WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will launch a new national strategy to combat Islamophobia amid criticism from some Muslim Americans over the administration’s support for Israel’s campaign against Hamas that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths across the Gaza Strip.
Administration officials will meet with Muslim community leaders, advocates and members of Congress to develop the strategy, the White House said in a statement. The effort will be led by Biden’s Domestic Policy Council and National Security Council, and comes after the White House in May released the first-ever U.S. national strategy to counter antisemitism.
“As you’ve heard the president say, hate has no place, whether it’s antisemitism or Islamophobia and discrimination and hate and threats to the Muslim community here in the United States, or the Arab community here in the United States, the Palestinian community here in the United States,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters earlier Wednesday aboard Air Force One.
The plan was unveiled as Biden was visiting Minnesota, where protesters denounced his support for Israel’s military campaign – and where eroding support among Muslim American voters could play a factor in his reelection campaign.
Israel has bombarded Gaza after the deadly Oct. 7 assault by militants from Hamas, which is categorized as a terror organization by the U.S. and European Union, and cut off access to supplies including fuel. In the intervening days, incidents targeting Muslim and Jewish Americans – including the murder of a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy outside Chicago – have risen sharply.
Speaking at an event earlier in the day, Biden said that while he would continue providing assistance to Israel as it targeted Hamas, that those operations should be conducted “in a manner that is consistent with international humanitarian law, that prioritizes protection of citizens.”