Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, December 2023
Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Muslim American Leaders from Swing States Vow Not to Vote for Biden in 2024, for his Support for the Israeli Genocidal War on Gaza
December 4, 2023
Group of swing state Muslims vows to ditch Biden in 2024 over his war stance
BY CLAIRE SAVAGE Updated 10:59 PM EST,
December 2, 2023
CHICAGO (AP) —
Muslim community leaders from several swing states are pledging to withdraw support for U.S. President Joe Biden, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza
Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledged to withdraw support for U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday at a conference in suburban Detroit, citing his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.
Leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gathered behind a lectern that read “Abandon Biden, ceasefire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza on Saturday updated the death toll in the Israel-Hamas war to 15,200 Palestinians, roughly two-thirds of them women and minors. Some 1,200 Israelis have been killed, most during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas that triggered the war.
Biden’s unwillingness to call for a ceasefire has damaged his relationship with the American Muslim community beyond repair, according to Minneapolis-based Jaylani 'Husain, who helped organize the conference.
"Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars," Hussein said. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”
'Husain, who is Muslim, told The Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden. I even had one incident where a religious leader asked me, 'How do I get my 2020 ballot so I can destroy it?" he said.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates previously said the Biden administration has pushed for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, adding that “fighting against the poison of anti-Semitism and standing up for Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself have always been core values for President Biden.”
Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were critical components of the "blue wall" of states that Biden returned to the Democratic column, helping him win the White House in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans identify as Muslim, or 1.1% of the country's population, and the demographic tends to lean Democratic, according to Pew Research Center.
But leaders said Saturday that the community's support for Biden has vanished as more Palestinian men, women and children are killed in Gaza.
“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” Hussein said at the conference.
The Muslim community leaders' condemnation of Biden does not indicate support for former President Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the Republican primary, 'Husain clarified.
“We don't have two options. We have many options. And we're going to exercise that," he said.
Savage is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.
Swing-state Muslim Americans threaten to vote against Biden
Muslim Americans voted overwhelmingly for Biden. But community leaders in swing states tell NBC News that the president's handling of the war in Gaza risks losing their support.
Oct. 31, 2023, 3:58 PM EDT
As Israel’s U.S-backed war against 'Hamas intensifies and Palestinian civilian deaths mount, a growing number of swing-state Muslim American and Arab American leaders are warning President Joe Biden that he is losing support from their communities in ways that could cost him in next year’s election.
Muslim Americans overwhelmingly backed Biden in 2020 and would be expected to again in 2024, especially if his opponent is former President Donald Trump, who has revived his plans to ban many Muslims from entering the United States.
But in multiple battleground states that Biden won with thin margins last time, a growing chorus of community leaders say his handling of the war in Gaza and Islamophobia at home jeopardize his path to victory in the Electoral College, with many Muslim American and Arab American voters saying they plan to either stay home next November, vote for a write-in or a third-party presidential candidate, or simply leave the top of the ticket blank.
And while the election is more than a year away, these warnings are coming not just from usual suspects — such as never-satisfied activists on the restive left — but Democratic elected officials, nonpartisan community leaders, Muslim get-out-the vote groups and even some of Biden’s biggest Arab American validators.
“It literally may dissuade enough voters to sit back in the next election and watch Donald Trump control the presidency, watch the Republicans control the Congress and also know that conservatives will have control of the Supreme Court,” said Wa-il Al-Zayyat, the CEO of Emgage, the country’s largest group focused on turning out Muslim American voters.
“The sad thing about it is those who truly care about democracy did this to themselves by their mismanagement of this issue,” Al-Zayyat said of Biden, with whom he met last week as part of a small group of Muslim American leaders invited to the White House.
Numbers are difficult to pinpoint, since neither the U.S. Census nor media exit polls ask about religion or Arab ethnicity. But a post-election poll conducted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations found that 69% of Muslim American voters backed Biden in 2020.
And while Muslims are a tiny minority of the overall U.S. population — about half the number of American Jews — they happen to make up a large enough proportion of several battleground states to be at least theoretically capable of swinging an election, were they to pull support from Biden en masse.
For instance, Biden won Arizona by just about 10,500 votes. The nongovernmental U.S. Religion Census, run by a consortium of religious institutions and other nonprofit groups, estimated that there were 110,00 Muslim adherents in Arizona total, including people ineligible to vote because they are too young or not citizens.
