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Biden campaign refuses invitation to address US Muslim voter advocacy groups

Muslim voters say the campaign's refusal to engage 'reveals the disconnect' between Biden and voters, as Muslims hear from third-party candidates
A Muslim organiser talks to voters outside of a polling location at Maples Elementary School on 27 February 2024 in Dearborn, Michigan.
A Muslim organiser talks to voters outside of a polling location at Maples Elementary School in Dearborn, Michigan, on 27 February (Kevin Dietsch/AFP)

US President Joe Biden's reelection campaign team refused an invitation to address a symposium regarding the voter engagement of more than one million Muslim Americans in the country, according to a coalition of more than two dozen Muslim civic groups.

The two-day online symposium was held on 20 and 21 April, and discussed issues related to the upcoming presidential election in November, including "the pressing concerns that align with the interests and values of the American Muslim community".

The symposium examined US support for Israel, "justice in the Middle East region and Asia", and domestic issues - particularly concerning the Black community in the US.

It was hosted by 25 organisations, including the Muslim Civic Coalition; Cair Action; the Abandon Biden Campaign; the Uncommitted National Movement; and American Muslims for Palestine - Chicago.

In addition to Biden's campaign, the coalition said that the campaign for former US President Donald Trump also refused the invitation.

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“While I wasn’t expecting much from the Trump campaign, President Biden choosing to ignore 1.6 million Muslim voters, many of whose votes put him in the White House in 2020, reveals the disconnect between him and the American people he serves,” Luna Banuri, of the Utah Muslim Civic League, said in a statement shared with Middle East Eye.

“President Biden’s apparent disregard for Muslims, Arabs, young people, and allies of all races and faiths - whether they’re the ones his policies are killing in Gaza or the ones he’s ignoring in America - makes it critical for our communities to vote in a way that our voices are heard loud and clear.” 

Instead, the symposium heard from several third-party candidates, including independent Cornel West, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Claudia de la Cruz of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Joseph Collins of the Libertarian Party.

"The absence of representatives from both the Biden Administration and the Trump campaign at a recent symposium, organised by a diverse coalition of Muslim groups across the country, has underscored a disconnect with our community in North Carolina and across the nation," said Mark Elbourno, a member of the Muslim community in North Carolina.

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"This has intensified our concerns about the current administration's policies towards Gaza and the broader US role in the region. As a result, we are committed to seeking leaders who truly reflect our community’s values."

Middle East Eye reached out to the Biden campaign for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

The Biden campaign has been facing a wave of outrage and a slump in voter support from the Muslim-American community over the current administration's support for Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza.

The Biden administration has fast-tracked weapons and munitions to Israel while providing the country with a diplomatic shield at the United Nations. During this time, Israeli forces have killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children.

At the end of October 2023, a small group of Muslims in Minnesota launched an "Abandon Biden" campaign after giving the president a deadline to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Since then, that campaign has spread to multiple swing states across the country.

A survey in March found that 72 percent of Muslim voters disapproved of Biden's handling of Israel's war on Gaza.

And earlier this year in the primary elections in key swing states like Minnesota and Michigan, which is home to a large concentration of Muslim and Arab Americans, hundreds of thousands of voters marked "uncommitted" on the ballot to show Biden how unpopular his policy on Gaza is.

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