Ahmad Abdel-Rahman
April 8, 2024

American Muslims are pressuring Biden to stop the war in Gaza

As the Israeli massacres continue even in the holy month of Ramadan, pressure continues on US President Joe Biden to make more efforts to stop the war in Gaza. As the 2024 US election season begins, American Muslims and Arab Americans are threatening not to vote again for the Democratic president.

More than 40 Islamic, Palestinian and Arab American leaders and groups in Chicago refused to hold a meeting with White House officials before the primary elections that will be held within days in Illinois. They indicated that the reason for this refusal was the continued US funding of the Israeli war on Gaza, according to the American newspaper the New York Times.

In a letter sent to the White House, these leaders said there was "no point" in holding additional meetings after they had already made clear to the Biden administration their demand for a permanent ceasefire through previous discussions, protests and media interviews. "We believe that another meeting will not yield any tangible results after months of White House inaction followed by modest action," they wrote in a letter. "We are interested in taking serious action."

They continued: "Providing a belated amount of aid, whether through airdrops or temporary sidewalks, to besieged Palestinian civilians under fire, while the US administration remains unwilling or unable to stop the killing is like applying bandages to one hand while holding the axe in the other hand."

More than 100,000 Arab Americans live in Chicago, according to the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, while at least 350,000 Muslims live in Illinois.

More rejection for Biden

This rejection comes on the heels of similar actions by Muslim and Arab-American groups across the country angry at Joe Biden's handling of the Israeli war in Gaza. More than 32,000 people have been killed since October 7, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. In late January, 15 Michigan leaders canceled a hearing for Biden's re-election campaign.

"They're reaching out to the community now to talk about the issues that are unfolding as if they were electoral or political problems," said Abdullah Hammoud, mayor of Dearborn, Michigan — home to one of the country's largest Arab-American populations. "For us, that's not what it is, it is a humanitarian issue. The Palestinians are not only important because of poll numbers."

In early February, Palestinian Americans declined an invitation to attend a round table discussion with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Last month, American Muslim and Arab leaders met with Biden's senior advisers in Dearborn, Michigan, where some attendees said officials listened to their concerns. Deputy National Security advisor John Feiner acknowledged during the meeting that there were "mistakes" in the response to the Israeli war in Gaza. .

The refusal to meet comes alongside growing worry within the Biden administration as Democratic voters registered increasing caution in the recent primaries. More than 100,000 Michigan voters in the state's Democratic primary last month chose "noncommittal" in protest of Biden's stance on the war. Similar efforts have been launched in Washington, Minnesota and Georgia.

The Illinois primary is in days, and while the state does not have a "non-committed" option at the polls, some leaders are still encouraging voters to cast protest ballots.

Muslim leaders in a number of swing states in America pledged to withdraw their support for President Joe Biden, during a conference held last December, near Detroit.

According to what the Associated Press reported, Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden's handling of Israel's war on Gaza could cost him significant support among Arab Americans, which could change the outcome of the presidential elections scheduled for next November.

Photo: More than 100,000 Arab Americans live in Chicago (by Adobe)