Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called on Muslim Americans to “mobilize” against President Trump in November.
“We need you. I need you,” Biden said Monday during a “Million Muslim Votes Summit” hosted by Emgage Action, the country’s largest Muslim American PAC. “I need you to mobilize and motivate one another to register to vote.”
Biden also said U.S. schools need to teach more about Islam, praising it as “one of the great confessional faiths.”
“Look, one of the things that I think is important is I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith,” he said.
“We all come from the same root here in terms of our fundamental basic beliefs and I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity, for being engaged, for committing to action this November,” Biden said. “You’re doing what has never been done before. You’re registering and turning out more than 1 million Muslim voters this November. It matters. … Under this administration we’ve seen an unconscionable — and unconscionable rise — in Islamophobia.”
In his speech, Biden also said he “won’t write love letters to dictators,” and as president would strive to “meet the moral demands of the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Yemen, and Gaza.” And he said he would seek to protect the rights of Palestinians and Israelis.
“I’ll continue to champion the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to have a state of their own — as I have for decades. Each of them, a state of their own,” he said.
Several of Muslim American officials, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) on Monday signed a letter organized by Emgage Action endorsing Biden.
“Our number one goal is to remove Donald Trump from office and to replace him with someone who can begin to heal our nation,” the letter said. “A Biden administration will move the nation forward on many of the issues we care about,” it said, citing racial justice, affordable healthcare, climate change, and immigration.
Said Emgage Action CEO Wa’el Alzayat in a statement: “This upcoming presidential election is arguably the most important one within our lifetime. We cannot afford another four years of a Trump presidency.”
In addition to Minnesota, which has a large Muslim population, Michigan Muslims will be key in the November election.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year held a “Muslim Listening Tour” in Michigan. “This is a battleground state and 10,000 votes can equal just a fraction of the voters in, for example Dearborn, which is Muslim-dense,” Lama Alzuhd, vice chairman of Emgage Action Michigan told MSNBC. “In 2020, no presidential candidate can afford to not campaign in the Muslim community.”
Just half of the total number of registered Muslim voters in the state went to the polls in 2018, MSNBC reported. Muzammil Ahmed, a board member for Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, said that needs to change.
“We believe that with enough of a [Muslim] turnout, we can really contribute to making our state vote Democrat,” Ahmed said. “The DNC realizes this.”
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