Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Michigan Arab and Muslim leaders fuming after second Biden visit this year with no meeting

By 37ci3 Mar15,2024

SAGINAW, Mich. – President Joe Biden visited Michigan for the second time this year without meeting members of America’s Arab or Muslim communities in person as he faced protests on the campaign trail and at the ballot box over Israel’s military operations in Gaza. .

According to the Biden campaign, the president on Thursday visited Saginaw, which he called “a diverse city with a large black and large Latino population,” for an organizational meeting. He said Biden would make the remarks to highlight the “stark contrast between his spending-cutting agenda for Michiganders and Donald Trump’s attacks on working families in the state, including comments this week promising to cut Medicare and Social Security.”

But Biden’s team kept the parking lot close at hand Minimizing the chance of protests and disruptions to events related to Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

In January and February, officials from the campaign and The White House traveled to Dearborn to meet with some members of the Muslim and Arab American communities, but Biden himself did not attend either event.

Several community leaders also chose not to attend As they continue to press Biden to engage more directly with them, demand an immediate ceasefire in the war and conditions for additional US military aid to Israel.

There were still protests in Saginaw on Thursday, as activists from the “Reject Biden” movement held a news conference downtown, urging him to support a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

But some organizers say too much violence has already occurred under the Biden administration for them to consider re-electing Biden in November.

“I voted for Biden; I had a Biden sign in my yard, actually. I am now the co-chair of the Deny Biden campaign. So is it on me or is it on Joe Biden?” one of the group’s leaders, Khalid Turaani, said. “I think Joe Biden’s complete failure to address the humanitarian crisis, the genocide in Gaza, is really a war crime. I mean, it really is a war crime. In a perfect world, I think Joe Biden will be between Benjamin Netanyahu in The Hague.”

In late January, the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered the Israeli government to take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza, but did not directly call for or rule on a ceasefire in the war. Decision that Israel committed genocide.

Turaani warned politicians not to underestimate the growing movement in key battleground states like Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania heading into the general election.

“If you want to make a bet to stop this action, good luck in November,” Turaani said, adding, “We want to make sure Joe Biden gets a one-term president, and his loss will be compounded by the shame of the genocide in Gaza.”

While Biden made several stops around Saginaw, senior White House officials met privately with Arab American and Muslim community leaders in Chicago. a large Palestinian American population.

A source familiar with the plans said officials have heard community leaders speak openly about concerns about the war in Gaza, as well as growing Islamophobia in the United States. not all community members who were invited to the meeting attended.

“There are some Muslim leaders who are pushing the administration to continue testing with the communities, even if the White House is cool at first. They want to see the effort,” said an Arab American and another person familiar with the concerns of the Muslim community.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

It was the first time in Michigan since Biden’s party’s 2024 presidential nomination — and since last month’s Democratic primary in which about 13% of voters chose the “disaffected” option, many of whom objected to his stance on Israel. – Hamas war. That added more than 100,000 voters in the state and raised concerns about Biden’s general election prospects in 2020 after he defeated former President Donald Trump by 154,000 votes in Michigan.

According to census data, About 300,000 people of Middle Eastern and North African descent live in Michigan. Many voters have leaned Democratic in the past.

Biden had hoped for a temporary truce until the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins this week. However, the plans did not materialize after negotiations between Hamas and Israel failed to reach an agreement.

Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud said no one from the White House had contacted Biden before his trip to Saginaw.

He added that local members of the Arab American and Muslim community are more interested in seeing policy changes than in further conversation with Biden’s team.

“I think that the society’s perspective is dialogue for the sake of dialogue, which is not really meaningful. What we’re looking for is action, you know, because lip service doesn’t get you anywhere,” Hammoud said. “We’ve seen a change in tone now that the president recognizes Palestinian suffering, but what we want are actual concrete steps to alleviate Palestinian suffering.”

He also spoke of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s calls to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation and The new elections in Israel did not go far enough.

“What we’ve known for decades, Senator Schumer has realized is that Benjamin Netanyahu is neither a partner nor an ally of the American government or the American people, and it’s time to destroy this fascist and this war criminal. Hammud said.

Asked if he would actively campaign against Biden going to the general election if the White House doesn’t hear his concerns, Hammoud dodged the question, saying the region doesn’t have until November to resolve the war.

“People all over the world wake up every day and what we find is the death toll – how many innocent men, women and children have been killed,” he said. “Frankly, we don’t have time until November. We advocate for change today to prevent the killing of innocent men, women and children. Our attention will be directed to that.”

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By 37ci3

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