On November 1st, the Biden administration in the United States unveiled its inaugural national strategy to combat Islamophobia. This initiative coincides with a notable increase in anti-Semitism within the US, which has been linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Additionally, some American Muslims have communicated their concerns to President Joe Biden, suggesting that their support for the Democratic leader in the 2024 elections could be influenced by his ability to secure a ceasefire in Gaza.
Vice President Kamala Harris has officially announced the launch of a national strategy aimed at countering Islamophobia, emphasizing that the fight against hate is a top national priority. While acknowledging the previous introduction of the ‘National Strategy to Counter Anti-Semitism,’ which aimed to address the concerning rise in anti-Semitism, she did not delve into specific details regarding its implementation or its current impact.
Notably, despite the recent increase in anti-Semitism, particularly targeting Jewish Americans, which has been linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict, Vice President Harris primarily focused on addressing what she perceives as a growing threat of Islamophobia. She pointed out that Muslims in America and those who are perceived to be Muslim have faced a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks over the years. This has become especially pronounced in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. She highlighted specific incidents, including the assault on a Palestinian-American woman who is Muslim and the tragic killing of her 6-year-old son.
In her announcement, Vice President Harris made it clear that combating hate is a matter of national importance. She and President Biden unveiled the nation’s first-ever National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, underscoring the administration’s ongoing efforts to address the surge in hate-based incidents in the United States.
In a press statement issued on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine-Jeane Pierre announced the administration’s commitment to working with community leaders, advocates, members of Congress, and other stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy to counter Islamophobia and hate in all its forms. This collaborative effort will be led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council.
The announcement is a continuation of President Biden’s directive from last year to establish an interagency group aimed at enhancing and coordinating U.S. government initiatives to combat Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the country.
This development follows recent pressure on the Biden administration by the National Muslim Democratic Council, which urged the President to use his influence to mediate a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The council, composed of Democratic Party officials from closely contested states, threatened to withhold support from any candidate endorsing the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people.
It is worth noting that a recent poll indicated a drop in support for President Biden among Arab Americans, with only 17% expressing their backing. This decline in support has been attributed to concerns about the administration’s financial and strategic support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas. Additionally, some pro-Hamas Muslim representatives, such as Rashida Tlaib, have applied pressure on the Biden administration.
The timing of the announcement to counter alleged ‘Islamophobia’ has raised questions about the administration’s priorities, particularly as Jewish Americans have faced attacks by pro-Palestine and pro-Hamas groups in various parts of the country. Reports have highlighted incidents of harassment and violence against Jewish students at universities, and some have expressed concerns over the safety of Jewish communities.