Muslim Democrat Group Demands Biden Call for Israel–Hamas Ceasefire or Lose Their Support

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
October 31, 2023Politics
Muslim Democrat Group Demands Biden Call for Israel–Hamas Ceasefire or Lose Their Support
President Joe Biden looks on during a bilateral meeting with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct. 25, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

A group representing Muslim Democratic voters has issued President Joe Biden an ultimatum to either demand a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group or risk losing the support of Muslim voters in the 2024 election.

In an Oct. 30 letter they described as an “ultimatum,” the National Muslim Democratic Council (NMDC) called on President Biden to “take immediate action to secure a ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas by 5 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Thus far, President Biden and members of his administration have avoided publicly pressuring the Israeli government to halt its military retaliation in the weeks since Hamas gunmen breached the Israel-Gaza barrier on Oct. 7 and killed at least 1,400 Israelis, most of them civilians. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said “freezing things in place where they are now would allow Hamas to remain where it is and to repeat what it’s done some time in the future.” The president and other members of his administration have also suggested Hamas should release all hostages it has taken as a precondition before the administration would back calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Your administration’s unconditional support, encompassing funding and armaments, has played a significant role in perpetuating the violence that is causing civilian casualties and has eroded trust in voters who previously put their faith in you,” the NMDC letter to President Biden states.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has reported that around 670,000 Gaza civilians are currently sheltered in 149 sites within the Gaza Strip as the fighting continues. It remains difficult to verify the exact numbers of civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip and attribute blame, but the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund reported last week that some 2,360 children have been killed and 5,364 children have been injured in the Gaza Strip in the first 18 days of the fighting.

Should President Biden refuse their calls for a ceasefire, NMDC has threatened to mobilize voters against him and any other candidates that did not support demands for a ceasefire.

“We pledge to mobilize Muslim, Arab, and allied voters to withhold endorsement, support, or votes for any candidate who did not advocate for a ceasefire and endorse the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people,” the NMDC letter reads.

The NMDC touted supporters in various swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Muslim Americans have traditionally been a reliable voting block for Democrats. Associated Press exit polling from the 2020 election indicated about 64 percent of Muslim voters supported then-presidential candidate Biden in that election, while about 35 percent supported President Donald Trump.

“It has become evident that our voices are being ignored, but our votes will not be. Simply put, as Gaza turns red, so could crucial battleground states,” the NMDC letter concludes.

Israel Conflict Strains Biden’s Ties With Muslim Organizations

The NMDC is not the only Muslim organization to have expressed disappointment in the Biden administration’s handling of the ongoing Israel–Hamas conflict.

Last week, the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) demanded the Biden administration apologize for comments he made about civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during an Oct. 25 White House press conference. President Biden had cast doubt on the exact number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip but said such civilian casualties were to be expected given the circumstances of the conflict.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war,” President Biden had said in his Oct. 25 remarks. “The Israelis should be incredibly careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel. And it’s against their interest when that doesn’t happen. But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”

CAIR called President Biden’s remarks on civilian casualties “shocking and dehumanizing” and called for an apology. The White House has refused to apologize for the remarks. National Security Council Press Secretary John Kirby further said the president was simply “being honest” about the realities of the war and that it “doesn’t mean we have to like it, and it doesn’t mean that we’re dismissing any one of those casualties.”

Members of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an American Muslim advocacy organization, have also said the Biden administration is not doing enough to recognize civilian deaths in Gaza.

“It felt like Muslim blood was cheap. All lives are not equal in the eyes of the Biden administration. There’s more precedent given to Israeli lives than there are to Muslim lives,” MPAC policy and strategy director Nalia Mohammad told ABC News last week.

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