was drafted and its content and we kind of left it at that and said that we weren’t going to remove anything, as presented,” he said.

Fouladi said part of the reason his organization works on these resolutions is to highlight the story of the Muslim community.

“A component of that narrative is just the contributions of Black Muslims and what they’ve meant, not only to the Muslim community, in the United States and in the state and in the county, but also what they’ve meant to the founding and establishment of the country,” he said.

“When a supervisor isn’t present or isn’t involved in that process, it allows for gaps in knowledge.”

Sarmiento said afterwards Do’s signature block was removed and a new proclamation was circulated to the other supervisors who were comfortable signing it.

Sarmiento said recognizing Muslim Americans is important because the community still faces hate crimes and bullying.

“There’s still a misunderstanding of the role that Muslim Americans play in society and how important it is for them to feel supported,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “When a county can uplift a community with a simple proclamation recognizing their value and their worth and contribution that goes a long way.”

[Read: Orange County Struggles to Curb Increasing Hate Incidents]

Fouladi said Muslim Appreciation month comes right before September – a time of year that Muslim students face the most bullying amid commemorations of 9/11.

Sarmiento can’t recall a proclamation during his time on the board that a Supervisor did not sign.

Earlier this year, a majority of supervisors, including Do, voted to ban flying the LGBTQ+ on county government property with a new flag policy, but Supervisors unanimously voted to recognize June as Pride month.

[Read: Orange County Recognizes Pride Month But Won’t Fly Rainbow Flag]

Do’s district encompasses Garden Grove which is home to the Islamic Society of Orange County –  the largest Muslim community center in Southern California, according to the mosque’s website.

Fouladi also said Do’s district is home to many mosques in the county serving thousands of people.

He said his organization and the Muslim community stepped up to Do’s defense when he was the target of anti-Asian and racist remarks at a Supervisor meeting in 2021.

That same year the Council on American Islamic Relations established the Center for the Prevention of Hate and Bullying.

“When someone made a public comment at a Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting towards Supervisor Do, we found that very problematic,” Fouladi said. “We wanted to make sure to go on record to say that anti-AAPI hate won’t be tolerated.”

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.


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