Biden Denounces Resurgence of Islamophobia Amid War in Gaza | Sojourners

Biden Denounces Resurgence of Islamophobia Amid War in Gaza

Mourners attend a vigil service at the Prairie Activity & Recreation Center for Wadea Al-Fayoume, 6, a Muslim boy who according to police was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas, in Plainfield, Illinois, Oct. 17, 2023. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska

President Joe Biden condemned on Friday what he called an ugly resurgence of Islamophobia since the Oct. 7 start of the Israel-Hamas war. 

He issued a statement on the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, established in 2022 by the United Nations on March 15, the anniversary of the 2019 Christchuch, New Zealand, mosque shootings in which 51 people were killed during Friday prayers.

Human rights advocates have cited a rise in Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian bias, and antisemitism in the U.S. and elsewhere. 

U.S. incidents that raised alarm include the fatal October stabbing of 6-year-old Palestinian American Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois, the November shooting of three students of Palestinian descent in Vermont, and the February stabbing of a Palestinian American man in Texas.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group says it received 3,578 complaints during the last three months of 2023, amid what it called “an ongoing wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate.” The figure was a 178 percent rise from complaints about anti-Muslim incidents in the same period from a year earlier.

“We recognize the violence and hate that Muslims worldwide too often face because of their religious beliefs—and the ugly resurgence of Islamophobia in the wake of the devastating war in Gaza,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

“Islamophobia has no place in our nation. Yet Muslims in the United States frequently endure baseless fearmongering, blatant discrimination, harassment, and violence in the course of their everyday lives,” Biden said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned anti-Muslim hate and violence.

Rights groups have compared the resurgence of Islamophobia since Oct. 7 to the stigma faced by Muslims after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people, Israel says. The Palestinian health ministry in Hamas-governed Gaza says the subsequent Israeli offensive has killed more than 31,000 people.

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