The Biden Administration is getting ready to announce a long-awaited national strategy to combat Islamaphobia, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The announcement had originally be scheduled for last week but was delayed after President Biden met with Muslim leaders, due in part to concerns from the Muslim American community regarding the Administration’s verbose support for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza, according to AP sources.
The anti-Islamaphobia announcement has been expected for months, following the Administration’s release of a national strategy to combat antisemitism in May that also made a passing reference to countering anti-Muslim sentiments and actions.
On Monday, amid rising tensions at U.S. colleges and universities in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, the Biden Administration unveiled new actions to combat antisemitism on campuses, with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security partnering with campus law enforcement to track hate-related rhetoric online and provide federal resources to schools.
A 21-year-old student at Cornell University was arrested Tuesday and slapped with federal charges following social media posts threatening violence against Jewish students.
However, Rabbi Esther Reed of Rutgers University noted that it’s not just Jewish students but also “Muslim students [who] are walking around scared.”
Already, Islamaphobia in the U.S. has taken at least one life following Hamas’ massive October 7 attack on Israel: a 6-year-old boy of Palestinian descent in Illinois was fatally stabbed and his mother was wounded, allegedly by their landlord, who’s been charged with murder and hate crimes.
“This horrific act of hate has no place in America and stands against our fundamental values: freedom from fear for how we pray, what we believe, and who we are,” Biden said in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the boy, Wadea Al-Fayoume.
One AP source said that despite widespread agreement among the Muslim American community about the need for a national strategy to counter Islamophobia, there is some disagreement among community leaders over whether the issue of Israel’s war in Gaza should remain separate—as the Administration would prefer—or interrelated to an overall Islamaphobia strategy.