Speaking at a summit hosted by the advocacy group Emgage Action, Democrat Joe Biden said, “I want to earn your vote not just because he’s not worthy of being president. I want to work in partnership with you, make sure your voices are included in the decision-making process as we work to rebuild our nation.”
Emgage Action CEO, Wa’el Alzayat, said the organization seeks to maximize Muslim American turnout in key battleground states. There are believed to be over 150,000 registered Muslim voters in Michigan alone, a state Trump won in 2016 by less than 11,000 votes.
Biden has been endorsed by several Muslim American elected officials in a letter spearheaded by Emgage Action. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Indiana Rep Andre Carson all signed the letter.
It’s an surprising change of positions by Rep Omar who, only 9 months ago, declared that Biden was unfit to be president and that she was not a fan of his incrementalism.
But politicians are known to change their minds.
“Joe Biden’s presence serves not only to galvanize Muslim Americans to cast their ballots, but to usher in an era of engaging with Muslim American communities under a Biden administration,” Alzayat said by email before the summit.
The Muslim American officials praised Biden’s agenda for their communities. Among other goals, Biden has vowed to rescind the travel ban affecting Muslims “on Day One” if he’s elected.
In his address, he pledged to include Muslim American voices in his administration, if elected, and to speak out against human rights abuses against Muslim minorities around the world.
“I’ll continue to champion the rights of Palestinians and Israelis to have a state of their own as I have for decades, each of them a state of their own,” he said.
Other state- and local-level Muslim American officials signing onto the pro-Biden letter hail from several states, including Michigan.
“A lot is at stake,” Alzayat said. “The importance of Muslim American voter participation in this upcoming election cycle is greater than it has ever been.”
Trump’s reelection campaign, meanwhile, has included Muslim voters in its faith outreach on behalf of an incumbent who has prioritized religious liberty in his agenda.