WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden has said that he would overturn President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban on his first day in office and partner with Muslims to undo the social harms caused by such measures.
In a speech to Engage Action, an advocacy group for Muslim Americans, on Monday afternoon, the former vice president also said that Muslims were the first to suffer attacks under the Trump administration.
“Donald Trump has fanned the flames of hate in this country across the board through his words, his policies, his appointments and his deeds,” he said. “I will undo the Muslim ban on day one.”
During his first month in office in January 2017, President Trump restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The restrictions were altered during a series of court challenges and some non-Muslim countries, such as North Korea and Venezuela, were also added to the list. The order was eventually upheld by the US Supreme Court.
The US media dubbed the order a “Muslim ban” because Mr Trump had previously called for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. The president argued that the restrictions were necessary to protect Americans from future terrorist attacks.
In his speech to the Muslim advocacy group, Mr Biden accused President Trump of continuing to fan the flames of hate that led to kids being bullied in school and an increase in hate crimes. “Under this administration, we’ve seen an unconscionable rise in Islamophobia,” he said.
Mr Biden also accused Mr Trump of appointing open advocates of Islamophobia in key positions in the Defence Department and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
During its day-long proceedings, the group vowed to bring one million Muslim voters to the polls on Nov 3. Its chairman, Khurrum Wahid, said the group would work in swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida to persuade Muslim voters to support Mr Biden. “We want to partner with you to fix the societal harm of this Trump presidency,” he said.
Mr Biden said that Muslim communities in America were the first to feel Donald Trump’s assault on minority groups, with this ‘vile Muslim ban.’ “That fight was the opening barrage in what has been nearly four years of constant pressure and insults, and attacks against Muslim American communities.” Mr Biden pledged he would work with Congress on legislation to discourage hate crimes and to abolish religious and racial profiling by authorities.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2020