Biden’s Promises to American Muslims

From campaign rhetoric, promises of inclusion, and the dismantling of controversial policies, Biden now has to prove to American Muslims that he isn’t just another politician.

(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A shift in rhetoric

As the cameras rolled during the second 2016 presidential debate, Hillary Clinton looked toward the audience, and called for American Muslims “to be a part our eyes and ears on the front lines” in regards to fighting domestic terrorism.

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“I think the way he’s spoken to the community, the way he’s addressed the community, the way his team has addressed the community it really does sound like a true, respectful acceptance [of us] as a part of America. As a fabric of America,” Munir said during a Zoom interview with me.

Now, as the days near for Biden to officially take office, American Muslims are watching closely whether Biden will follow through with the many promises he’s made to them.

Beyond rhetoric, moving toward action

One of the most significant changes Biden promises is an end to programs such as Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) which recently was rebranded under the Trump Administration as Targeting Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP). These programs first introduced under the Obama Administration originally served the purpose of providing grants to local communities to help prevent the radicalization and indoctrination of individuals to extremist ideologies.

(Photo by Tony Savino/Corbis via Getty Images)

Expanding laws to protect Muslims

In July 2020, the No Ban Act successfully passed in Congress, taking it a step closer to becoming the first Muslim civil rights law. The act is a significant push toward protecting individuals against religious discrimination during the visa process. In addition, the act will move forward not only to repeal the Trump administration’s infamous travel ban, also known as the Muslim Ban, but make it where no such law could pass again.

If the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE act passes, it will provide more funding towards training of local agencies in dealing with hate crimes, and improving data collection. As of now, hate crime laws and data collection vary state by state. Data from Department of Justice.

Inclusion within government

Early in his campaign, Biden announced plans to include American Muslims within every level of his administration.

The American Muslims added to the transition team so far are shown above from top left, moving right: Rumana Ahmed, Hady Amr, Reema Dodin, Shereef El-Nahal, Farooq Mitha, and Mounir Ibrahim. Public announcements for remaining posts are expected in early 2021. Photos from Youtube stills and government pages.

The significance of accountability

In the immediate moments following the announcement of Biden’s win, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, released a press statement congratulating Biden while also making it clear they would hold him accountable for his promises. This coincided with other civil rights organizations such as Muslim Advocates releasing a petition also pushing the Biden administration to follow through on earlier campaign promises.

“What I would want to see from my community is…that after we’ve done all this hard work, that we don’t just walk away from it, and that we don’t just like now go back to our lives for the next four years,” Munir said.

This sentiment continues, as organizations continue to closely follow updates coming from the incoming Biden Administration.



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