By Jarrett Renshaw
(Reuters) – The White House said Wednesday it will develop a national strategy to battle Islamophobia as President Joe Biden faces skepticism from many Muslim Americans for his staunch support of Israel’s military assault on Hamas in Gaza in response to the militant group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The launch of the anti-Islamophobia effort has been expected for months. The administration in May released a national strategy to combat antisemitism that also made a reference to countering hatred against Muslims, but the effort gained momentum in the wake of the ongoing deadly clash between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
WHAT IS IT?
The strategy, a joint effort led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council, will seek to develop a plan with stakeholders to protect Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim because of their race, national origin, and ancestry, from discrimination, hate, bigotry, and violence, the White House said.
“Today’s announcement is the latest step… to establish an interagency group to increase and better coordinate U.S. government efforts to counter Islamophobia, antisemitism, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States,” White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
An Illinois man was charged with hate crimes for stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy to death and wounding his mother in an attack that targeted them for their religion and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas, officials and Muslim rights activists said.
A poll conducted by the Arab American Institute, released on Tuesday, shows for the first time since its inception in 1997, a majority of Arab Americans did not identify as Democrats. Thirty-seven percent said they now identify as Democrats, 32% as Republicans and 31% as independents.
Forty percent of those polled said they would vote for former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate in 2024, up 5 percentage points from 2020.
The poll is the latest evidence that Biden’s campaign for a second term in office is rapidly losing Muslim and Arab American support over his staunch support of Israel.
(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Rod Nickel)