Op Ed: Biden Writes History for Muslim Americans
by Dr. Aslam Abdullah
Joe Biden became the first major Party Presidential candidate to address Muslims through a Muslim Political Action Committee, EMGAGE. Republican and Democratic candidates regularly visit the conventions of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee to prostrate before the Jewish state’s backers as well as the churches to demonstrate their commitment to Christianity. It is the first time that a candidate went outside the box to address the Muslim community and acknowledged their presence, contribution, and dedication to the U.S.
Joe Biden even quoted a hadith of the Prophet and appreciated Muslims for living his advice in their everyday life. He reminded Muslims that the Prophet asked Muslims to stop evil by hand or to denounce it by tongue or to condemn it one’s heart.
Condemning Trump for dividing the nation, promoting hatred against Muslims, Latinos, blacks, and many others, ruining the health system and destroying the economy by neglecting small businesses, he asked Muslims to join his campaign to create a racially and socially inclusive America. He assured Muslims that his Administration would include them in every decision that impacts America. Biden praised Muslim health workers, businesses, and social activists for their efforts in creating a better America.
Biden also touched upon the future foreign policy and categorically supported the idea of a Palestinian state. He assured Muslims of his Administration’s advocacy for Muslim minorities’ rights, especially Rohingyas and Ughyurs.
Biden was critical of dictators in the Muslim world and said that he would not entertain dialogue with them.
Islamophobia in the U.S. was also his concern, and he held Trump for increased hatred against Muslims in the country. He said that on the day of his Presidency, he would ban the Muslim ban.
His eleven-minute talk was very positive and promising. But politicians usually show a rosy picture and make big promises. Biden was open and appeared sincere in what he assured Muslims. No U.S. president or Presidential candidate has every spoken Muslim Americans in this candid manner. He took a risk in being candid on issues that Muslims deem essential. Islamophobes, Evangelical Christians and Zionists in America would see those ideas dangerous, and they might use some of his comments against him during the campaign.
However, the significance of the event is historic. It is an achievement of Muslim American political action groups to make political parties recognize the value of the Muslim community and acknowledge their contributions to society. No longer can the politicians ignore Muslims, and no longer their voices remain on the periphery of the chambers of power. July 20 of 2020 will emerge as the day of the beginning of Muslim American political empowerment.