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No Gaza ceasefire, no votes, Muslim Americans tell Biden

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/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Muslim Americans and some Democratic Party activists say they will work to mobilize millions of Muslim voters to withhold their donations and votes for President Joe’s re-election Biden in 2024, unless he takes immediate steps to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

The National Muslim Democratic Council, which includes Democratic Party leaders from hotly contested states likely to decide the election, such as Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, has called on Biden to use his influence with Israel to negotiate a ceasefire by 5 p.m. ET (9 p.m. GMT). Tuesday.

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

“Your administration’s unconditional support, in terms of funding and weaponry, has played a significant role in perpetuating violence that results in civilian casualties and has eroded trust in voters who previously trusted you,” wrote the board.

Former U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general and the first Muslim elected to Congress, and Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana are founding co-chairs of the organization.

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

Gaza medical authorities said Monday that 8,306 people, including 3,457 children, had been killed in Israel’s three-week air and ground attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday he would not accept any cessation of attacks on Gaza. US national security spokesman John Kirby said: “Hamas is the only one benefiting from this at this point.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American lawmaker from Minnesota, posted a 90-second video Monday on X, the social networking site formerly known as Twitter, denouncing Biden’s support for what she called ” Israel’s genocidal campaign in Palestine,” adding “I don’t count on our vote in 2024.”

Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Muslim votes could be crucial for Biden in his bid for a second term in 2024, noting that Michigan’s 16 electoral votes were won by a narrow margin of just 2.6% in 2020.

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

There was no immediate comment from Biden’s re-election campaign.

Biden held a meeting last Thursday with a handful of Muslim leaders, a White House official said, adding that administration officials continued to meet with members of the Arab and Muslim community concerned about Trump’s handling of the crisis. Biden.

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

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

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

Hussein said he had no choice but to vote against Biden in 2024 unless he called for an end to the fighting. He said he was speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of CAIR.

About 70% of Muslim Americans supported Biden in 2020, Hussein said.

Leaders of Muslim American communities in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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

Andrea Shalal in Washington and Andrew Hay in New Mexico report. Editing by Heather Timmons and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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