“Alhamdulillah. Dad he has been defeated, sad you aren’t here to see it but we finally did it,” Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted on Nov. 7th. “We’re all relishing in the fact that a darkness over our country has been lifted,” she said.
Such a sigh of relief many American Muslims breathed when Joe Biden finally passed the 270 electoral votes threshold to win the presidential race against Trump was very genuine. Trump has rendered many American Muslims to live in the “darkness” of being hunted by government policies and presidential statements, coupled also with a rise in hate crimes.
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So, the joy might have been because Trump is out, not necessarily because Biden is in.
Now that the moment of joy is fading out, some serious questions need to be asked about how Biden will be different from Trump.
He promised to include American Muslims in all administration levels and end the “Muslim ban” installed by Trump; are those promises enough? And would Biden keep them? What other demands do Muslims have?
Reversing Trump to the Obama-era?
Yes, Biden needs to pay Muslim voters back. Muslims played a big role in Biden’s victory through their high turnout in the critical swing states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Michigan. Overall, Muslim turnout was at least 84%, and 69% of those voted for Biden, based on an exit poll by CAIR.
During his campaign, Biden made a considerable effort to lure in the Muslim voters as he understood their potential in making a difference. This pushes the question of whether his promises to Muslims to include them in his administration and end the Muslim ban are genuine or rather more of campaign rhetoric.
This answer shouldn’t matter much. Think back four years when the same Biden was Obama’s vice-president. American Muslims weren’t living their best days back then. Obama appointed the first envoy to Muslim communities with one hand, and ordered 540 drone strikes on Muslim communities with the other hand.
In fact, the “Muslim ban” was first proposed and implemented under Obama in 2015. The Visa Waiver Improvement Program and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act signed by Obama designated the seven Muslim-majority countries as areas of concern. Trump just rebranded the same act and took some of the existing programs to a new level.
So, is reversing Trump’s policies and returning to an Obama-like-era are the best American Muslims are hoping for? The answer is no!
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