Swing state Muslim leaders vow to campaign against Biden
Muslim leaders from some key swing states met in Dearborn this weekend to coordinate opposition to President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.
The group of activists says they’re frustrated with Biden’s support of Israel during its retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza and Biden’s refusal to support a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Fighting between the two escalated on October 7 when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking several hundred people hostage.
Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed around 15,000 people and displaced over 1.5 million more, according to officials in Gaza.
University of Minnesota Professor Hassan Abdel Salam took part in this weekend’s “Abandon Biden” conference put on by the National Conference of Swing State Muslim Leaders. That includes those from North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
At a press conference Saturday, Abdel Salam said the goal is to unite voters in those states against Biden.
“We’re looking into finding ways to build the mechanism of coordination between all the swing states so that we’re constantly working together to ensure that Muslim Americans will come out in all of these states and that Mr. Biden will lose each and every one of them,” said Abdel Salam.
Abdel Salam referenced the conference attendees in the room standing behind him, arguing Biden could potentially lose 111 electoral votes if their strategy succeeds in each swing state targeted.
During the press conference, speaker after speaker repeated that it was too late for Biden to earn back the Muslim community’s vote through his refusal to call for a lasting ceasefire.
Michigan-based activist Samra’a Luqman was among them. She also criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s handling of the conflict.
Luqman said Biden should have called for a ceasefire in October.
“This is also a message that no matter how many people you contact to deter us, no matter what pathetic or sorry attempts that Blinken tries to make to mitigate future bombings, no matter how you try to change the narrative or the subject, we will never forget that you already crossed the line,” Luqman said.
Biden has previously defended Israel’s attacks as part of its right to defend itself.
But the Muslim activists in Dearborn made the case that Biden had the power to influence Israel’s handling of the situation and bring peace to the area.
Jaylani Hussein directs the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“Families and children are being wiped out with our own tax dollars. The largest and most sophisticated bombs are being used on the largest and the most densely populated places in the world in Gaza,” Hussein said.
Hussein clarified that campaigning against Biden doesn’t mean community support for former President Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner.
“We don’t have two options. We have many options and we’re going to exercise that. And we’re going to teach the rest of this country that you do not have to have two options. You can have more than two options,” Hussein said.
He and other speakers argued any candidates going forward will need to earn the Muslim community’s vote.
The Michigan Democratic Party has previously said it’s engaging with the Arab American community.
Following Saturday’s press conference, the party pointed to a statement by Ahmed Boomrod, a Muslim Dearborn resident and executive at the company, GDI Integrated Facility Services.
“While I have been very disappointed with the way the administration has handled the conflict in Gaza, especially with the loss of so many innocent Palestinian lives, I am also a realist. I think the administration has gotten the message and know they have a lot of work they need to do. Especially with Arab, Muslim and young Americans in Michigan. The truth is that the Biden administration has had accomplishments,” Boomrod’s statement read.
It referenced Biden’s appointment of Muslim federal judges and repealing the so-called “Muslim ban” put in place by the Trump Administration. Boomrod said he's planning to vote for Biden in 2024.
“I’ve been listening to what the Republican presidential candidates are saying, and I absolutely will not be voting for them. They will be far wors(e) on Middle East issues and don’t have a plan or a vision of how to move our country forward — and voting for a third party isn’t a real option, it is the same as voting for the Republican Party,” Boomrod continued.