Biden won Georgia by about 12,000 votes; the Religion Census estimates there are 123,000 Muslim adherents in the state. He won by about 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, where there are an estimated 69,000 Muslim adherents. Biden won Michigan by about 154,000 votes, and there are estimated 242,000 Muslim adherents in the state. And he won Minnesota by about 233,000, where there are an estimated 115,00 Muslims.
“Many, including myself, are considering voting the other way or leaving the ticket blank,” said Sumayya Abdul-Qadir, program director at the Arizona Muslim Alliance, which has been urging members of Congress to support a cease-fire.
“The frustration is also about the sheer amount of money being spent on war, weapons, Israel and Ukraine,” he continued. “The president wants $105 billion to send to Israel so they can continue this genocide. We can’t stand for that.”
Biden campaign spokesman 'Ammar Mousa said the president continues to work "closely and proudly" with Muslim American and Palestinian American community leaders.
"President Biden knows the importance of earning the trust of every community, of upholding the sacred dignity and rights of all Americans. The President and this administration have been unequivocal: there is no place for Islamophobia, xenophobia, or any of the vile racism we have seen in recent weeks," Moussa said. "As MAGA Republicans continue to run on an openly Islamaphobic platform -- including renewed support for Donald Trump's Muslim ban -- the stakes of next year's election could not be more consequential."
Muslim and Arab Americans have changed their political allegiances in the past. Many voted for Republicans, including George W. Bush, before being turned off from the GOP after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and as Islamophobic rhetoric became more tolerated by the party after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Realizing the potential problem, the White House has tried to balance its support for Israel and Jewish Americans with calls for restraint in Gaza, including a humanitarian “pause” in fighting, a push for more aid to Gaza and increased resources to combat Islamophobia at home.
“We’ll continue to engage in conversations with these important communities and to be unequivocal in condemning hate and discrimination against them and, as the president has said, we must continue to work towards a two-state solution,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.
The White House has also been tapping its Muslim American and Arab American appointees as ambassadors and sounding boards for their communities, organizing listening sessions for them with White House chief of staff Jeff Zients and Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn and conducting one-on-one outreach to elected officials who are Muslim or have large Arab or Muslim constituencies.
Dunn, one of Biden’s most powerful and politically savvy aides, has been holding daily video conferences with both Arab American and Jewish American administration officials around what people are hearing from their community, according to a White House official.
With emotions running high, these internal meetings have not always been pleasant, the official said, which they said underscored the president's commitment to hearing honest feedback.
Still, outside the White House, some Muslim American activists say the engagement is appreciated, but not enough.
“The White House is actively engaging Muslims, it’s just not listening to them,” said Robert McCaw, CAIR’s top lobbyist and government affairs director, stating what they really want is a cease-fire. “Their policy is not no Palestinian civilian deaths, it’s just, ‘Hopefully less Palestinian civilian deaths’ while resupplying Israel and the bombs they’re dropping.”
Even the meeting between Biden and Muslim and Arab leaders last week meant to smooth things over ended up causing some new friction after the participants felt the White House did not want to publicly acknowledge their presence — a contrast with how the White House touted its meeting with Jewish leaders — and decried the fact that there was only one Palestinian American among the participants.
Waseem Malas, executive director of the Wisconsin Muslim Civic Alliance, said many in his community feel that Biden has failed to recognize the humanity of Palestinian civilians and advocate for their plight as much as he has for Israeli citizens killed in the Oct. 7 terror attack.
“It will definitely have an impact on the elections ... A lot of Muslims have voiced their frustration to the point that they’re talking about sitting out the elections,” he said. “President Joe Biden and other leading members within his party fail to acknowledge both sides of the story — sincerely.”
Biden’s remarks in an Oval Office address this month urging Israel “not to be blinded by rage” and telling Muslim Americans, “I see you" and "you belong” were helpful, Malas said, noting that the White House seems to be moving in a better direction. But still, he said, it’s not enough.
“Following the president’s speech, Muslims don’t feel at ease that tensions will subside. So while we’re grateful for the change in language and rhetoric, Muslims in Wisconsin and in America — insofar as I can speak on their behalf — we don’t feel that was enough to calm tensions,” he said.
