American Muslims tell Biden no ceasefire in Gaza, no vote

U.S. President Joe Biden holds an event to sign an executive order on artificial intelligence in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2023. Reuters/Lea Millis acquired licensing rights

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Muslim Americans and some Democratic Party activists say they will work to mobilize millions of Muslim voters to block donations and voting for Joe Biden in 2024 unless he takes immediate steps to secure Gaza cease fire.

The Muslim Democratic National Council, which includes Democratic Party leaders from hotly contested states such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, called on Biden to use his influence in Israel to broker a truce by 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT). On Tuesday

In an open letter titled “Ceasefire Ultimatum 2023,” Muslim leaders pledged to mobilize Muslim voters to “refuse to endorse, support, or vote for any candidate who supports Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people.”

“Your government’s unconditional support, including funding and weapons, has played a significant role in perpetuating violence that causes civilian casualties and has eroded the trust of voters who once believed in you,” the council wrote.

Former U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota and the first Muslim elected to Congress, and Representative Andre Carson of Indiana are the founding co-chairs of the organization.

The letter is the latest sign of growing anger and frustration in the American Arab and Muslim communities over Biden’s failure to condemn Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip following the October 7 attack by Hamas militants from Gaza, which Israeli officials said killed 1,400 people and took hostages. There were 239 people. .

Medical officials in Gaza announced Monday that 8,306 people, including 3,457 children, have been killed in Israel’s three-week air and ground offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he will not agree to stop attacks on Gaza. US national security spokesman John Kirby said: “Hamas is the only one benefiting from this right now.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American lawmaker from Michigan, posted a 90-second video on the social networking site X (formerly Twitter) on Monday criticizing Biden’s support for what she called Israel’s “genocidal campaign in Palestine.” And added: “Don’t count on our vote in 2024.”

Bassim Alkara, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the Muslim vote could be crucial to Biden’s second term in 2024, noting that Michigan’s 16 electoral votes were narrowly won. . 2.6 percent in 2020.

Muslim Americans in Minnesota, where Biden plans to visit on Wednesday, issued a similar truce ultimatum last week with a deadline of noon Tuesday. They said they planned a demonstration on Wednesday when the president visits their state.

Biden’s re-election campaign had no immediate comment.

A White House official said Biden hosted a number of Muslim leaders last Thursday, adding that administration officials continue to meet with members of the Arab and Muslim community concerned about Biden’s handling of the crisis.

Although he describes himself as a Zionist president, Biden has appointed more Arab-Americans and Muslims to political office than any other predecessor, as well as the first two Muslim federal judges.

Jilani Hussain, executive director of CAIR in Minnesota, said Muslim American leaders in other contested states that are critical to Biden’s 2024 re-election bid will make similar demands.

“We expect Wisconsin, Ohio and other states to do the same this week,” Hussain said.

Hussain said he has no choice but to vote for Biden in 2024 unless he calls for an end to the campaign. He said he was speaking as an individual, not on behalf of CAIR.

About 70 percent of American Muslims supported Biden in 2020, Hussain said.

Muslim American community leaders in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ahmet Taklioglu, executive director of CAIR in Philadelphia, said Muslim Americans in the state are calling for an immediate ceasefire, but he was not aware of any plans to set a deadline.

(This story has been corrected so that in paragraph 9 Rashidah Tlaib represents Michigan, not Minnesota)

Reporting by Andrea Shallal in Washington and Andrew Hay in New Mexico. Edited by Heather Timmons and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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