Muslim leaders in Minnesota criticize Biden's response to Israel

A man speaks a a podium
Jaylani Hussein, the head of the Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, speaks during a press conference on Friday.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Some local Muslim leaders are criticizing President Joe Biden's response to the crisis in Israel.

They say that they will not vote for the president again if he doesn't take action to call for a cease-fire. And that as Israel begins its ground invasion of Gaza, citizens are not being allowed to leave, are running out of food and water and have no electricity.

“In the past 20 days, what we have witnessed was a complete disregard for Muslims and Jews, and many people who have called for a cease-fire,” said Jaylani Hussein, head of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

“We have asked for the protection of civilians, innocent women and children. And so far, we have heard silence from our president, and from our nation."

Hussein said if Biden does not call for a cease-fire by Tuesday at noon, they will advocate against Biden in the 2024 election.

Among the speakers was Hassan Abdel Salam, a professor of human rights at the University of Minnesota.

“How could we vote for you, when you allow 2.2 million people to go out without having food? How can we vote for you, if you allow 2.2 million not to have water? How can we vote for you when you allow 2.2 million people to be bombarded with rain of ammunition on children and women and the elderly and the sick?” he said.

“Are those American values? That's not the America I know.”

Abdel Salam said they are working with other Muslim leaders in other key states for the 2024 election.

“The difference is so thin that we're going to be making the difference in 2024. You have the chance now, we'll vote for you if you call for a cease-fire,” he said.

“But if you don't, by Tuesday, October 31. At 12 p.m., we will have no choice. It's against our very tradition and our religion, to be complicit and to actively support someone who seeks the destruction of human life.”

Hussein later said he was not speaking on behalf of CAIR, which has not taken a position for or against Biden's reelection campaign.