Malas said his organization has not heard from the White House.
“If anyone feels that they’ve damaged their ties with our community, they should right now seek to amend things while Muslims are still willing to hear everyone and before more civilian deaths transpire. Because as the death toll mounts, and people are silent on the genocide, it will be very difficult to gain their trust back,” he added.
In Georgia, state Rep. Ruwa Romman, a 30-year-old Democrat who is Palestinian American and last year became the first Muslim American woman elected to the Georgia state House, said displeasure with Biden is not just coming from young activists, but also from elder statesmen in her community who supported Biden.
“Every single person I’ve spoken to said if the election were tomorrow, I could not vote for Joe Biden,” she said. “These are his fundraisers ... these are the most politically active people in my Muslim and Arab community.”
Romman, who knocked on doors and did outreach on behalf of Biden and now can’t say how she would vote, said she feels “personally responsible with what’s happening in Gaza right now, because I went and canvassed for him.”
“Those of us who are politically involved, who are Muslim, and particularly Palestinian, there’s this sense of, ‘Did we cause this?’” she said.
Romman also said she and others feel “bullied” to commit now to supporting Biden next year, which she said feels to some like having to choose between supporting the person they view as allowing their family members in Gaza to be bombed (Biden) or the person who they feel would endanger their families and themselves in the U.S. (Trump).
“Usually the retort is, do you want Trump as president? And the answer is no, of course we do not want Trump to be president,” she said. “For some people, it’s like, do I pick my own personal safety and security or the killing of my family?”
In Minnesota, local Muslim leaders held a press conference Friday setting a deadline of noon Tuesday for Biden to call for a full cease-fire in Gaza or lose their support. Biden did not oblige, though the White House has been calling for a “pause” in fighting to allow more humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.
“How could we vote for you, when you allow 2.2 million people to go out without having food? How can we vote for you, if you allow 2.2 million not to have water?” Hassan Abdel Salam, a professor of human rights at the University of Minnesota, said at the press conference. “It’s against our very tradition and our religion to be complicit and to actively support someone who seeks the destruction of human life.”
"I am honestly not voting Democrat again. I'm not going to vote for Biden. My vote is up for grabs," Sa'eed Wadi, a restaurant owner in Minnesota, told NBC News Tuesday.
In Michigan, where Muslim and Arab political infrastructure is more developed, political leaders have been particularly outspoken. And at a meeting held in the largely Muslim city of Dearborn, 30 community leaders gathered for a meeting this month and all agreed they would not support Biden unless they saw a major turnaround in his policies.
“Arab and Muslim Americans have still made a clear decision to mobilize their voters,” said Democratic state Rep. Alabas Farhat, who represents the city. “But whether that includes urging support for the top of the ticket remains to be seen.”
Al-Zayyat, of Emgage, which says it helped turn out just more than 1 million Muslim voters in 2020, said the group will once again encourage Muslim Americans to turn out and vote next year, but declined to say whether that would include supporting Biden.
He said it was “reckless” for people to say now that they’re not going to vote for Biden a year out, given the threat he said many Muslim Americans feel from Trump. But he also said running against Trump might not be enough for Biden to earn their support.
“Emgage Action and our allies will be deliberating and seeing how things go,” he said when asked whom they would support for president next year. “We’re still 12 months away from the election. Everything is on the table.”
Alex Seitz-Wald is a senior politics reporter for NBC News.
Natasha Korecki is a senior national political reporter for NBC News.
Muslim American Leaders in Swing States Vow to Defeat Biden in 2024: ‘We Will Change the Vote’
Breitbart News, KRISTINA WONG
3 Dec 20233,725 7:15
Muslim American leaders from swing states launched the #AbandonBiden campaign on Saturday, vowing to defeat President Joe Biden in 2024 due to his unwillingness to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
During a press conference in Michigan, about a dozen leaders from swing states Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania vowed not to vote for him, accusing him of abandoning Muslim Americans who helped him win in 2020.
“Muslim Americans have come together finally to state in completely clear terms that the position of the Biden administration … is a red line for all Muslim Americans,” said Hassan Abdel Salam, leader of the #AbandonBiden National Coalition and assistant professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.
