The Biden administration is set to develop the "National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia," the first of its kind, Vice President Kamala Harris announced Wednesday.
"The strategy will be a comprehensive and detailed plan to protect Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim from hate, bigotry, and violence," Vice President Harris said in a video address.
"And to address the concern that some government policies may discriminate against Muslims."
Taking on hate is a national priority.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) November 1, 2023
Today, @POTUS and I are announcing the country's first National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia.
This action is the latest step forward in our work to combat a surge of hate in America. pic.twitter.com/pxZAn7RymY
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that the strategy will be led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council, and the White House will work with community leaders, advocates, members of Congress, and more, to develop the strategy.
"For too long, Muslims in America, and those perceived to be Muslim, such as Arabs and Sikhs, have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks and other discriminatory incidents," Ms. Jean-Pierre said.
"We all mourn the recent barbaric killing of Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Palestinian American Muslim boy, and the brutal attack on his mother in their home outside Chicago," she said, referring to the fatal stabbing that took place on Oct. 14.
The Department of Justice is investigating the attack as a hate crime. The suspect, Joseph Czuba, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of murder, attempted murder, and hate crimes.
Ms. Jean-Pierre said that the latest strategy is "part of President Biden’s directive last year to establish an interagency group to increase and better coordinate U.S. Government efforts to counter Islamophobia, Antisemitism, and related forms of bias and discrimination within the United States."
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, on Oct. 31, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
"Moving forward, the President, Vice President, and our entire Administration will continue working to ensure every American has the freedom to live their lives in safety and without fear for how they pray, what they believe, and who they are."
Earlier this year, in May, the Biden administration created the first-ever "National Strategy to Combat Antisemitism."
The administration described the plan as the "most ambitious and comprehensive U.S. government-led effort to fight antisemitism in American history."
Civil Rights Act Expanded
The administration in September expanded the scope of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit antisemitism and Islamophobia in federally-funded programs.
The administration's latest announcement to "counter the scourge of Islamophobia and hate in all its forms" comes amid an ongoing war between Israel and the Hamas terrorist group.
The war began on Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists mounted an unprecedented attack on civilians in Israel that killed 1,400 people in the worst attack on the country in decades. Hamas is an Iran-backed Islamist terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip.
Vice President Harris said in her address:
"For years, Muslims in America and those perceived to be Muslim have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks.
"As a result of the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, we have seen an uptick in anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, Antisemitic, and Islamophobic incidents across America ... For so many people in our nation, the past few days and weeks have brought about all too familiar fears. Fears that they will be targeted, profiled, or attacked simply because of who they are, how they worship, or how they look."
"Here’s the bottom line: In America, no one should be made to fight hate alone. And in this moment, then, let us all clearly say: A harm against any one of us is a harm against all of us," she added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday told members of Congress that the Hamas–Israel war could spark attacks on targets within the United States.
Separately, on Monday, a White House official stated that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security have been assisting campus police departments and local and state law enforcement to respond to an uptick in anti-Semitism on college and university campuses.
The Department of Education has "expedited its update of the intake process for discrimination complaints under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, to specifically state that certain forms of Antisemitism and Islamophobia are prohibited by this law," the official said.