The White House announced the first-ever national strategy to counter Islamophobia on Wednesday in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict and amid a spike in antisemitism.
Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled the new initiative in a Twitter video, stressing that she and President Joe Biden condemn all forms of hate and the announcement is their latest step forward to uphold that duty. The announcement follows growing calls from Muslim groups and Democrats to show more support for the community and the civilians in Gaza as war rages in the Middle East.
“For years, Muslims in America and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks,” Harris said. “As a result of the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel and the Humanitarian crisis in Gaza, we have seen an uptick in anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, antisemitic and Islamophobia incidents across America, including the brutal attack of a Palestinian-American woman, who is Muslim, and the killing of her six-year-old son. A senseless act of violence that the Department of Justice is investigating as a hate crime.”
Taking on hate is a national priority.
Today, @POTUS and I are announcing the country’s first National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia.
This action is the latest step forward in our work to combat a surge of hate in America. pic.twitter.com/pxZAn7RymY
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) November 1, 2023
“And so today, I am proud to announce the Biden-Harris administration will develop our nation’s first National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia,” Harris said Wednesday. “This strategy will be a comprehensive and detailed plan to protect Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim from hate, bigotry and violence. And to address the concern that some government policies may discriminate against Muslims.”
The initiative comes as the White House announced a series of measures on Monday intended to fight increased antisemitism, particularly on college campuses, in the wake of pro-Hamas protests across the country. College campuses have experienced a wave of antisemitic incidents, including at George Washington University where students projected statements like “Free Palestine From The River To The Sea” and “Glory To Our Martyrs” on a building. Michigan State University is investigating an incident where an image of Adolf Hitler was displayed ahead of a football game.
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, President Joe Biden has reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the country while they wage war on Hamas. Prominent Biden-allies, as well as Muslim groups, have criticized the president and his administration for being too pro-Israel, worrying that the stance will cost Biden votes in his re-election bid. (RELATED: Biden Announces $100 Million In Aid To Gaza Days After Hamas Stole Humanitarian Supplies)
Young Democrats are threatening to withhold their vote from Biden, claiming they feel “betrayed” over his pro-Israel stance. Former aides of Harris’ petitioned to urge the vice president to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, while calling Israel’s war against Hamas a “genocide.”
The National Muslim Democratic Council, groups with the power to affect election results in swing states, demanded that Biden call for a cease-fire by 5 p.m. on Tuesday or else the organization would “mobilize Muslim, Arab, and allied voters to withhold endorsement, support, or votes for any candidate who did not advocate for a ceasefire and endorse[d] the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people.”
The White House has made its stance on a ceasefire clear. National security spokesman John Kirby has repeated that the administration believes that such an action would only benefit Hamas. The administration does back “pauses” in the fighting to allow civilians in Gaza to evacuate.