While some of the leaders delivered a warning to Biden to change his stance, others said he had already lost their votes.
“You won by 20,000 votes. We will change the vote. We will swing it and we won’t be standing with you this upcoming election,” Tariq Ameen from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said.
Another leader, 'Hazim Nasiruddeen from Arizona, said:
Biden only won by 10,500 votes. And the U.S. Policy and Immigration Center at UC San Diego, as well as Arizona State, estimate that there are over 25,000 Muslim voters in the state of Arizona, and I will work day and night to ensure that those voters abandon Biden this election and that we can guarantee that Arizona will not stand with a man who has tainted the blue wave with red.
Hasan Shibly, an attorney and Muslim American leader from Florida, said, “We will do everything in our power to make sure Biden does not get the critical swing state of Florida.”
“We cannot allow Genocide Joe to have another term in office after he has the blood of Palestinian children on his hands,” he added. “Now is the time to resist by every means possible.”
Samraa Luqman, a community leader from Michigan said, “We’re here to send the resounding message that we are going to continue organizing, communicating, reaching, and mobilizing Muslims to abandon a man who abandoned the people of Gaza.” She added:
I’m here to tell you this divide and that on behalf of the Michigan Muslim community, we will not be voting for you either in the primary or in the general elections. This is also a message that no matter how many people you contact to deter us, no matter what pathetic or sorry attempts that Blinken tries to make to mitigate future bombings, no matter how you try to change the narrative or the subject. We will never forget that you’ve already crossed the line on October 31st, 2023. Simply by not calling for a ceasefire.
Khalid Turaani, also from Michigan, vowed to make Biden a “one-term president”:
Joe Biden will go in history as he became one term president because of his stance on the genocide in Gaza. And we make sure of that. Now we’re going to make sure that by announcing now that we’re going to abandon Biden, we’re going to punish him by making them one term president. We’re going to mobilize and we’re going to expand the alliance of people who want to abandon Joe Biden because of his stance on the genocide in Gaza.
Jaylani Hussein with the #AbandonBiden campaign declared Biden’s presidential re-election campaign already “lost.”
“To close off this press conference today we are announcing the President Biden has lost the 2024 election. We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes,” he said.
As protests by the left have grown, the Biden administration has shifted their stance from one of unconditional support for close ally Israel, to one calling for “pauses” to recover hostages and deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Biden has also opened the door to making U.S. aid to Israel conditional, recently calling it a “worthwhile thought.”
Biden administration officials have repeatedly publicly called on Israel to abide by the laws of war. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday warned Israel, “You can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians.”
“I have repeatedly made clear to Israel’s leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative,” he said. “And so I have personally pushed Israeli leaders to avoid civilian casualties, and to shun irresponsible rhetoric, and to prevent violence by settlers in the West Bank, and to dramatically expand access to humanitarian aid.”
He concluded, “And so two things are true: any state has a duty to respond to a terrorist attack like October 7th. And every state has a duty to protect civilians during armed conflict.”
A recent report said Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israel that it lacked “credit” to defeat Hamas.
The Times of Israel released a transcript of Blinken’s meeting with Israel’s war cabinet, where Blinken lectured Israel’s leaders. According to the reported transcript, the following was said:
Blinken: You can’t operate in southern Gaza in the way you did in the north. There are two million Palestinians there. You need to evacuate fewer people from their homes, be more accurate in the attacks, not hit UN facilities, and ensure that there are enough protected areas [for civilians]. And if not? Then not to attack where there is a civilian population. What is your system of operation?
IDF Chief Herzi Halevi: We follow a number of principles — proportionality, distinction, and the laws of war. There were instances where we attacked on the basis of those principles, and instances where we decided not to attack, because we waited for a better opportunity.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant: The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months.
Blinken: I don’t think you have the credit for that.
After a seven-day pause pushed for by the Biden administration, Israel resumed its strikes against Hamas on Friday. Its offensive against the Palestinian terrorist organization is in response to Hamas launching a wide-scale terrorist attack against Israel that killed more than 1,200, including many elderly, women, and children. The organization also kidnapped more than 200, and after releasing about 100 in a hostage exchange with Israel, reportedly still has about 140 in captivity.
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the
use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for
in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.
Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information
for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com