Detroit Evening Report: Swing state Muslim leaders vow to campaign against Biden  

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CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein explains reasoning behind decision to work against President Joe Biden's re-election bid.

CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein explains reasoning behind decision to work against President Joe Biden's re-election bid.

Muslim leaders from some key swing states met in Dearborn this weekend to coordinate opposition to President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.

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The group of activists say they’re frustrated with Biden’s support of Israel during its retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza and Biden’s refusal to support a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

University of Minnesota Professor Hassan Abdel Salam took part in this weekend’s “Abandon Biden” conference put on by the National Conference of Swing State Muslim Leaders. That includes those from North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

At a press conference Saturday, Abdel Salam said the goal is to unite voters in those states against Biden.

“We’re looking into finding ways to build the mechanism of coordination between all the swing states so that we’re constantly working together to ensure that Muslim Americans will come out in all of these states and that Mr. Biden will lose each and every one of them,” he said.

Abdel Salam referenced the conference attendees in the room standing behind him, arguing Biden could potentially lose 111 electoral votes if their strategy succeeds in each swing state targeted.

During the press conference, speaker after speaker repeated that it was too late for Biden to earn back the Muslim community’s vote through his refusal to call for a lasting ceasefire.

Biden has previously defended Israel’s attacks as part of its right to defend itself.  But Muslim activists in Dearborn made the case that Biden had the power to influence Israel’s handling of the situation and bring peace to the area.

Jaylani Hussein directs the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He clarified that campaigning against Biden doesn’t mean community support for former President Donald Trump, the current Republican front runner.

“We don’t have two options. We have many options and we’re going to exercise that. And we’re going to teach the rest of this country that you do not have to have two options. You can have more than two options,” Hussein said.

He and other speakers argued any candidates going forward will need to earn the Muslim community’s vote.

Reporting by Colin Jackson, Michigan Public Radio Network 

Other headlines for Monday, Dec. 4, 2023:

  • Two Detroit Reparations Task Force members resigned over the weekend during the committee’s first public meeting since August.
  • Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson signed a bill into law while serving as acting governor that aims to improve election efficiency by allowing registered voters to sign up for absentee ballots online.
  • Dec. 4-8 marks National Influenza Vaccination Week. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it’s not too late to get your flu, COVID-19 or RSV vaccine this flu season.
  • The National Institutes of Health awarded more than $2.5 million to a Wayne State University College of Engineering professor to develop a filtration platform to improve diabetes insulin treatments.
  • Also at WSU, a multidisciplinary team of researchers established the Barber Integrative Metabolic Research Program, thanks to an initial funding commitment of $1 million from the Barber Research Fund. 

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  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.