Michigan Arab And Muslim Leaders Outraged After President Biden Opts Out Of Meeting During Second Visit: REPORT

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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Michigan Arab and Muslim leaders expressed outrage after President Joe Biden skipped meetings with both groups during his Thursday visit to the state, NBC News reported.

Democratic Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud stated that the White House did not contact him before Biden’s visit to Saginaw, according to the outlet. He also reportedly mentioned that the local Arab American and Muslim community wants real policy changes, not more talks with Biden’s team.

“I think the perspective of the community is dialogue for the sake of dialogue is really not meaningful. What we’re looking for is for action, you know, because lip service doesn’t really get you anywhere,” Hammoud stated, NBC News reported. “We’ve seen now a change of tone where the president recognizes Palestinian suffering, but what we want are actual concrete steps that are taken to reduce that Palestinian suffering.”

The Arab and Muslim leaders were reportedly unhappy with the U.S. government’s position on the Israel-Hamas conflict. His campaign said the visit was to highlight how his policies differ from Donald Trump’s, mainly on economic matters, according to NBC News. Although they reportedly kept the event’s place secret to prevent disturbances, protests happened anyway. (RELATED: There’s A Few Major Warning Signs For Biden After Latest Primary Contest)

The “Abandon Biden” campaign, led by activists including Khalid Turaani, reportedly criticized Biden’s handling of the conflict in Gaza. Efforts by White House and campaign officials to engage with Arab American and Muslim leaders January and February fell short, the outlet stated.  Community leaders’ demands reportedly included a more assertive U.S. stance on an immediate ceasefire and conditional military aid to Israel.

“I voted for Biden; I had a Biden sign in my front yard, actually. And I am now the co-chair of the Abandon Biden campaign. So is that on me or is that on Joe Biden?” Turaani said, according to NBC News. “I think Joe Biden’s total failure to address the humanitarian crisis, the genocide that is going on 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 among Benjamin Netanyahu in The Hague.”

Despite these challenges, the Biden administration continued to reach out with senior officials meeting with community leaders in Chicago, the outlet reported. A person knowledgeable of the details of the meetings reportedly said officials heard community leaders talk openly about the Gaza conflict and growing Islamophobia in the U.S. They also mentioned that not everyone invited attended the meeting, according to the outlet.

Michigan’s large Middle Eastern and North African population, which has usually supported Democrats, has presented a major challenge for Biden due to the Israel-Gaza war’s impact both globally and at home, according to NBC News. As Ramadan begins, the absence of a ceasefire deal has reportedly further strained relations.